The following post was contributed by Nina Bernice exclusively for geekpolitics.com. All contents for informational and educational purposes only, not to be substituted for professional advice, etc. If you are interested in contributing to Geek Politics, check out the guidelines here.
On March 23, 2010, President Obama accomplished what many before him had failed to do. He signed legislation that proposes to overhaul our national healthcare system. Since the signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the American people in general, find themselves on one side or the other in this national debate.
There is some common ground between the two groups. Both claim that something must be done soon! Each group states that they are interested in some type of healthcare reform, that affordable medical insurance is needed and that quality of care must remain high. Clearly there is an issue with our current healthcare system. To begin with, healthcare costs are rising quicker than salaries or government revenue. The problem comes as the details unfold.
President Obama and the Democrat side have, as some of their goals; covering millions of uninsured people, expanding the Medicaid roles, providing subsidies, creating insurance exchanges and not allowing insurance companies to refuse products to those with pre-existing conditions. They seek to solve the healthcare issue by using governmental control. For example, if too many patients are readmitted to the hospital or if a doctor orders too many tests, they may be fined for not keeping costs low enough.
Among other ideas, a Medicare commission has been proposed to oversee the Act and attempt to keep health costs down. The bipartisan Congressional Budget Office, has released information that suggests that, even if every Democrat idea were perfectly implemented, little if any money, would actually be saved. The price tag is near $938 billion over about 10 years, but promises to cut $138 billion from the federal deficit.
The Republicans, on the other hand, argue that the government does not do many things well and that healthcare may look and operate something like the Department of Motor Vehicles. They claim that if the government is in charge of cost control, then we will eventually end up like countries who currently practice socialized medicine, with their long lines and waiting lists. One of their main concerns is that the Act requires people to purchase insurance or be slapped with fees.
The system, Republicans favor is free market based. They propose that the suppliers should be the ones to offer the insurance products, set prices and compete against one another for the consumer’s business. While, they are not opposed to some government oversight, they do not want the government deciding on insurance products or costs.
So far, 26 states have filed suits against President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. Over the past 2 years, rulings both for and against the law have come down. But, in March of this year, the Supreme Court has slotted five and a half hours to hear arguments concerning 2010 law. Three and a half hours of that time will be spent on hearing whether the mandate to force American citizen’s to purchase a product is Constitutional, and whether or not the insurance mandate can be removed from the Act.
A popular school of thought is that the law may be upheld, with the exception of the mandate portion, making implementation of the Act more difficult. However, many feel that the decision will come down to Justice Kennedy’s vote and that he will rule honorably and fairly.