ObamaCare debate: Health care is a right, not a privilege
Published: Monday, October 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 15, 2012 21:10
Ever since its approval in 2010, a lot of debate has evolved around whether or not the Affordable Care Act is constitutional or even morally justified. The Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, was formed around the notion of “universal healthcare,” a fundamental idea that was introduced to Washington by the Institute of Medicine. ObamaCare’s core principal is that by 2014, every American citizen should have affordable health insurance. If not, they are subjected to a fee.
This law, modeled after the Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s health care act in Massachusetts, is ironically one of the crucial arguments in the presidential race. Why? Republicans argue that the Americans should have the right to buy health insurance. Thus, to force one to buy health care is against the constitution. With this same ideology, one can argue that forcing the American people to pay fines for not wearing seatbelts is unconstitutional.
The fact that ObamaCare is a subject on the presidential debate is maddening. To dispute whether the ruling is constitutional is synonymous on debating on whether or not health care is a right or privilege, the right between to live or to die.
According to Lynee Ide, director of the Legislative Electoral Action Program and the Connecticut Citizen Action Group, 400,000 individuals within the state of Connecticut don’t have health insurance because “they earn too much to qualify for subsidized health care,” but they don’t make enough to cover the costs of health insurance. Contrary to popular belief, “80 percent of those 400,000 individuals work full time,” said Ide.
Currently, health care is skewed toward the interests of large businesses. A common strategy for health insurance companies to earn profit is called “pooling,” a tactic where these large employers contract with health care insurances to insure their employees. This idea of pooling is based off the concept that out of a large number of people, a majority of these individuals are healthy, and a minority are sick. This large disparity between the ill and healthy can cover the costs of the sick and results in reasonable premiums and deductibles for its employees. However, in order for this method to occur, there needs to be a substantial amount of individuals covered. This creates complications for small businesses.
Small businesses, when attempting to cover their employees, face a setback. The ratio between the sick and the healthy is higher due to the lower number of individuals on their coverage plan, resulting in higher premiums and deductibles. However, these businesses can’t afford such a coverage plan and often have no other option then to opt out of having medical coverage for its employees. This impediment, usually, is where the 400,000 uninsured arise. So what does ObamaCare have to do with this drawback? Well, under ObamaCare, small businesses will go under the umbrella of the large businesses coverage plans, resulting in affordable premiums and health insurance.
Health care should not only be a right, but also should be affordable to the uninsured. Uninsured individuals normally suppress the symptoms associated with their ailment until it has developed into a severe complication. This should not take place for two reasons. One, the fact that one has to suppress their ailment due to the inability to afford care is immoral and unethical, not on part of the uninsured but more on the responsibility of society as a whole. As a community, we should collaborate to instill the idea of preventive care in society. Second, these 400,000 uninsured people are taxing the insured more than perceived. Because the uninsured individuals resort last minute to emergency room care to treat their illnesses, the cost of treating the illness at a later stage costs more than treating it earlier on.
Currently, health care providers cannot deny anyone access to health care. According to Ide, emergency room care is one of the most expensive forms of medical care. Usually, the uninsured are forced to exhaust their assets in order to pay for their emergency intervention (it’s no surprise that one in two personal bankruptcies are health care related), and most of the time, the liquidation of their assets is not enough to cover for the care received. This results in capital earned from the insured to be allocated to cover the costs of the uninsured, which in turn results in a cost increase in premiums for the insured. Thus, to argue against ObamaCare is immoral, as it taxes society in terms of capital and quality of life.