You may or may not have noticed, but there’s been a little debate going on in the United States about health care. It started many decades ago, and it’s still going strong after the recent Supreme Court decision that upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s better known as ObamaCare. That rings a bell, right? Now the question is – How much do you know about ObamaCare, other than it’s a nickname for something that you probably didn’t even know the name of?
Without a doubt, there’s been a multitude of misinformation circulating about the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act since it was first proposed. One the biggest misconceptions about the bill is that it was created or designed by President Obama. He obviously supports it, and after being elected he pushed Congress towards reforming the ailing health care system in the US, but he didn’t design the bill. The original bill was actually crafted by the US House of Representatives, which is made up of both Republicans and Democrats. A tweaked version was then voted on and passed by the Senate, which is also made up of both Republicans and Democrats. Like all US presidents before him, Obama had no say or vote on this legislation (or any legislation for that matter) passed by these elected Republican and Democrats. Still, the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act was quickly referred to as ObamaCare. I guess that does have more of a ring to it than RepublicanDemocratCare, despite the fact that the name ObamaCare has no bearing on who actually wrote and passed the bill.
While there are plenty of other misconceptions about the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act that deserve clarification, it would take far too long to go down the list. Let’s direct our attention instead to the precursor and inspiration for the bill – the Massachusetts Health Care Insurance Reform Law, also known as RomneyCare. Like Obama, Mitt Romney didn’t design or vote on the bill that bears his name. However, also like Obama, he did support it and push for it to be passed. As governor of Massachusetts, Romney led the charge for health care reform in the state, and he should be commended for it. No one else in the country was tackling the problem head on like Romney and his fellow elected officials in Massachusetts, and by doing so, they were able to establish a practical and realistic blueprint for fixing the degrading health care system in the entire United States. Once again, this is something we should all be commending them for, yet not many people do. Many of the proposals and mechanisms put into place in Massachusetts were sensible and successful, and that’s why they were included in the national health care plan supported by Obama. However, once the plan became known as ObamaCare, anything sensible about it was lost on those who oppose Obama.
Since we skipped clarifying all the things that aren’t true about “ObamaCare”, let’s now go over a few main points that are true about the health care law. As is the case with “RomneyCare”, everyone who can afford to do so must purchase health insurance or they will be penalized. This is easily the most vital, as well as most contentious part of both plans. Being the successful businessman that he is, Governor Romney understood that from a financial standpoint, the health insurance industry cannot sustain itself if the only people who have it are chronically ill, and thus cost more than what they pay for coverage. The only solution for this would be to charge those people more than what they cost, which would end up bankrupting the customers, and ultimately bankrupting the companies. Even those of us who aren’t successful businessmen should be able to understand that simple concept. Furthermore, if we as a society value our health (which the majority of us undoubtedly do), we all must pay our fair share to maintain it and keep it affordable. Opponents strongly argue that requiring people to buy health insurance infringes upon their Constitutional rights, but their tune would undoubtedly change if they’re ever critically injured, or sick and dying without health insurance. Besides, the US already has a federal law requiring people to wear seat belts. This simple requirement saves lives and generally lessens injuries from accidents, thus costing people less in medical bills. Coincidentally, these are the essential points of having health insurance.
Another major requirement of both “ObamaCare” and “RomneyCare” is that insurance companies must offer coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. This is a revolutionary shift. Prior to this, insurance companies could deny coverage to anyone who had what they consider to be a pre-existing condition. That’s great for keeping the insurance company’s costs down, not so great if you’re one of millions of people with a pre-existing condition. And really, the costs saved by the insurance companies are simply passed on to the US taxpayer because hospitals are required by federal law to help those without insurance who need emergency care. Some argue that people with pre-existing conditions will bankrupt the health insurance industry, but that point is addressed by requiring everyone to have insurance, thus adding the necessary funding and eliminating the need to drastically raise premiums. Basically, we’re already collectively paying for people with pre-existing conditions. Why not shift them to more organized care as opposed to burdening an already overworked emergency room every time there’s a problem?
There are many other much needed and long overdue changes finally being implemented thanks to the new national health care law. Most people have no idea what these changes are, how they will improve the system, and why the are necessary. Why not find out the cold hard facts for one’s self instead of relying on rumors and misinformation? Many will say they don’t have the time or energy to do the research, yet they apparently have plenty of time and energy to complain and demonize the recently passed health care law. Why not use that time and energy in a more productive way?
At the end of the day, all we’re really talking about is health care. It’s a simple, basic need that we all have. The idea of caring for others when they are sick, injured, or dying has existed long before Obama or Romney ever came along. Attaching their names to the issue of health care does nothing but dramatically alter the conversation. Political affiliations and ideologies suddenly take over, and rational discussion fades. This life and death issue is called health care. What do you call it?