I think this discussion should begin with, is “Obamacare” or, Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care (ACA), good for America? I would like to begin by highlighting the good that Obama care has done as there are many aspects of the bill that have already begun to affect Americans. I belong to the largest demographic of uninsured people in America; young people between the age of eighteen and twenty six- the immortals. The law allows for these people to remain on their parent’s health insurance. This feature added more than 600,000 newly insured Americans in the first quarter of 2011. The top three health insurers in the country alone added 550,000 people to their health care systems.
The consequences of this are three fold. First, insured tax payers save money in two ways. The first is that they do not have to pay for an uninsured accident victim’s health care bill. The second, insures can drop rates because they don’t have to cover the uninsured as well. The second result of these newly insured individuals (more that 1.5 million people) that the health care market stocks have soared from all the additional business. This supports the democratic policy of a trickle down economy in which higher earning companies buy more services and goods and hire more people. This is happening, despite the news’ negative twist on things. While we are on the note of employment, small businesses are now able to provide health care benefits to their employees. An increase of just under 46% in 2011 over 2010 of small businesses with less than 10 people were able to provide health care benefits to their employees.
The third is not quite as obvious as the first two. America has an enormous problem that we’ve know about for the last two decades. It’s a growing problem that several administrations have been unable to find a solution for and created anxiety for our generation and the next: what will we do with all the Baby Boomers. The aging balance of Baby Boomers is growing and out numbers its subsequent generations. Our generation and the next cannot afford the health care for this aging demographic let alone Social Security. Yet, the instance rate of illness for those 26 and below is very low. This enables the money from this generation (the largest demographic of uninsured people) to put money in the pool to help care for those the people who are ill- the old people. This in turn, again, allows insurers to lower premium charges for everyone and puts more money in everyone’s pockets.
What might make this health care reform unconstitutional? The Individual Mandate- a provision in ACA that everyone must purchase the government backed insurance from private insurance companies or face penalties for not doing so. The arguments apposed seem to rest on two notions: first, that medical care is a matter of choice (like buying broccoli) and second, that regulation of commerce does not extend to mandating insurance coverage. Both of these notions are incorrect. First, common law requires that no one be turned away from receiving emergency and life-saving medical services – so it is not a matter of choice or ability to pay. To the second point, there are numerous cases where government requires insurance to cover liability or material loss associated with commercial endeavors and other activities, particularly when the loss or liability affects other people or businesses. More over, it has been found that almost everyone at some point will need heath care services and those that chose not to purchase insurance invariably are accosted services they cannot afford. Although mandating insurance to cover medical cost is a new form of insurance mandate, it is not without precedence and it is not socialism.
The second common “idea” that those whom oppose ACA seem to land on is: the government cannot force you to purchase “something” (I assume they mean a commodity). Art.1 sec. 8 does not grant the federal government the power to require citizens purchase a specific commodity. Insurance is not a commodity. A commodity is a physical “thing” (good) that is interchangeable with another good.
Lastly, while several insurance companies are adopting policies that pay doctors and physicians based on results, our health care insurance system is far from a results oriented organization. The insurance and health care system pillage Americans. ACA is an integrated approach to the established system. It is non-profit and for-profit combined. Nations around the world have enacted non-profit health care systems and, in a result based metric; blow America’s health care system away. Especially when you consider the 30+ million uninsured, uncared for Americans. ACA is not socialism. I left this argument for last (and very nearly excluded it from this write-up) because it is a ridiculous idea propagated most heartedly by people who cannot accurately define socialism and/or confuse it for communism. If any one metric could refute this plainly stupid claim it would be the insurance and health care providers making money hand over fist since ACA was signed into law in 2010.
There’s my two cents for the common good (unless you’re opposed to that sort of thing).