Columns / Discourse / October 2, 2013

Debating Columnists: It’s time for Obamacare

With Obamacare set to become fully operational in January, congressional Republicans are attempting, yet again, to derail what many liberals see as the Obama administration’s landmark legislation. Unfortunately, rather than using traditional methods of repealing a law, Republicans are trying to use a common funding bill to pull back all or part of Obamacare. This resulted in the first government shutdown in 17 years. (When House Speaker Gingrich sent federal employees home for three weeks by refusing to pass a “clean” spending bill.) What could possibly be worth a shutdown of all non-essential government personnel?

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has been leading the charge to defund or otherwise end Obamacare on behalf of the Tea Party. On Sept. 25, Sen. Cruz ended his filibuster speech at 21 hours and 16 minutes, attempting to point out how awful the Affordable Care Act is for America. He did so in spite of opposition from his own party’s leadership. This action, coupled with ads run by Tea Party groups against Republicans, shows that the far-right is pressing hard on congressional Republicans to make a stand against the “socialist” ACA. Thus, the healthcare debate has resurfaced, and this time with a more heated political spin.

Depending on who you talk to, Obamacare is either a necessary step in the right direction that will save our government — and its people — from financial crisis, or an ill-conceived act that all but guarantees  higher costs for healthcare and a financial collapse of the government. With both sides releasing different (often misleading) statistics to boost their cause, it is hard to know exactly what will happen when Obamacare goes into full effect. But despite a number of drawbacks, there will be many advantages — especially for college-aged students — according to predictions released by a bipartisan commission.

Nearly every conservative battling health care reform points to the “fact” that premiums are going to skyrocket for Americans. While it is true that the average premium for the mid-grade plan under the new act will be $328 a month (an increase for many), the price-tag does not tell the whole story. One must also take into account that the majority of Americans (52 percent) will receive some form of subsidy from the government.

Also of note is the fact that all insurance plans under the ACA must cover a vast array of medical procedures, while at the same time ensuring that individuals are not turned away for a pre-existing illness or charged higher premiums for getting sick.

With those who would have trouble paying for mandated insurance covered by tax exemptions and other subsidies, the concern then turns to the nation’s youth. With mounting college debt and a job market that is far less than optimal, the idea of being forced to pay for insurance while struggling to pay off loans sounds pretty ridiculous. Luckily, the ACA allows young adults to remain under their parent’s coverage until the age of 26. This provision can save thousands of dollars for young adults during the years they need it most. Thus, despite all the political hype over the increased monthly premiums, the ACA allows for many to save money in the long run, all while getting better care.

Try as they might, the Republicans are not going to succeed in delaying or otherwise hindering the implementation of Obamacare. Obama is not about to sign away the law that effectively won him his second term, even if the Senate somehow agrees to it. The facts are that by-in-large the ACA is not going to break anyone’s bank. The act is just the first step in getting America closer toward the standards of healthcare more than just world powers. Shutting down the government to advance political causes is preposterous, and even more so when the aim of the shutdown is a law as beneficial as Obamacare.

Payton Rose
Senior Payton Rose is a political science major with minors in creative writing and Spanish. This is his first year working for The Knox Student as discourse editor. He has written a political column for TKS for two years.

Tags:  Affordable Care Act america economy government healthcare insurance obamacare pre-existing price shutdown standard

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