“The Presidential election of the United States of America is behind us (November 2012), and yet US citizens seem to be dealing with the same political debates as last year and the year before. Much of this hinges around ideological, political and intellectual differences over what kinds of policies are right for the American population. The most controversial is the implementation of the Affordability Care Act, popularly known as Obama Care” (see, question). This act was officially signed into law on March 23rd 2010. “The Affordable Care Act is the result of a joint effort between all sides of the isle, health insurance companies, and law makers and has been in the works for decades.
The law itself is based on ‘Romney Care’, The Massachusetts health care insurance reform law, St. 2006, c.58” (www.obamacarefacts.com). Obama Care is useful to the citizens of the United States of America. It regulates the health insurance industry, and helps to increase the quality, affordability, and availability of health insurance. It was projected that Obama Care will enable thirty million uninsured individuals to be able to obtain health insurance. Given the facts I believe that Obama Care is ingenious, thus the thesis of my essay is that Obama Care promotes equality, enables freedom, and creates solidarity in the United States of America. This legislation is needed to make the necessary changes in the United States of America.
In order to understand the assertion that Obama Care enables freedom, promotes equality, and creates solidarity, the purpose of the Affordable Care Act has to be understood, the past healthcare system of the United States of America has to be explained, and the scepticism on the Affordable Care Act has to be eradicated. To begin with, Obama Care is also known as the Affordable Care Act, and the Patient Protection Act. It was signed into law on March 23rd 2010. This act affirms the principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to healthcare. The purpose of Obama Care is to create new rules for insurers, and to expand medical security to millions of individuals.
This is achieved by implementing a health insurance marketplace, where Americans can buy subsidized and regulated health insurance plans in a competitive private market. This Act expands Medicaid and Medicare to many people. It is beneficial to the vast majority of the American population, but most especially the less privileged. The less you make, the more the Affordable Care Act is of benefit to you.
This Act does not constrain the freedom of individuals. Its target audience are those who do not like their current health insurance plan and those who are making fewer than 400% of the Federal Poverty Level. “The Federal Poverty Level is another way of referring to the Federal poverty guidelines. It is one measure of poverty within the United States, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issues it annually to determine financial eligibility for certain federal programs and benefits… These include but are not limited to Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Migrant Health Centers, Community Health Centers, Family and Planning Services, [and now Obama Care].
The characteristics used to determine poverty thresholds include family size, number of children and whether or not those in 1- or 2-person units are elderly” (www.healthedeals.com). Before the introduction of Obama Care, the primary source of health protection for the American society was Medicaid. “Medicaid is the largest source of funding for medical and health related services for people with low income in the United States of America. Medicaid is jointly funded by the state and Federal government, and is available to people who not only have low income but also meet other criteria such as; being a citizen of the United States of America, be a Permanent Resident in the U.S.A, and someone with a disability” (see.www.healthcare.gov). However, Medicaid is no longer capable of providing the citizens with their needs and enough coverage.
“The United States of America seeks to close budget gaps, and it was proposed that Medicaid be put into a block grant or capped program, with significantly reduced funding, which would also result in cuts to eligibility and to services that are covered by Medicaid” (www.familiesusa.org). This means that a vast amount of the population would not have health insurance. Unlike Canada, the United States of America does not have free healthcare, thus such legislative action would endanger the lives of many of its citizens. The Affordable Care Act makes many provisions for people.
These include people with the grandfathered plans (“plans that were in existence up until March 23rd 2010and haven’t been changed in ways that substantially cut benefits or increase costs for consumers” (www.dol.gov.com), those who have a legible insurance plan from work, a legible personal insurance plan, and for cultural and religious reasons.
Firstly, Obama Care promotes equality in society. Equality is derived from the term equal. “To be equal is to have the same as” (www.merriam-webster.com). In this sense, citizens should have the same or a relatively equal amount of healthcare protection. It is accurate to state that not everyone in the American society is equal. People are at different hierarchies; they earn different wages, have different jobs with different benefits, and have different educational backgrounds. Regardless of these disparities, the life of each person should be equally valued and protected. Healthcare insurance can be quite expensive to purchase. “Different factors influence the price of an individual’s healthcare insurance premium.
These include; the medical history of an individual, the location in which the individual resides, the level of coverage, the deductible and co-payments” (see, www.sbis.ca). These factors filter a lot of people who wish to purchase health insurance by making their premium unaffordable, or a strain on their way of life. Although, Medicaid is put in place to provide people who cannot afford health insurance with some coverage, Medicaid offers very basic protection and the majority of Americans do not qualify for Medicaid. In the United States of America, “about 44 million people have no health insurance, and another 38 million have inadequate health insurance.
This means that nearly one-third of Americans face each day without the security of knowing that, if and when they need it, medical care is available to them and their families” (www.pbs.org). It is unfair to exclude people from having equal medical protection most especially if it is based on the fact that their income is not low enough, and (or) they have poor medical conditions. Obama Care reduces this disparity, because “it prohibits health insurers for charging you more, because of pre-existing health conditions.
Insurers can only charge an individual based on whether it is an individual coverage or a coverage for multiple people, where the person lives, the age of the person, and if the person uses tobacco” (www.obamacarefacts.com). The implementation of these criterias is projected “to enable thirty million uninsured people purchase health insurance” (www.obamacarefacts.com). This creates vast more equality in society, with relation to medical care. Thus, it is evident that Obama Care promotes equality in the American society.
Secondly, Obama Care enables freedom. Obama Care places health care insurance on a subsidized, and competitive private market. This provides more citizens with the opportunity to compare and select the type of healthcare insurance plan the need, want and will purchase. Obama Care expands and improves Medicaid. “It provides citizens with the opportunity to keep their current insurance plan ‘if they like it’ and provided that it complies with the terms of the Affordable Care Act, or it has Grandfathered status”(www.obamacarefacts.com).
“Additionally, if you have government based insurance then you are covered” (www.pbs.org). Therefore, Obama Care enables citizens with not just the freedom to purchase sufficient medical coverage, but also the freedom to keep their healthcare insurance if it already provides them with sufficient coverage.
Thirdly, Obama Care creates solidarity. Solidarity is a unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group. The implementation of Obama Care means the vast majority of Americans will have medical coverage. Every legal American citizen contributes to Obama Care. New taxes were implemented for the citizens of America because of Obama Care. “The new tax related provisions in the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) include tax hikes, limits to deductions, tax credits, tax breaks, and other changes” (www.obamacarefacts.com).
This is because, “Obama Care includes many new benefits, rights, and protections including the requirement for health insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions. It also expands access to affordable health insurance to almost 50 million low-to-middle income men, women, and children across the country by offering reduced premiums via tax credits and expanding Medicaid and CHIP. Expanding the quality, affordability and availability of health insurance (along with other aspects of the law) come at a high cost. Assuming all tax provisions remain in place, the revenue generated from these new taxes help to cover the costs of the program and reduces the deficit. ” (www.obamacarefacts.com). This shows that with Obama Care, health insurance is no longer a premium paid based on your age, gender, medical history, and location. This plan ensures that American citizens will be working in unison to make health insurance affordable for one another, and are working
together to reduce the deficit and better the American economy.
Although the Affordable Care Act appears to be a progressive solution for the United States of America, some people do not agree with the implementation of Obama Care. The most prominent opponent of the Affordable Care Act is the Republican Party of the United States of America. They argue that the implementation of Obama Care will; “iincrease health care costs, cause insurance premiums to rise, hurts the quality of health care, create nearly $570 billion in tax hikes, and add over $500 billion to the debt” (www.gop.com). Personally, I do not support the argument of the Republican Party. Although Obama Care might cause all of the stated, the benefit is greater than the cost. The change in cost does not seem to be substantial enough to cause great distress to the majority of American citizens, and whatever initial debt Obama Care may cost will be paid off in the long run.
Furthermore, this Act is for the benefit of the greater good, and it enables most citizens to live a better lifestyle. In conclusion, the Affordable Care Act promotes equality, enables freedom, and creates solidarity in the United States of America. It is evident that this legislation is democratic, because its founding principles rest on equality, freedom and solidarity. “No consensus exists on how to define democracy, but equality, freedom and rule of law have been identified as important characteristics since ancient times” (Wikipedia.ca).
The United States of America is not only a democratic country, but also one of the superpowers of the world. Such a dignified country should always aim to maximize the comfort and welfare of its citizens. The goal of Obama Care is to maximize the comfort and welfare of American citizens; which is how it should be.