POST 1:Why is the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) so controversial?The Affordable Care Act is so controversial partially because several times in the one and a half year effort, support from Congressional members was obtained by President Obama and his administration using closed door deals, which are almost always suspect. (PBS Frontline, April 14, 2010) Additionally, early in the effort, the Act had the appearance of being a money maker for insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies. Angry citizens demonstrated in Washington DC and turn out in force to Town Hall meetings. They did not want “expanding government” or “public health care” that would take more money from every citizen. Then when the terms of the early deals with the Insurance Companies were changed, the insurance lobby went on the offensive in the media, saying there would be large rate increases and “hidden taxes”. (PBS Frontline, April 14, 2010)Constitutionally, Swendiman (2012) argues that the U.S. Constitution does not provide a universal right to health care in the U.S. There have been several federal statutes, on the other hand, that do provide certain persons with health care provided by the federal government, although it is not a “right” per se. These were passed under Congress’ Constitutional authority to provide for the “general welfare”. Congressional authority (under the Constitution) to oversee interstate commerce and levy taxes has also been the justification for laws regarding health insurance and health care. (Swendiman, 2012) However, none of these previous laws required the American people at large (i.e. everyone) to purchase health insurance (or any other product or service).The Affordable Care Act is unique in that it requires U.S. citizens to purchase something—health insurance—and the Supreme Court had to be careful in how they upheld it. In the end, the majority of the Court upheld the Act and ruled that the requirement for all Americans to purchase health care is “a valid exercise of Congress’ taxing power”. (Swendiman, 2012) They did, however, limit Congress from withdrawing federal Medicaid funds from states who decided not to expand Medicaid coverage, which was required in the Affordable Care Act of 2010.Swendiman (2012) argues that the U.S. Constitution does not give anyone the right to health care, and the framers wrote it to guarantee “freedom from government”, versus providing “rights to governmental services”. I believe this is why so many people in this country opposed it. They knew it would cost everyone more money in taxes, if not in insurance, and it was fundamentally contrary to the American culture of freedom of choice (to not have Health Insurance). There are still many who oppose the passage of the bill in both Republican and Democratic parties, as well as others; so I will be surprised if the Act is not overturned by future legislation or Courts. I also think that the Supreme Court is on thin ice when they called it a tax, and said it fell under Congressional Constitutional authority to levy taxes. It doesn’t look like any other federal tax, even if it is administered by the IRS. This is the strangest justification I’ve seen from the Supreme Court to date.POST 2:The Affordable Care Act is so controversial, largely, in part because the interest groups and the media have placed negative connotations in the minds of average Americans. The Frontline video shows many people comparing Obama to Hitler because of the programs he was pushing through congress. TV commercials, the media, and political opponents spread untruths about the proposed reform. This led to a vast amount of people, who did not understand the complexities of the bill, to oppose it, completely on their “principles”.What caused these interest groups to be so against the bill was money. Initially, the health insurance PAC backed the bill, but became opposed to it when costs appeared to be higher than expected. Healthcare providers opposed the bill because they foresaw steep decreases to what they could charge for care, making them believe that their individual incomes were in jeopardy. Lastly, Republicans opposed the reform because it was too liberal for them; the bill was seen as “socialized” medicine.POST 3:When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed in 2010 there was an uproar about the hundreds of pages contained in the document. Many decried, perhaps not unjustly, that it was almost impossible to know the entirety of what was being signed into law. It was this perceived unfairness that first started the controversy over the ACA.Some worried over nonsensical things like “death panels” deciding who lives and dies in American society, but the pause over forcing people to pay to be uninsured were legitimate. Many were concerned that doing so would set a precedent of having to pay to opt out of other government programs or, satirically, out of every day items. “Would you like a piece of gum? No?That’ll be $1.50.”Another controversial part of the ACA deals with the sections specifically relating to contraception and how religious institutions object to offering certain services through their healthcare plan. However, this issue is not unique to the ACA. Church and state and the discussion of how they should interact has been ongoing since the US was founded. Yes, they are supposed to be separated, but that is easier said than done, especially when the Supreme Court is concerned (Tushnet 1989).Personally, I’m glad the ACA exists. I’ve found it comforting that in the ups and downs of me finding a career, I’ve always been able to have health insurance either because I could still be covered on my parents’ plan, or because I could buy it for myself. I’m also glad that a family member can’t be denied coverage because of a preexisting condition. I know there are many more bumps in the law to work out, but I’m grateful for the progress so far.Tushnet, M. (1989, September). “Of Church and State and the Supreme Court”: Kurland Revisited. The Supreme Court Review, 373-402. doi:10.1086/scr.1989.3109641
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