Repealing the Affordable Care Act a Costly Mistake


The Supreme Court of the United States recently heard arguments on President Obama’s most distinguished accomplishment in domestic reform, the Affordable Care Act–also commonly known as “Obamacare.” The nine justices will be examining the constitutionality of the act–most importantly, the requirement for every American to be insured by 2014, or face a penalty.

The law would go into effect in stages and some parts have already been put into place. Those laws include allowing people like you and me–students–to stay under our parents’ health care until we are 26. Another major aspect of the law is that insurance companies can no longer deny or discriminate coverage to an individual based on a pre-existing condition. This is an aspect of the law many see as highly positive.

The Individual Mandate
Now what exactly about the law is being declared unconstitutional? Some condemn two aspects unconstitutional; first, as I’ve mentioned earlier, the individual mandate. People ask, how can the government force Americans into a market? The court is also considering the constitutionality of the extension of Medicare to 16 million Americans who would have not qualified for the program in the past.

The importance the insurance requirement has on the rest of the law is extremely clear. If the mandate is not upheld by the Supreme Court, individuals can find workarounds in buying insurance. Because of the law that insurance companies can no longer deny insurance based on pre-existing conditions, families could literally not buy insurance until somebody in the family becomes seriously ill. Another thing to consider is that these individuals without insurance would not be receiving preventive care, making costs that arise later more likely to be more expensive. Not only is this unfair to every other family paying into the insurance, but it also raises premiums for the others already paying into the insurance pool.

The second problem in not upholding the mandate is that having a mandate puts more money into the system, therefore lowering the cost of insurance for everyone. Insurance works like this: you pay a certain amount each month in case you do have to seek medical care for something or another. If you don’t, that money you put in goes to some other individual who had to make a trip to the hospital. If everybody were putting money in (and everyone would be if the mandate is upheld), the insurance company would have more money to use. This would help to lower insurance costs.

The Medicare Extension
The other concern the justices are looking at is  the extension of Medicare to 16 million more Americans. 26 states–including Wisconsin–have filed lawsuits against the federal government saying that forcing states to extend Medicare is an overreach of power. The extension is intended to help families that might not be able to pay for insurance once it is required. This is yet another vital program that would need to be extended in order to make the health care reform a success.

Making Progress
As compassionate people, we should want every American to be insured. We shouldn’t want this for purely fiscal reasons. We should want all to be insured, because every human is entitled to affordable health care. People should not be made to suffer on the basis that they can’t afford a medication. Every human deserves a quality life–a healthy life. Our health is not something that should be made into a ‘for profit’ industry. Under the current fully unreformed system, American’s are pawns in the hands of insurance companies. The Affordable Care Act changes that.