SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) 360,000 people in Utah don't have insurance. The Affordable Care Act or Obamacare is supposed to change that. In fact, in one month enrollment starts. And on January first coverage starts.
We sat down with former Governor and Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt to talk about health care. He says getting people covered and paying for it will not be an easy or quick task.
Leavitt says "If you are unable to buy insurance because of a health condition it is probably a happy moment for you because you can now buy insurance." For ten years Leavitt served as Utah's Governor. He then served as the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Today he runs Leavitt Partners - a health care intelligence business. "I think its a good thing we are doing something - health care needs to be shaken up and needs to be improved."
As Secretary of Health, Leavitt had to implement the Medicare prescription drug benefits for the first time. He sees the similarities with implementing Obamacare and says it is a very difficult task."It requires getting lots of systems together and training people and frankly, I think it is going to be a fairly chaotic and imperfect time." Leavitt says some of the issues are due to the fact the federal government is dealing with a private industry business. "My experience tells me if you use government as a tool to organize things as opposed to operating things - it works out better. And the ACA essentially uses government to operate a lot of things. And I think it will prove they are not particularly good at it."
The Affordable Care Act goes into effect January first. Leavitt says in addition to the implementation issuese -after that - we will have to start paying for it. And he says that too is a major concern. "Very clearly the ACA adds billions, in fact, trillions to the federal debt. It ultimately pushes us too far and we will suffer from the burden of debt."
For more information about the Affordable Care Act and to learn about eligibility and how to sign up. Click Here