The Pros of ObamaCare
ObamaCare, considered by many to probably be the landmark achievement of President Obama's legacy, is officially titled 'The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act'. ObamaCare was actually the term that the President's detractors playfully attached to it. Turns out that he liked it.
But, more importantly, what does it do?
In short, it extends coverage to the nearly 40 million uninsured in the U.S. How does it do this, you ask? By expanding Medicare/Medicaid coverage and creating health insurance exchanges in each state, of course.
Wait, doesn't it kill grandmas and freedom?
Well, not quite. It's not even a liberal idea. The original framework, which includes an individual mandate (thereby requiring healthy individuals to buy insurance, thus keeping the system financially viable), was actually proposed by The Heritage Foundation, a powerful conservative think-tank.
But, I thought it put a bureaucrat between you and your doctor?
Not at all. It doesn't really change the system at all in that way. It does enact some common sense restrictions the insurance companies have to follow that I will cover in more depth later.
Okay, that's enough of the incredibly easy rhetorical questions. On to the pros (in no particular order)!
1. Children under 26 get to stay on their parent's insurance
This is one that I currently benefit from. Rather than getting kicked off the parent's insurance, children are now able to stay until they're 26. This is much, much cheaper than getting their own insurance plan.
An important note (very important, perhaps!): it is optional. The parent can choose whether to continue insuring their children.
2. People cannot be denied for pre-existing conditions
This is, perhaps, one of the most important previsions included in the bill. It the olden days (before ObamaCare), a health insurance company could look at someone with cancer, or any other "pre-existing" condition they had before they applied, and deny them coverage based upon that alone. Obviously, that's not fair.
Note: this provision was enacted in two waves. The first wave outlawed it for children. The second wave, which is for adults, will commence in 2014 when most of the law goes into full effect. Luckily, they did create Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans, which are available to people who have been uninsured for more than 6 months because of a pre-existing condition. It's to be used as a bridge until the 2014 extermination of all discrimination based upon said pre-existing conditions.
3. Creates healthcare exhanges in each state
What's a healthcare exchange, you ask? It's simply a marketplace where consumers and small businesses can compare health insurance plans on an apples-to-apples basis. Furthermore, it also helps lower and middle-class Americans buy insurance by utilizing federal subsidies.
Note: It depends on the state. Some Governors (Republican ones, in particular, it seems) may elect to not set a state-based exchange up. Fear not, though! If a Governor elects as such, the Feds will set up a federal exchange in the state.
4. Ends lifetime limits on coverage
It used to be where the health insurance companies could simply cut you off at a certain point. Say you have cancer (or any life-threatening condition) and your hospital bills are racking up because of complications. It used to be where you'd just be out of luck and kicked out of the hospital. No more! Now it is illegal for health insurance companies to do so.
5. Preventative services must have no out-of-pocket expense
This one is simple. Americans will not have to pay for preventative services. Why is this advantageous? By promoting such preventative services, it *prevents* certain diseases or ailments. In reality, it lessens the chance, but you get the idea.
An opinion, or in my opinion, a fact: It begins the transformation of our health care system to what the title means. Currently, we have more of a disease case system, where we treat the disease once the symptoms present themselves. In terms of overall health care costs, this is very, very expensive and not viable in the long term.
6. At least 80% of premiums must be spent on your care
Shocking, right? Shockingly awesome, more like it. Basically, health insurance companies are now mandated by law to use at least 80% of the premium you pay them for your care and not on administrative costs or bonuses, etc. If they don't do that, they have to send a rebate to you. It's as simple as that.
The "controversy" surrounding this law
The real controversy (which was mostly false and partisan-based) surrounding the law has to do with the individual mandate. Could the government force you to buy health care? Well, it turns out they can. The Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate in its ruling last summer. The obvious question is why does the Government have to force people to buy insurance? It comes down to the financial viability of the health care system. To make it financially viable for health insurance companies, they need a good number of healthy people signing up for their policies. The reason for that is simple: healthy people don't cost them as much. This allows the system to take care of the sick and elderly, but also stay financially viable. It's exactly what RomneyCare did in Massachusetts. It's actually identical to RomneyCare, in fact. So, don't believe the rabble-rousers when they say ObamaCare is a job-killing, freedom-killing, government takeover of health care. It's simply not true.
Pretty great, right?
This is by no means a comprehensive list. There are certainly more benefits, but these are some of the particularly relevant ones to most Americans. I hope this list will aid you in your quest to figure out how ObamaCare helps you.
Major opinion: While ObamaCare enacted many common sense restrictions and provisions, our health care system is still much worse compared to other civilized, industrial countries. Most of those nations have a certain form of universal health care. Yet, somehow we, as a nation, spend more than double what other countries do, and end up getting less care. That's just not right. ObamaCare is certainly better than what we had before. It will curb the rising costs of health care and has already started to. They are still rising, but growing at a slower rate than before the law was passed. What I think we need to move toward is an expansion of Medicare. A major one, actually. Set the enrollment age at 18 or so and mandate people to get it. Now, I know what you're thinking: Won't we have to raise the Medicare tax? The answer is probably. The first thing we could do is raise the limit at which income is taxed for it. Currently, it sits at around $110,000. That goes for Social Security, as well. If we raised that cap to, say, $250,000, that would make Social Security solvent for the next 50+ years easily. The same goes for Medicare. Everyone in America would have health care because I believe that shared sacrifice is a key part of what makes America great. Some may disagree and decry this as socialism. That's fine. Socialism doesn't bother me. We already have many social programs in America, and I think health care is the next one to add because it unconscionable that someone would die simply because they didn't have health insurance, or be bankrupted by a costly procedure even if they did have insurance.