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‘Obamacare’ benefits everyone

By Jay MacDonald ·
Friday, January 13, 2012
Posted: 11 am ET

This March, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, which for the first time will require all Americans to obtain health insurance two years from now under a provision called the individual mandate.

If the nine justices rule that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, those 26 states challenging health care reform will urge them to take the next step and scrap the rest of the Affordable Care Act as well.

I'm a big fan of President Obama's historic health care reform. Without it, health care's ruinous fee-for-service paradigm that has hijacked patient care in the name of profit could very likely drive our economy off the cliff.

The individual mandate would insure an additional 30 million Americans, some with the help of government subsidies. Since we're already essentially subsidizing the uninsured who are forced to use places such as emergency rooms as their primary care provider, reallocating tax dollars toward their preventive care seems to me far more humane and sustainable.

I understand that being forced to purchase health insurance rubs many Americans the wrong way. Should the Supreme Court agree with them, so be it.

But before they toss the baby with the bath water, I hope the justices will consider the benefits that health care reform is already providing to millions of Americans. For example:

  • 2.5 million young adults have been allowed to remain on their parents' health insurance until age 26.
  • All Americans who enrolled in a health care plan after Sept. 23, 2010 now enjoy access to free preventive services, including cancer and cholesterol screenings, mammograms, colonoscopies, flu and pneumonia shots, vaccinations against measles, hepatitis and meningitis, blood pressure checks and nutrition counseling.
  • 20.5 million Medicare recipients reviewed their health status at a free Annual Wellness Visit or received other preventive services with no deductible or cost sharing this year.
  • 1.8 million Medicare recipients received a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs in the Medicare Part D coverage gap known as the "doughnut hole" in the first nine months of 2011.
  • 4 million small businesses are now eligible for tax credits of up to 35 percent to help cover their employees. The credit jumps to 50 percent in 2014.
  • Your health insurance company is now required to spend at least 80 percent of your premium (85 percent for large employer plans) directly on your care and well-being or rebate the difference to you beginning this summer.
  • Americans with pre-existing conditions can now obtain coverage through a pre-existing condition insurance plan.
  • Insurance companies can no longer place lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits for policies written after Sept. 23, 2010. Annual dollar limits will be prohibited beginning in 2014.

I hope the individual mandate stands. I want all Americans to have access to health care coverage. Don't you?

But even if it doesn't, by what logic would anyone undo all of the good listed above?

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ron hennin
March 06, 2012 at 12:07 am

Sam I don't know how old you are, but anyone 65 or older has to sigh up for Medicae D(prescritions). If you don't you have to pay a penalty each year until death. This was passed during the Bush administration. Where was all the complaing then?

March 05, 2012 at 11:45 pm

So Sam, when you fall and break your arm, do you promise to set it yourself and slap some Band-Aids on it? Nah, you'll have me pay. Since statistically, most of you are obese, probably diabetic, and through your own lack of discpline, will require thousands of dollars in care at some point, preventive and wellness care will actually drive down the price of your health care. Bad thing, how?

I wish I had access to your crystal balls, since everyonoe is just so sure this will fail...although it works swimmingly in Mass.

March 05, 2012 at 8:54 pm

I for one will not pay for the health care mandate. I would rather go to jail and be imprisoned than be forced by the government to pay for something. If you do not want to pay the taxes and fees to drive a car then don't drive your car. If you do not want to pay the taxes and fees to own a home, simply do not own a home. This mandate infringes on every part of our country being a free nation. So, if need be, I will work for cash rather than having my IRS refunds 'hijacked' by this unconstitutional and irresponsible mandate that removes my freedom to make a choice.

Martin Shaw
March 05, 2012 at 8:20 pm

I can give you 50% off on anything if I price it high enough. The drugs will still be expensive. We do not need more government control in our lives.

March 05, 2012 at 8:11 pm

This is why I always use the passive voice. Whoops, that should have been, "this is why the passive voice is always used by me." It's easier to make all these "allowed" and "required" sentences sound wonderful if the subject of the sentence goes missing.

But what could that missing subject be? Well, if Mr. MacDonald had been forced to use the active voice, he might have had to write:
"The government prohibits insurance companies from offering plans that exclude adult children younger than 27, even if those plans would be cheaper."

"The government requires all Americans with health insurance to pay for a plan that includes the full cost of preventive services in the premium rather than including a co-pay, even if those plans would be cheaper."

And so on. If the English language could feel pain, it would be eligible for all kinds of government subsidies for prescription medication.

March 05, 2012 at 5:56 pm

seriously who comes up with this stuff? you have got to be totally out of touch with americans to suggest this is a positive policy. one step closer to socialism and a broke country.

March 05, 2012 at 5:12 pm


Jeff Sylvester
March 05, 2012 at 4:39 pm

There is a huge difference between not having health insurance and not getting care. I have been in healthcare for 30 years and we have always provided care regardless of the patient's ability to pay. Now thanks to "ObamaCare" everyone will have insurance and will wait in a government queue for care. This is a disaster.

March 05, 2012 at 11:29 am

We need a flat tax and no more tax deductions.

March 04, 2012 at 5:19 pm

I am a big fan of individuals rights and freedoms. The individual is a vast expansion of the commerce clause and gives Congress unprecedented powers well beyond the health care areana. We're already seeing ballooning cost from the unreasonable poorly based assumptions made (typical for anything government).