Obamacare, or what is formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is federal legislation that was signed into law on March 23, 2010 by present Barak Obama. The act aims to reform national healthcare and give more people than before access to affordable healthcare. The overall goal of the act is to cover all persons regardless of their conditions or other factors. The passing of Obamacare has led to much conflict in the government and throughout the nation. In particular, recently the act has been the root of heated disagreements and government unrest among the Democrats and Republicans. Obamacare, or the concept of a nation or statewide healthcare program, is not the first of its kind. The idea dates as far back as 1989 when it was proposed to Congress. Bill and Hillary Clinton had a similar objective in the 1990’s and Mitt Romney made similar reforms in 2006 while the governor of Massachusetts. The Clinton’s health care plan was similar to Obama’s in that they were national campaigns to provide universal healthcare. Also similar was the amount of controversy both drew up in the House as well as with the American people.
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The newly imposed ACA has many areas in which it aims to help those who cannot afford healthcare as well as better the healthcare system in the country as a whole. The main point of Obamacare is guaranteed issue of healthcare to all people and prohibits the denial of healthcare based on prior conditions. One benefit of Obamacare is allowing children to stay on their parents’ healthcare plan until age 26. Along with guaranteed coverage, Obamacare will institute an exchange so individuals can compare prices of private insurances and purchase insurance. It is estimated that over 15 million men and women will be eligible for purchase of healthcare. Families that fall within a certain distance to the poverty line will be compensated for choosing a policy using this exchange. This is an incentive for people to utilize this plan and purchase healthcare.
On the business side of things, Obamacare also pushes towards the nationalizing of healthcare. There are penalties for businesses who employ over 5o employees and do not provide healthcare. Overall there are several efforts made in many areas of the country to push for healthcare for everyone in the United States. There are many areas in which families and individuals can benefit from the Affordable Care Act. According to ObamacareFacts, Americans making less than $45,960 or families making under $94,200 are eligible for free or low-cost insurance. Also, as a result of Obamacare 24 million people will be exempt from the Individual Mandate which requires the purchase of health insurance. It is noted that anyone who feels they cannot afford healthcare will be covered under Obamacare and granted low-cost or free insurance. Dating back to 2008 the Democrats and Republicans had been on different sides of the national healthcare debate. The senate was close to passing the bill to reform healthcare in 2009. The Democrats needed 60 votes to pass, but due to a series of events leading to some members not supporting the bill or not voting, the act was not passed. After further delegation, what previously was a disagreement of terms and conditions had Republicans and Democrats in stark opposition to one another.
All Democrats were strong supports of the bill and Republicans adamantly opposed. Now, it is clear the side the Democrats take on the Affordable Care Act. The real question is, why do Republicans oppose what appears to be such a proactive and achievable goal? The topic is an intriguing one, and one that does not have one definite answer. The Republicans themselves say nothing more than that Obamacare will destroy the country. Such a powerful accusation yet no real explanation or further comments lead only to more questions than answers on their true position. There are arguments that say the ACA is detrimental to the economy, and that businesses cannot afford to spend any more money on healthcare. Another claim was that Obamacare was unconstitutional, although the Supreme Court overruled this idea. Sources outside the Republican Party see the Republicans’ dislike of Obamacare solely because they dislike Obama himself. They appear to be against Obamacare simply just to be against Obama. Another theory is the tax increases that would come along with Obamacare.
One New York Times article highlights the “real reason” as to why Republicans are opposed to the Affordable Care Act. Eduardo Porter claims that Republicans are actually afraid that the American people will like Obamacare. They do not want the US population to realize that it will not actually destroy the economy and it can actually improve the lives of many people, many Republicans to be more specific. They are fearful of the positive impacts it could have on supporters of the Republican Party. One common problem many Americans admit to having with Obamacare. The nickname Obamacare is a point many people cannot get past, and when asked if they support it or not many say they do not. But the overwhelming majority of Americans agree with the actual terms of the ACA and the steps it takes to better healthcare in the US. It could be that the simple concept of a nickname could be the main problem people have with an overall positive proposal. Although Obamacare itself has been spread out to institute new laws and regulations over the next 5-10 years, the effects of some of the early plans have already been present.
ACA has already impacted the number of insured Americans and that amount is expected to continue to rise. Another change that has already been made is regarding dropping policy holders. No longer are insurance firms allowed to drop policy holders due to sickness or injury. Perhaps the most noticed and controversial part to date is the increase in healthcare costs and its effects on the national budget. The national debt limit has been a very sensitive topic and the affect Obamacare will have on it is not helping the problem. It needs to be determine the lengths necessary to go in order to make healthcare nationally available yet not impact the national debt in a way as to cause economic unrest. With a plan that has stirred up so much unrest in its early days, the future does not bode well for Obamacare. Johnathan Oberlander of the New England Journal of Medicine argues that many of the problems that the Affordable care act faces today will not be present once the act is more established in several years.
Once the disagreements on the actual passing of the bill fade, in come the disputes about what the act does and does not do and the boundaries of the laws. “Perhaps the most difficult long-term challenge facing Obamacare is cost control” (Oberlander, New England Journal of Medicine). Cost control is a serious issue that is seen to be a point of major contention in the future due to the lack of limits on spending. Another negative aspect of Obamacare is the affect it will have on our country in the global scheme of things. The spending on healthcare in the United States makes up 35% of the national spending, a whopping $1.38 trillion (Boot, Wall Street Journal). Much different than a time when the majority of spending was allocated to war or national security, many Americans now worry about the extent of healthcare costs in relation to other costs. Globally we are seen as a significant power, but with so much of our money dedicated to healthcare people are concerned for the safety and protection of our nation. Along with the healthcare protection of Obamacare comes the increase in government spending, and with that comes the alarming reality of less and less spending on our national security.
In my opinion Obamacare is a very beneficial planned instituted by the government that receives an unnecessary and unfair amount of criticism. The Kaiser Health Tracker poll asked Americans whether or not they supported Obamacare and the majority were against it. However, the poll also showed that 88% were in support of tax credits, 76% in favor of expanding the coverage age of children to 26, and 71% and 66% in favor of expanding Medicaid and banning exclusions for preexisting conditions respectively. This shows that people are unfairly judging Obamacare, whether that be because of the nickname given to it or because it is President Obama’s plan. I feel that the overall objective of the plan is one that should not be so vehemently disputed and put down by Americans and other political parties. The goal of achieving a nationally supported healthcare is a very positive one that should be supported by anyone who is in favor of the well-being of our country.