The people of the United States of America are in a battle for their lives. Congress passed a bill called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and President Barack Obama signed it into law. The bill was designed to limit the growth of insurance and make it affordable for people who cannot afford insurance. Democrats sold this bill as a great reform that will create quality healthcare for everyone. H.R.3200 does not help the American people the way true reform should. This bill was a mistake. It did not make health insurance affordable for the people and in fact it cost the American people more and did not help as many people as it hurt.
First and foremost, the healthcare bill was not universal healthcare. It was a form of health care reform. Its aim was to attempt to correct some of the things Congress thinks the people of America see wrong with the insurance in general. Congress envisioned a plan where most Americans would be able to afford quality health coverage, and the bill would give coverage to more than thirty-two million individuals who presently did not have any health coverage (Jackson and Nolen). But the healthcare reform did not provide them with health coverage, it mandated that they buy coverage or face strict income tax implications. People who do not purchase health insurance face a penalty of up to two percent of their gross income collected by the Internal Revenue Service (Hamsher). If the IRS has to police the law and collect the fines, they will have to hire more agents to check every tax return and make certain the program and procedures are followed. The problem with making the uninsured purchase coverage is that health insurance is the cost and people are at the mercy of insurance companies. Now Congress is telling the American people that it is imperative to buy the product and be indebted to them no matter the cost.
For those who already are covered under some sort of health insurance, the bill was supposed to cut premiums. Early estimates show that premiums for individual plans will rise between ten and thirteen percent more in 2016 under the plan compared to the old law in the same year (Hosssain and Quealy). The proponents of the healthcare reform argued that the cost would go down, but in truth it was because subsidies would cover the difference. Instead of fixing the problem of high premiums, their idea was to raise the cost and cover the difference. The money to cover the higher premiums came from taxing the higher incomes through increased Medicare taxes starting in 2013 (Hosssain and Quealy) as well as other taxes and hidden costs such as real estate sales over a certain amount would now be taxed another 3.8 percent on top of the regular taxes (Harney). It does not make sense to reform something that inevitably cost more than it did before. That is not the reform the American people desire or deserve.
The fact that the American people had to pay for something they felt they did not need, cannot afford in the first place, or increasing the price of the product is wrong. Many of the states tried to fight the law, citing unconstitutionality among other claims. Florida, North and South Dakota, Michigan, Alabama, Texas, Nebraska, Washington, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania have filed lawsuits and decided to fight the first post-passage battle in the courts (FOXNews.com). The fight was that the states were feeling that the federal government was forcing people to buy the health coverage no matter if they could afford it or not. America is a country in which people can make his or her own choice. Healthcare is a privilege, not a right. The great Founders of our country are rolling over in their graves as Congress invades the private sect of personal responsibility to do whatever a person wishes to do with his or her own body. If a person believes in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, then the government cannot force people to carry health coverage.
The argument that American’s cannot afford to be without medical coverage was a scare tactic by the proponents of this bill. An American middle-class family of four making $66,370 could be forced into paying nearly $5,300 a year for medical coverage. After other needs, this leaves the family of four roughly $8,000 of disposable income to pay off credit cards, clothing, and other debts (Hamsher). Americans in this situation would be much better off saving that money and putting it into some sort of medical savings account or any personal savings account and pay for medical bills out of pocket. Proponents of the bill also said that the American people would not save and pay for medical expenses out of pocket, but is it really the duty of the American government to dictate how Americans are to save and spend? The coverage that the average American receives for the premium paid has not come close to covering the cost of normal medical bills. There will always be things not covered with the premiums, including doctor visits or outpatient care.
A concern was the comments made by Democrats that the deficit would be smaller with this reform. The deficit would reduce and the programs funded today will increase. As we well know now, the deficit did not decrease but increased by nearly forty percent during Obama’s tenure (Joyner). If the government begins to restrict the payouts for programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, they will bankrupt many of the physicians that treat the patients that are now forced to carry the medical coverage or there will be fewer doctors who will see Medicare and Medicaid patients. Governor Romney spoke many times about this in the debates, but it never seemed to resonate with the American people. The government will now force people to buy the product that they have control over, but they will not help to keep physicians in business or help a person find one. People have to buy it, and we will subsidize partial payments, and we will extend Medicare and Medicaid for another twelve years, but we will force doctors, who in many cases barely get reimbursed from Medicare and Medicaid, to do more while getting paid less. This logic makes little to no sense to me whatsoever. How is this going to strengthen our services? How will doctors be able to see Medicare patients and get paid if benefits continue to shrink? These questions are not being answered.
Healthcare reform was a wonderful idea. There are many things that were wrong with the current programs that are available to people. High premiums that families cannot afford, illnesses and conditions that are considered pre-existing, and rising costs in prescription drugs that are needed to recover back to health were all solid reasons to change the healthcare system, but the reform did not change any of these. The only thing the new healthcare reform changed was the confidence that Congress can turn the old system around. The people of the United States of America have spoken, and Congress has refused to listen.
FOXNews.com. Healthcare Reform Fight Shifts From Congress to the Courts. 22 March 2010. 22 Novmber 2012 <http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/03/22/health-care-reform-fight-shifts-congress-courts/>.
Hamsher, Jane. Fact Sheet: The Truth About the Health Care Bill. 19 March 2010. 17 November 2012 <http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2010/03/19/fact-sheet-the-truth-about-the-health-care-bill/>.
Harney, Kenneth R. Health-care law’s 3.8 percent surtax will not affect many home sellers. 12 July 2012. 29 November 2012 <http://www.washingtonpost.com/realestate/health-care-laws-38-percent-surtax-will-not-affect-many-home-sellers/2012/07/12/gJQATidFgW_story.html>.
Hosssain, Farhana and Kevin Quealy. How the Health Care Overhaul Could Affect You. 21 March 2010. 24 November 2012 <http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/03/21/us/health-care-reform.html>.
Jackson, Jill and John Nolen. Health Care Reform Bill Summary: A Look At What’s in the Bill. 23 March 2010. 25 November 2012 ;http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20000846-503544.html;.
Joyner, James. Has National Debt Increased More Under Obama Than Under Bush? 21 Mar 2012. 1 Dec 2012 ;http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/has-national-debt-increased-more-under-obama-than-bush/;.