Seeds: One of the most significant reforms under the Obama administration is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare. It was signed into law in March of 2010 and was intended to increase the quality and affordability of healthcare (men and women would pay the same price, children could stay on their parents insurance until the age of 26, and insurers could not deny coverage to those who are already ill), reduce government spending on healthcare, and lower the rate of uninsured individuals. Part of this plan included expanding Medicaid (government subsidized healthcare for those with very little or no income), but the Supreme Court ruled in 2012’s NIFB v Sebelius that individual states must be one to decided whether or not they wish to receive more Medicaid.
Core: Since its installation, Obamacare has required that companies with more than 50 employees offer their employees medical insurance. For smaller companies, it is not required, but encouraged. Also, those people who can afford minimum coverage are required to purchase plans. People with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid but still too low to afford plans offered by their employers, are given other options to obtain insurance under Obamacare. The money for these programs has come from tax revenue.
Skin: The public and Congress alike remain divided on the law. Here are the main arguments for and against Obamacare.
More people have health insurance, therefore there is less financial burden on lower income families.
Health Insurance providers are required to be less discriminatory.
It saves some businesses money.
Some 3 million young adults were given coverage because of the extension that allowed them to be covered under their parents insurance.
While there are fewer who are not insured, over 30 million Americans still don't have coverage.
It is an extremely costly program for the federal government.
Individuals who don’t qualify for Medicaid have to buy new plans for themselves (their previous plans are no longer valid) that tend to be more expensive, and less beneficial.
Some doctors are saying that it negatively affects their work environment; they have more hoops to jump through and can do less actual practicing of medicine.
Leaves: The question of whether or not to repeal the act has been a big talking point in the 2016 election cycle. Republican candidates argue that Obamacare must be repealed, as it leads to too much government spending. Furthermore, they argue that increasing competition in the insurance marketplace is the best way to make healthcare affordable for all (if there is more competition, insurers would lower their prices in order to compete for more customers. This results in lower prices for Americans and more revenue for the insurers, because more people are buying their product). On the other hand, Democratic candidates vow to defend it, and in some cases, extend it.
Food For Thought: What do you think of Obamacare? Do you think that the next president should repeal the act entirely, or just change certain aspects? Do you think that the next president should leave the act as it is? Do you think the healthcare system is fair?