Thursday, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. The country, and the world at large, has been abuzz with debate ever since the ruling was announced, with reactions typically falling along party lines. Republicans, it seems, are appalled by this act, one they see as an unconstitutional infringement upon States’ rights. Democrats, however, generally view this as an important step in the future of our country and its place in the Western world. (Until yesterday, the United States was one of the only developed countries without universal access to healthcare.)
In an effort to avoid further exhausting this heated national dialogue, I have comprised a simple list of Obamacare’s pros and cons. While the effects of this act are hard to predict, even for experts, some facts are undeniable. If you are in favor of universal healthcare, the Supreme Court’s ruling proves a step in the right direction, despite the system’s many faults. Many citizens who could no longer afford coverage will now receive affordable medical attention. However, for those who are staunchly opposed to this idea, the Affordable Care Act could prove a living nightmare. Its tax increases, cuts to Medicaid and downright unpredictability have many worried for the future of the country.
- 32 million Americans are currently without health insurance. Thanks to this Act, a larger portion of the general population will now have access to the coverage they need.
- Patients with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage by insurance companies, and companies can no longer drop someone once they get sick.
- College students can stay on their parents’ plans until the age of 26.
- The federal government will pay the states to allow low-income individuals to enroll in Medicaid
- The Medicaid “doughnut hole” gap in coverage will be eliminated by 2020.
- Each year, $125 million will go towards funding school-based health centers and programs to reduce teen pregnancy.
- States are required to set up insurance exchanges to make it easier to find the best deals on private health insurance.
- If an insurance company denies someone coverage, that person can go to an external appeals process.
- The number of bankruptcies caused by health-related issues will be severely reduced.
- The intrusion of the federal government into the practice of medicine.
- 18 million of the uninsured will be forced to go under Medicaid, while the rest will have to accept another government program. Even so, millions will remain uninsured.
- By 2019, an estimated 4.8 million seniors will be forced out of Medicare Advantage.
- Medicare will be cut by $528 billion dollars.
- Taxes will be increased (especially on high-income individuals).
- By forcing States to accept federally-mandated health insurance, the Act violates States’ rights.
- Some speculate that you can be thrown in jail for failure to pay your health insurance taxes.