Let’s Call It What It Is – The Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), more widely recognized as Obamacare, is fueling fires once again. This month, states are seeing an influx of both supporters and critics of the Affordable Care Act holding events such as the Heritage Foundation tour to house parties sponsored by Organizing for Action.

Three years later, we still have more Americans opposing the ACA rather than supporting it. According to a CNN/ORC poll conducted in May 2013, 54% of Americans oppose Obamacare while 43% state they support the healthcare law. Younger Americans tend to favor the ACA, yet it only receives 31% of the support from senior citizens. Yet what most people fail to understand is that many of the elements in the ACA are supported by a vast majority. It’s sad to say, but it has to be said – many Americans don’t necessarily know what Obamacare is all about. Those against it may simply be against it because it’s associated with Obama. I mean, our President is a total socialist, AMIRIGHT?!

No, kiddos, no. While I do not agree with every single thing President Obama says and does, I do support the ACA, and I think many Americans do, too. Citizens (and no, not every citizen is guilty of this, but come on, how many of you are getting your news from multiple sources?) may voice their support or their opposition based on the fact that they may be a liberal or a conservative. A Democrat or Republican. However you identify yourself, we all should be aware of what the Act entails, especially as grass-roots specialists to senators are taking the battle over the healthcare act to various states.

First things first, the ACA will not necessarily impact your private health insurance, but rather it lowers what 98% of citizens pay for taxes and expands Medicaid to over 17 million uninsured senior citizens or lower-income individuals. Everyone still has the option to purchase private insurance or receive it through your employer, but citizens also have the option to use the insurance exchanges made available thanks to the ACA. So essentially, you just have more options – the ability to choose is good. God didn’t just give us free will and the freedom to make a choice, but a democracy did. Our federal government. Yes, even the one led by whatshisname. That socialist somebody or another. (I kid, Barack, I kid. Seriously, I have mad love for you).

Businesses need not worry either. Small businesses will pay a tax on any profits made over $250,000 and the ACA mandates that any company that employs 50 or more employees provide healthcare. But don’t most companies do that already…? I apologize, sometimes my sarcasm slips in. Everywhere. (And I’m currently attempting to stop myself from making a “that’s what he said” joke).

What’s more is that the ACA ensures that healthcare providers cannot discriminate based on preexisting conditions, and who’s a fan of discrimination anyway? And just to prove I’m not all Obama-rama-rama, the tradeoff is that all citizens are required to have health insurance in one form or another. If they opt to be rebels, these Americans would be penalized – and no, you will not go to prison – and yes, I have heard people voice this statement as to why they are so against the ACA – via a tax. Wait…more taxes? Christ. The penalty is purely because, whether we like it or not, healthcare costs are high for people with preexisting conditions, and we can’t go about bankrupting our providers. And side note, the penalties for those of you that choose not to buy healthcare will not bankrupt you, either.

And I realize some right-wingers also tote around the idea that the ACA is unconstitutional (I’m still pleasantly surprised that senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham are not on this list). Well one, that was already decided upon. And two, Chief Justice Roberts and others in the Supreme Court took up judicial restraint in analyzing the ACA, meaning that they used the precedent of other cases and followed that in terms of how they decided to uphold the transformation of our healthcare system.

Ultimately, the ACA has greatly reformed healthcare in the United States, but it has not done so in a negative way. A few years ago, town halls were held in attempts to block the ACA from becoming law, and this year, the focus is on ending the funding for the act. With the 2014 midterm elections fast approaching, a lot is at stake for Republicans and Democrats alike. The fact that certain lawmakers (Marco-coughcough-Rubio…ahem, ahem as well as others) are willing to oppose any measure that helps to fund the federal government (and includes funding for the ACA) is why I get so frustrated with politics. To be on the extreme side of either party means that many citizens end up suffering, especially as our economy is now starting to rebound. And what some lawmakers forget is that most Americans tend to be in the middle – we all simply hear the extremes because that’s what the media will cover. It’s what brings in viewers and what raises those ratings. Controversy – it’s all about controversy. And debate (even though we debate about the most trivial things…but I won’t get in to that right now).

So Tea Party and tea party-backed lawmakers, I wish you the best of luck in continuing to appeal to your party – although I’ll point out a clear fact that the Tea Party does not make up a majority of Americans. Hoist those anti-Obamacare signs high, but I guarantee you all you’ll be doing is isolating your party further and further from the majority middle. My main hope for all of us is that we formulate our own opinions – and do our damnedest to make sure they are informed ones – and I’m hoping this post will help do that.

PS,
Just remember, when creating your own opinions, ignore my sarcastic remarks and hilarious witticisms.

Comments

  1. Very thoughtful post. The publication I write for covers the ACA and issues related to healthcare reform regularly, if you’re interested: http://bit.ly/16vvOjH. Feel free to give feedback.

  2. You said “First things first, the ACA does not impact your private health insurance.”

    You are mistaken.

    Here is proof that many people have already lost their private insurance because of Obamacare:

    http://danfromsquirrelhill.wordpress.com/2013/08/05/obamacare-2/

    Before Obamacare was passed, Obama said:

    “No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people… If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”

    Also before Obamacare was passed, Obama said:

    “Here is a guarantee that I’ve made. If you have insurance that you like, then you will be able to keep that insurance.”

    However, after Obamacare was passed, the Congressional Budget Office said that the law would cause seven million people to lose their employer provided insurance.

    After Obamacare was passed, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East announced that it would drop health insurance for the children of more than 30,000 low-wage home attendants. Mitra Behroozi, executive director of benefit and pension funds for 1199SEIU stated

    “… new federal health-care reform legislation requires plans with dependent coverage to expand that coverage up to age 26… meeting this new requirement would be financially impossible.”

    Also, after Obamacare was passed, the Franciscan University of Steubenville dropped its coverage in response to the law.

    Universal Orlando dropped its coverage for part time employees in response to Obamacare.

    In addition, after Obamacare was passed, Forbes reported

    “The House Ways and Means Committee has released a new report that sheds light onto how Obamacare incentivizes companies to dump their workers onto the new law’s subsidized exchanges.”

    Also after Obamacare was passed, MSN reported

    “The Affordable Care Act mandate most commonly known as Obamacare has some tight stipulations that, CNN says, are forcing health care companies to rip up most of their current plans and draft new ones that comply. According to a University of Chicago study, just about half of the individual health care plans currently on the market won’t cut it once key provisions of the Affordable Care Act kick in next year.”

    Furthermore, it was reported that Obamacare would cause 58,000 Aetna and UnitedHealth Group customers in California to lose their insurance.

    In response to Obamacare, some employers have dropped coverage for their employees’ spouses.

    The chain of Wegmans supermarkets cancelled the policies of its part time employees in response to Obamacare.

    In July 2013, leaders of the Teamsters, UFCW, and UNITE-HERE sent a letter to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi which said that Obamacare

    “will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits… these restrictions will make non-profit plans like ours unsustainable… we can no longer stand silent in the face of elements of the Affordable Care Act that will destroy the very health and well being of our members along with millions of other hardworking Americans”

    • Hi Dan,

      Thank you for your insights regarding Obamacare. I have read your article, and although I have not checked every source you cited or quoted in it, I do have a few responses in terms of your interpretation. Firstly, you cite a quote by Democratic Senator Max Baucus – yet he did not call Obamacare a “train wreck,” but rather he “fears people do not understand how the law will work.” That in itself is nothing against Obamacare, but it actually aligns with the point of my post – that many people do not understand the benefits of the ACA.

      And in point #2 you made, you stated many are losing their employer-provided health insurance – private insurance does not necessarily equal employer-provided insurance. Many people can opt to choose a private health insurance plan rather than an employer-provided one. And yes, some companies are dropping their insurance plans as you stated and opting to pay the penalty, but the Congressional Budget Office in the article you cited also “expects fewer people to have to pay individual penalties to the IRS than it earlier projects, because of a better method for calculating incomes that found more people will be exempt” (http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/inside-politics/2013/feb/5/obama-health-law-will-cost-7-million/). That same article also went on to say that “Mr. Obama’s signature achievement will reduce budget deficits in the short term.”

      All in all, I believe no law is going to appease everyone, but I believe there are so many more Americans that have benefited from the ACA rather than those that are suffering because of it.

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