Health care reform has been a very prevalent topic in our media, especially now that November is right around the corner, and the presidential election within reach. President Barack Obama passed a bill calling for universal health care, which many are referring to as “Obamacare.” The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the bill’s formal name) is arguably the biggest legacy that Obama has left in his four years in the White House, and is possibly his biggest mistake.
Obama ran on the campaign slogan “Change we can believe in.” He wanted to bring “quality, affordable coverage for all.” Some of the main parts of this health care promise were guaranteed eligibility, easy enrollment, acceptance of pre-existing conditions and portability and choice. Unfortunately, not all of these goals were achieved through this bill. Taking part in Obamacare is required for most American citizens, and proof of this enrollment must be attached to your income taxes each year, and if this is not provided with the taxes, the IRS can penalize you for it. However, this is not applicable to every United States citizen. Those serving under collective bargaining agreements in unions would be exempt of the mandate, come Jan. 1, 2014. The total number of people being exempt from Obamacare is 4 million, which is roughly 3 percent of our population, including over 1,200 businesses, according to the Health and Human Services Department.
Obama wanted to create universal health care so that there would be affordable health care for all. But how he planned on making this affordable is what is making people angry. Obamacare may be the most expensive bill passed in United States history. The bill is requiring states to pay for families’ health care that do not make more than 138 percent above the poverty line, which comes out to be just over $30,000 for your average American family. The government will cover 100 percent of the cost for the first three years, and then 90 percent for the years following. But how is the government going to pay for all this you ask? The answer is simple – taxes. The average American family will have to pay $95 per person for the first year. However, if an individual makes over $500,000 a year, it will cost him or her about $12,500 in taxes. Some people are considering just paying the tax but using different health care. This would be worth it for middle class Americans for the first few years, but once the taxes increase in 2014 to 2 percent and 2015 to 2.5 percent, it would be cheaper to take the government’s health care.
With Obamacare being relatively cheap to those who sign up for it, it can potentially take away jobs from the United States economy. It doesn’t make any sense for someone who is paying taxes – which are being used to pay for Obamacare – to also pay for their own medical insurance. People will just drop their insurances, which would lead to insurance agents and providers being laid off, since they no longer have any customers. Also, it would make sense if employers dropped their health care coverage of employees. With the United States government supplying health care using the money we must pay, employers might as well drop their health care plans and have the government pick up the tab. If this does indeed happen, more people than expected would be thrown onto the government’s plan.
Possibly the most arguable part of Obamacare and the part that most people disagree with is how it takes away from natural competition. The basic definition of capitalism is that ownership of the economic system belongs to the individuals, not the government. Many people claim that this could be considered socialism, and hurt the American economy because it takes away the natural competition of capitalism. Proponents of this bill claim that the free market did not work, and that the government must now find the answer to fixing our health care crisis. The ignorance of a statement such as this comes from the mere fact that our economy has never truly had a free market health care system in which the private sector finds the ultimate solution, like that of most problems our country has faced. If private institutions were able to compete for the trust of their customers, rather than the customers being forced into a designed program, then the price of the health care would automatically be reduced in order to make the most profit and obtain the most customers.
When presented to Congress and the American public, a promise was made that this would not be a tax. After the Supreme Court’s controversial ruling that dubbed this bill to be constitutional, we now know that this is the largest tax increase in American history. If Mitt Romney wins the upcoming election in November, along with a majority Republican Congress, this bill can be repealed. If this is not the case, this health heacare bill will be another tax burden put on our future generations.
Christopher McKnight is a Collegian columnist. She can be reached at [email protected]