Recently, the crashes or malfunctions of the new Obamacare website have been dominating the news. Tensions have risen as the program’s rocky start has many American citizens up in arms. All this recent attention seems to have taken away from what the program really is and what it is intended to accomplish. For many, this recent legislation comes off as ambiguous and confusing, so, a quick run-through of Obamacare’s main points should help to alleviate some confusion and shed some light upon what all the controversy and debate is about.
Obamacare was signed in 2010 with the intention of creating a way in which all Americans could obtain health insurance. As healthcare costs are the #1 cause of bankruptcy in the country, legislators wanted to make sure that more affordable care could be attained by all.
Most people receive health insurance as a benefit from the company they work for and only pay a small, affordable fee whenever they visit the doctor. Some of those who don’t have a job qualify for Medicaid and those who are 65 or older qualify for Medicare, both state and federal run aid programs. Without work-related benefits or the ability to qualify for the above government programs many are left to pay high premiums and simply decide they cannot afford insurance and they will simply take their chances. Those with preexisting conditions have things even worse as insurance companies will not cover them even if they desired to obtain a policy. The number of people living without health insurance in the United State currently resides at anywhere between 32 and 50 million people.
So, to solve this problem President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. For those with pre-existing conditions, these acts provide that as of 2014 insurance companies can no longer deny them coverage. For those who have chosen not to obtain health insurance up to this point, health care exchanges began on October 1, 2013 and are intended to provide customers with deep discounts when compared to normal insurance policies.
The kicker when it comes to Obamacare is that as of March 31, 2014 everyone is required to enroll in health insurance or they will be taxed at 1% of their 2014 income or 95$, whichever is higher. Many people don’t think the government should have the right to force them to get insurance. Many also argue that this increased coverage will also lead to higher healthcare costs because insurance companies would be covering those who are currently uninsurable. Higher taxes on high-income families, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers that stem from the acts have also helped to fuel public outcry against the program.
However, when all the debate is over, the fact remains that Obamacare is intended to do good things for citizens of the United States. It is intended to provide baseline healthcare to all the residents of the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world. Some claim that this basic care should be viewed as a right while others believe the government is stepping over their bounds by imposing these requirements. It is doubtful that anyone would argue that healthcare for all is a bad thing, but is Obamacare really the best way to go about accomplishing this goal? That is the real debate.