Don’t Call The Affordable Health Care Act “Obamacare”.
(ThyBlackMan.com) The nation is once again abuzz with talk of the Affordable Health Care Act of 2010, most commonly referred to as Obamacare. Mitt Romney will reevaluate this indiscretion with his handlers after his presentation to the NAACP. From the minute the law was proposed through its passage and signing by President Obama, the law has been a political football and one of the most controversial pieces of legislation ever passed. Unfortunately, proponents have never seemed to be able to forcefully argue the virtues of the law. From the beginning the opponents of the law have framed the debate, first with cries of “death panels” and then with scare tactics of rogue IRS agents enforcing the individual mandate and most recently with the cries and lies of the biggest tax increase in history.
Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the law it is time for supporters to extol its virtues. There are many reasons why supporters of the law were slow to sell its positive aspects. The two main seem to be
1) winners often get complacent and there was no bigger win for supporters of the law then finally passing a health care law after 100 years of trying and
2) many of the law’s best features haven’t fully kicked in yet and won’t until 2014 so most Americans have not seen the benefits of the law and millions won’t see them unless they are unfortunate enough to become very ill.
It is time to step up though and trumpet the history-making aspects of the Affordable Health Care Law. First and foremost, the law makes it illegal for insurance companies to refuse policies to individuals with pre-existing conditions. Nothing could be more significant for the well-being and peace of mind of the American people. Millions have faced the desperate situation where insurance was cancelled or the insurance companies refused to cover them when they searched for a new policy. Most tragic of all, millions of families in the past could not get coverage for their children due to pre-existing conditions. Those tragic stories become a thing of the past with the Affordable Health Care Act.
One of the most popular aspects of the ACA is its provision that allows young adults to stay on their parent’s insurance policies until the age of 26. This is more important now than ever with the economy still struggling and so many young people having an increasingly hard time finding a job and starting a career. This important aspect of the ACA lets young people pursue more school or a trade and get their career underway without having to worry about not being covered in case of emergency and before they have to manage their own insurance needs.
One of the main goals of the ACA was to bring some type of insurance coverage to every American. The ACA does this for those at, below or near the poverty line by expanding the Medicaid program to allow those individuals to obtain coverage under this long-standing program. States can opt in to this expansion of Medicaid to cover their poorest citizens and at least in the first few years the Federal Government will coverage all or almost all of the cost.
The ACA requires each state to set up an insurance exchange so that those who have jobs with companies that provide no insurance plan or those who lose their jobs temporarily will be able to obtain a basic insurance plan and won’t fall through the cracks. For those who find themselves in hard times whether temporarily or more long term, the government offers subsidies under the law to help them obtain coverage.
The positive aspects of the ACA don’t stop with the afore mentioned aspects. The law aims to decrease the costs of medical care in the United States. One way it does this is by requiring insurance companies to offer policies that cover preventative care such as routine physicals and breast and colon exams free of charge. The law also requires insurance companies to offer a standard basic level of coverage as defined by the Secretary of Health and human services so that everyone who is covered will have access to those procedures deemed necessary to maintain good health.
Finally, the ACA includes the much talked about mandate. While the laws opponents have focused on the mandate calling it an affront to individual liberty, the real reason for the mandate is to make sure some Americans don’t free load off the system by foregoing insurance purchases until they are sick, forcing those who do purchase insurance to subsidize their inactivity. With the mandate, the ACA requires every American to participate in their healthcare maintenance as well as strengthen the system for everyone else.
That brings us back the key aspect of the Supreme Court ruling. Is the ACA individual mandate a penalty or a tax? In the end it doesn’t matter much. The issue is a political one above all else. Those who fought against the mandate as an abuse of the Commerce Clause are now eager to embrace its label as a tax to damage President Obama and Democrats who voted for the law hoping that the American people will accept the notion of the mandate as a tax and punish those who imposed the tax. Regardless of the politics of taxes versus mandate the law stands and its great benefits will only become more popular with Americans over time.
Staff Writer; Stanley G. Buford