The Affordable Care Act, or more commonly known as ObamaCare, is a particularly controversial topic in America’s political atmosphere. There are two popular opinions on ObamaCare, either that it’s great or that it’s awful. Usually, whenever people think that it’s great they fail to look at the bad side of the act, or if they think it’s awful they fail to see the benefits. So I’m going to take a moderate stance on the act and try to give an unbiased review of the Affordable Care Act.
The Affordable Care Act currently has around 12.7 million people enrolled. These are all people that didn’t have healthcare previously, either due to lack of want for healthcare or for lack of the money for healthcare. Now, this may not seem like a very large amount of people, and compared to the population of America it really isn’t, but that many people now having coverage show that the act has done some good. But you may ask why it matters that people are insured? If someone isn’t insured and they were diagnosed with a life-threatening disease a doctor cannot turn them down. This means that the thousands of dollars used for the procedures to help the person without healthcare are not being paid by the person themselves, or by an insurance agency. Yet somebody has to pay the money, and the government takes the bill, but since the government’s only source of income is the taxpayers really we’re footing the bill. This can be a very considerable sum of money the taxpayers, and the ObamaCare bill effectively got rid of this extra cost for the taxpayers, and thus it is extremely helpful in this scenario.
Slowed price increase:
One of the many claims against ObamaCare is that it raised premiums by a dramatic amount, and though this may be true, premiums rose much faster without ObamaCare. From 1999-2004 premiums increased by 72% and from 2004-2009 they rose 34% yet from 2009-2014 they only rose 26%, or around 4% every year. That annual 4% rise is the slowest premium growth since they started compiling records of the National Health Expenditure Accounts in 1960. I can not explain why the growth has slowed, as I would think it would be the opposite of this, but this is what happens, and no matter what way you look at it this is a major benefit.
26 Year Olds Are Covered:
The Affordable Care Act made it to where a child can stay on their parent’s healthcare until the age of 26. This may seem like more of a burden on the parents, which it is, but it really helps people under 26. The early 20’s is usually whenever people are doing resume building jobs rather than jobs with high wages. This means that a 24-year-old is not burdened with the large cost of healthcare while he’s building his resume. My brother who is now 28 used my parent’s plan until he was 26. He personally was living paycheck to paycheck even without the cost of healthcare. This helped him a lot and by the time he was forced to pay for his own healthcare he was making enough money to afford it. This happens across the country and though this is not a very large change to our healthcare system, it does dramatically help lots of people.
This is probably the most complained about issue with the Affordable Care Act. You are now forced to buy healthcare, and if you don’t you must pay a fee. This is meant to help the burden on taxpayers in the case of them having to pay for someone procedure. As stated above, if a person requires a procedure usually doctors can’t turn them down, even if they can’t pay, and if they can’t pay then the taxpayers are forced to pay. So really the mandate is effective in that way, the problem is the fact that the government forces you get healthcare. This is an overreach of government quite frankly and so it angers many people, especially in the conservative and libertarian world. This means that people that don’t want healthcare either are forced to pay a large amount of money for the healthcare, or they are forced to pay the large sum of money for the fees. Around 4 million people decided they would rather pay the fee than get the healthcare and the fee cost them an estimated 54 billion dollars together. So once again, this is more of an issue about government gaining too much power than the system’s inefficiency.
Stifled business growth:
An issue that is directly about the system’s inefficiency is how it stifles small business growth. With the Affordable Care Act came a law that requires businesses to give their employees healthcare whenever that business gains 50 employees. This means that small companies will stop building as soon as they gain 49 employees, due to their lack of ability to pay that extra large amount of money for healthcare for all of their employees. This means that fewer people are getting employed, since less small companies are growing to employ more people, and it also means that less small companies are growing and becoming big companies. This means that there is less competition in the market since there are less small companies that are building enough to compete with the large companies. This also makes it much easier for monopolies to arise, due to small companies not building up to compete with a large company, and so that company becomes a monopoly, and naturally, monopolies are bad. This has a majorly negative effect on the economy, and this is arguably the worst thing about ObamaCare.
In 2013, the Affordable Care Act raised taxes on the 1 million people making more than $200,000 a year, and it also raised taxes on 4 million couples that together made more than $250,000. This raise in taxes was from 1.45% to 2.35%. They also pay an additional 3.8% Medicare tax. This is a large sum of money for people making an income above that threshold.
Increased Costs for Most People:
Though the speed of which premiums cost rise, the price of healthcare for many people has also risen. This rise in prices is due to a part of the bill that forces companies to accept people with pre-existing conditions. Companies do not naturally do this because it’s a guarantee that company will lose money right away. This means that companies are losing money because of this part of the bill, and so they make up the money lost by increasing prices on other people. This has led to major price spikes for most people with private insurance.
I hope that this essay was unbiased, but now is time for my personal views. I think that even though the Affordable Care Act does have certain benefits the cons outweigh the pros. Overall, I think the act has hurt the people more than it has helped, and so I believe we should privatize the healthcare market and repeal ObamaCare. This also means that I don’t support the new healthcare bill set forward by President Trump, as it is just as bad as the Affordable Care Act.