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Affordable Care Act: Live or Evil?

Many pollsters feel that the upcoming presidential election will boil down to whether people ascribe the decaying economy and low unemployment figures more to persistent republican stonewalling in the houses or Obama’s fecklessness and relative naivety during the first half of his inaugural term. This is fundamentally the division between current democratic and republican voters in the United States who will cast their opinion and vote in November to decide the fate of the United States. Nonetheless, there are some tangible barometers that voters from both sides of the aisle can analyze to determine Obama’s effectiveness as president.

Outline of the Act

One of these barometers is the recently upheld (Supreme Court) and partly ratified 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Some of the Affordable Care Act’s key features are promised coverage of fifty million more United States’ citizens and longer durations under which adolescents and young adults can maintain coverage under their parents’ policy. Some democrats feel that the Affordable Care Act is Obama’s crowning achievement in a trailblazing four years while some republicans actually feel that this is Obama’s chief legislative downfall and misguided largesse to the United States’ citizenry. The truth is perhaps somewhere in the middle but this article will further analyze the pros and cons of the recently unveiled and partly upheld 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

History Repeats Itself

Although Senator Ted Kennedy had vainly attempted to usher in an area of universal health coverage on a nation level, Barack Obama was actually the key player in legislating what’s known as the “public option” as an extension of the same universal health care coverage conversation. The public health insurance option is a proposed measure that would allow for a government-operated health care provider. The end goal, according to Obama’s proposed framework and expressed concerns, is to enhance competition between the public and private sector of the health care industry. The idea is that by allowing an affordable public option, the private sector (e.g., Humana Insurance) would need to lower their rates to compete. Critics of Obama’s public option have maligned the whole policy as socialist; republican mudslingers may have a point based on the definition of socialism but the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is still overridingly humanitarian in nature, or at least intent.

Nuts and Bolts

As an illustration of this last point, the Affordable Care Act seeks to disallow private insurance companies to discontinue coverage for preexisting conditions. Another benefit of the proposed act is allowing folks to retain their insurance provider when they change jobs, if they so choose, alongside a de facto cap on premiums coming out of the private sector insurance domain. That said, there are some downsides to the proposed Affordable Care Act, and these will be addressed presently.

Doom and Gloom?

Recently, the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate component of the Affordable Care Act, which was met with howls of disappointment and despair from fiscally concerned members of the republican party. The issue essentially stands thusly – Republicans are concerned about the financial impact of such a proposal while democrats are focused on the human welfare of US posterity. Both parties are right but from different angles. The republicans are correct in asserting concerns over the long-term cost of the Affordable Care Act. The government insurance plan over ten years would incur nearly one trillion dollars more in national debt. When the country is currently in approximately fifteen trillion dollars in debt – discounting present and future mandatory and hemorrhaging discretionary spending allocations – the republicans clearly made a cogent point. On the other hand, democrats and Obama correctly assert that the private sector insurance setup is inherently flawed and that Humana Insurance et al. have far too many influential lobbyists on the hill.


The rub is that the democrats must appreciate the republicans’ concerns over long-term fiscal responsibility and the republicans must accept the democratic point, which is that fifty million uninsured US citizens is fifty million too many. There are innate drawbacks to the manner in which health care and insurance normally and currently operates. Compromise, as hackneyed as it may sound, is the true way forward on this issue.

Mathilda Thomson writes about economics, politics & more at grouphealthinsurance.org.
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