The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) or more commonly known as the Obamacare is a United States (U.S) Federal statute signed into law by President Barack Obama on March, 23, 2010. This past Monday, the Supreme Court kicked off a three day hearing on the arguments against the new along with a lawsuit presented by 26 states.
The legality of the PPACA law centers at the argument of whether the individual mandate is constitutional that would require people to purchase health insurance or pay a penalty for it. The courts finished examining the arguments from both sides against the massive reform and overhaul of the healthcare system, with the Obama administration making its case of what changes have taken place. The law does not go into full effect until 2014.
There is ongoing speculation from the media throughout the week if the individual mandate is thrown out, then the rest of the federal legislation must go. According to the Los Angeles Times, its findings indicate that “US Supreme Court has not struck down a major federal regulatory law on the ground that is exceeded congress’ authority since 1936.”
According to a Procon.org news article, “healthcare is the largest industry in the U.S with expenditures representing roughly 16.2 percent of the economy of the US economy.” The landmark legislation has sparked debate within both side of the aisle and calling it the gradual implementation of socialism. Perhaps an important argument on the matter of healthcare, it’s worth noting that capitalism in the realm of public health would not apply in this discussion.
For how long will the discussion continue to be debated if having health care is a right or privilege? Most of Europe offers universal healthcare for its citizens, and the one of the wealthiest nations on the planet can’t agree upon offering comprehensive insurance for all?
Key features of the Healthcare Law & You
According to the current administration running for re-election, the new law offers clear choices for consumers and provides new avenues to hold accountable insurance companies. The law has been broken down into the following:
- Rights and protections: whether you have insurance it offer protections and aids you on getting the most out of your plan.
- Insurance choices: if you require an insurance plan or been rejected based on a health condition or disability, the new law offers eligibility for coverage through one of their programs.
- Insurance Costs: does this current legislation add more costs to your budget? You can investigate how the law can help get you value for your money.
- 65 or older: The PPACA strengthens Medicare and provides preventive healthcare services and discounts for prescription medication.
- Employers: the federal mandate offers tax credits and new programs for small businesses, which reduces its costs for employers, employees and early retirees.
Facts about the Health Care Reform Debate
- The laws that go into effect require members of Congress and Congressional staff to purchase health plans or offered through an exchange established under the laws.
- In 2014, health insurance will be mandatory and those who do not have or purchase a plan because they could not afford it are subject to a fine by the federal government. The fine on that year when the law is implemented is $95 and $350 in 2015. In 2016 and every following year after that, the fine is $750 multiplied by a cost of living adjustment for the calendar year, and is rounded to the next lowest multiple of 50.
- The requirement of individuals to purchase a health insurance plan, also known as individual health insurance mandate was originated in 1989 at the Conservative Heritage Foundation. In addition, it was included two Republican-sponsored health care bills in the 1990s.
- Undocumented immigrants are not covered or eligible for health care benefits under the new reform.
- The health care law would include a 10 percent excise tax on indoor UV tanning services.
- As of Sep. 23, 2010, all new private health plans are required to cover at no additional costs for immunizations, preventive care for infants, children and adolescents, and additional preventive care or screenings for women.
- The Wall Street Journal stated on Nov. 1, 2009 that the health reform bill “may well be the worst piece of post-New Deal legislation ever introduced.”
- The new health care laws restrict insurance profits generated and require them to spend at least 85% of premium dollars on medical claims for large group policy holders and 80% of premium dollars for small group policy holders. If an insurance company does not meet the established benchmarks, the additional revenue will be returned to each enrollee annually on a pro rata basis.
- The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the health care reform bill and Reconciliation Act (283KB) will provide coverage for 32 million previously uninsured Americans by 2019.
Top three Pros and Cons arguments for the 2010 Federal Healthcare Law
1. “According to experts, more than 87 million American could lose access to their current health care plan under the new law. Workers at a majority of the nation’s employers – including as many as four out of every five small businesses – would lose their current coverage, thus providing further evidence that ObamaCare is doing exactly the opposite of what Democrats promised it would do.”
John Boehner Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives (R-OH)”Obamacare, Three Months of Broken Promises,” www.gopleader.gov,
June 23, 2010.
2. Obama is a socialist. If you take over banks, if you take over car companies, if you take over financial institutions, the way that he has – now the health care system. If you’re going to use every crooked deal that you can come up with to get a bill like that passed – most recently the health care bill – that is by definition, if you look up the dictionary definition of socialism, this is it.”
Sean Hannity Host of Fox News Channel’s Hannity showInterview with CNSnews.com,Mar. 25, 2010.
3. “Can Congress really require that every person purchase health insurance from a private company or face a penalty? The answer lies in the commerce clause of the Constitution, which grants Congress the power ‘to regulate commerce… among the several states.’…The individual mandate extends the commerce clause’s power beyond economic activity, to economic inactivity. That is unprecedented. While Congress has used its taxing power to fund Social Security and Medicare, never before has it used its commerce power to mandate that an individual person engage in an economic transaction with a private company. Regulating the auto industry or paying ‘cash for clunkers’ is one thing; making everyone buy a Chevy is quite another. Even during World War II, the federal government did not mandate that individual citizens purchase war bonds.”
Randy E. Barnett, JD Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at the Georgetown University Law Center“Is Health-Care Reform Constitutional?,” Washington Post,Mar. 21, 2010
1. “No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what. My view is that health care reform should be guided by a simple principle: fix what’s broken and build on what works.”
Barack H. Obama, JD 44th President of the United StatesAddress to the annual meeting of the American Medical Association, June 15, 2009
2. “The Constitution gives Congress the power to tax and spend money for the general welfare. This tax [PPACA] promotes the general welfare because it makes health care more widely available and affordable. Under existing law, therefore, the tax is clearly constitutional…
Many important and popular government programs are based [on] Congress’s ability to give incentives through taxation and redistribute tax revenues for public purposes. To strike down the individual mandate the Supreme Court would have to undermine many years of precedents justifying these programs that stretch back to the New Deal (and in the case of the rules for direct taxes, to the very founding of the country).
Opponents of the individual mandate insist that they are only defending individual freedom, but they are actually taking a far more radical position. They are really claiming that it is unconstitutional to make Americans pay taxes.”
Jack M. Balkin, JD, PhD KnightProfessor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School“Is the Health Care Law Unconstitutional?,” New York Times,
Mar. 28, 2010
3. “Opponents of health insurance reform continue to spread myths, including peddling the bogus notion that the health reform bill is ‘socialism’ and a ‘government takeover of health care.’ The fact is the reform legislation builds on our existing private health insurance system…
Health insurance reform legislation expands private health insurance in America, and is based on increasing choice and competition… among a variety of private insurance plans.”
Nancy Pelosi Speaker of the US House of Representatives (D-CA)“Health Insurance Reform Mythbuster – ‘Democrats’ Health Insurance Reform Is Socialism and a Government Takeover,” www.speaker.gov, Mar. 19, 2010