Back in 2007, two full years after my doctor pronounced me cured of my malignant lymphoma, I sat across a conference room table and listened to my insurance representative tell me I was ineligible to receive life insurance. I questioned him at length and asked why I was being denied even though the doctor had certified me cancer free. His response was simply “Because that’s the way the insurance industry works.” In that moment I felt a rush of anger, frustration, sadness and helplessness all at once.
Needless to say today’s Supreme Court decision to uphold the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act brought with it feelings of joy and satisfaction. The court affirmed the government indeed has the ability to require individuals to purchase health insurance or face a penalty. This means that children can remain on their parent’s health insurance longer, people no longer have to fear losing their insurance when they switch employers and that people (including children) with pre-existing medical conditions cannot be denied coverage. All in all, some 30+ million American’s will now be able to receive health insurance who could not before.
Predictably, conservatives are not happy about the decision and immediately began trying to spin Robert’s reasoning in their favor. It never ceases to amaze me how some people can manage to contort the facts of a given situation to fit their special world view. The topic of personal responsibility is a perfect example and one that illustrates the hypocrisy of many right-leaning folks, some of which are in my own family. Like them, I believe that people should basically be responsible for their own successes or failures, but unlike them I also realize people sometimes need help from their government. I often hear from conservative family and friends how they dislike liberal “entitlements”, ie people shouldn’t be able to game the system and receive free services at the expense of hard working folks. So, given the fact that the Affordable Care Act requires people to stand up and take responsibly for themselves by paying their fare share of health care costs, you would think they would support it. This, paradoxically, isn’t the case.
Many would rather have freeloaders continue to game the system, raising everyone else’s premiums than levy a penalty or “tax” as Justice Roberts wrote, and be forced to take responsibility. This is especially damning when you consider the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act was originally created and promoted by conservatives. It seems as though such people are perfectly content to alter their principles simply to express their opposition to President Obama. It makes me very sad when my fellow Americans are willing to sacrifice the good of the many out of spite.
The good news is that as I write this, millions of people are better off today than they were yesterday. Many will be receiving rebate checks from their insurers who spent too much on administration, advertising or lobbying and not enough on making people better. Friends and followers on twitter who have family members that were finally able to obtain insurance due to Obamacare can breathe a sigh of relief, and I can think back at that frustrating meeting so long ago with my insurance agent and smile. The Affordable Care act isn’t perfect by any means, and Republicans will do their best to try and repeal the law (good luck with that), but today was a very good day in the history of our country. A very good day indeed.
UPDATE: A wonderful post over on Reddit that explains every detail of the ACA in easy to understand terms and explains just how the bill will or will not affect you. I really suggest everyone read it. (via @bigzaphod)
EXACTLY! Thanks, Gedeon — you put it exactly the way I feel and appreciate your comments and share your exuberance regarding this incredibly important issue.
You are mixing apples (health ins) and tomatoes (life ins).
Yeah, ACA was upheld, but that doesn’t mean anything about making LIFE insurance affordable or even within the realm of attainable for those of us with serious, but not life threatening health issues. Yet, the ins co’s will continue to find ways to discriminate against us. Count on it.
I didn’t say it did Mark, I simply used it as an example of how the Insurance industry stacks the deck against us. Also, the pre-existing conditions restriction doesn’t get lifted for adults until 2014. I’m confident however that the momentum of the Affordable Care Act will have repercussions on other areas of the insurance industry in the years to come.
All the arguments are too simple really. I don’t like this just because we’re already getting reamed by health insurance companies and even with .gov regulating it our costs will still go up. My biggest issue is the whole persuasion technique used by the politicians of “We need to all pay our fair share.” We’ll I have been, now I’m being asked to pay more and that’s bullshit. Too many bottom feeders not paying anything. Too many weasels like the life insurance underwriters who hedge their bets by denying coverage such as with Ged. Corruption runs in all directions regardless if it has an R or D after it’s name. One thing we can all agree on, the system is screwed and this universal approach is like a bandaid on a heart attack.
How are you being asked to pay more Von? If you already have insurance then the individual mandate doesn’t effect you. Do you employ less than 50 people? If you do then again, no penalties for you. Do you make less than $200,000 a year? If you do, again no new taxes for you. Even if you did, your tax rate increase to support ACA would be 0.9%. You say your insurance rates are going to go up, but I’ve got news for you, they’re gonna go up *anyway*. The ACA also prohibits insurance companies from raising your rates without just cause and gives millions of more americans a way to purchase affordable health insurance.
As I say in my post, the bill is far from perfect, but guess what. It’s the FIRST TIME anyone has done anything about the spiraling problem of health care in this country in over 50 years. The pros *far* outweigh the cons for all of us, especially those with pre-existing conditions who find access to affordable health care difficult or even impossible. Quite frankly, I’m sick and tired of the conservative “me not we” mantra that I hear from those on the right. God forbid we should help look out for each other, can’t possibly have that, can we?
The “me not we” mantra is what made America’s economy the best in the world. The entire Constitution is centered around the individual and his/her rights–not the rights of Americans as a whole.
You can only take care of others if you first take care of yourself.
The ACA is basically loading an airplane full of children with no parents to assist with the oxygen masks.
The recent economic depression already has the majority of Americans on their backs. And now Justice Roberts decided to extend his powers beyond what is constitutional (must be taking notes from King Obama) in order to increase that burden even more.
The Supreme Court does not write nor rewrite law; its only power is to judge the law AS IT IS WRITTEN and decide its constitutionality. If the ACA needed adjustment, e.g., make it a tax instead of a mandate, that process should have been handled by those responsible for writing and rewriting laws: Congress.
This post-Constitutional society is not what our sons, fathers, grandfathers, and forefathers fought and died for.
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