This open forum discussion is dedicated to the Affordable Care Act.
All people are invited to express their opinions for, against, or indifferent about the law many refer to as Obamacare. From this discussion, we hope people can learn from each other. Agreement is not always the desired outcome; sometimes a simple meeting of differing opinions yields a great reward: learning something you didn't already know.
I wanted to share some of my opinions to kick off this forum. I could write for days about Obamacare, but I just wanted to share two focused thoughts as to why I am vehemently against this law.
First, to me, this sets a very, very dangerous precedent. Yes, rising healthcare costs and the burdens placed on the uninsured in addition to the burdens the uninsured place on the healthcare system are large and negatively affect us all. There is no question about this. But, in getting to my opinion, let me intentionally sidetrack in an attempt to make a point.
We live in a country of fairness and law. We are supposed to (though it seems politicians scoff at this idea) uphold and respect The Constitution and fairness above all things. For example, if a suspect is accused of murder, regardless of how heinous and nasty the crime is, no matter how much of a "slam dunk" the case is, if evidence is collected unfairly, illegally, etc., it's thrown out. If a driver is pulled over for a traffic stop and 50 lbs of cocaine are discovered illegally, nothing happens to the driver. Many would ask, "why not?! They were committing a crime!" Yes, that's true, but we must maintain constitutionality and fairness above all things. We can't simply ignore these two facets of our nation's fiber because we can conveniently solve a problem or problems. We can't just lock people up for murder if it makes it easier to solve murders no matter how unconstitutional the collection of evidence is. We can't arrest drug offenders in the manner discussed above regardless of how harmful or negative the drug trade is.
Because we have a limited federal government above all things. We have always been a people that doesn't mind a little government authority... a little. No matter how big a problem something is, we cannot give the government MORE power (many people cite this line when arguing against the Patriot Act). Child pornography and child sex trading are HUGE, disgusting, vile crimes we have within our borders. It's evil, and it ruins many, many lives. We recognize it's a problem. Why can't we just rush in and search residents' homes in an attempt to eliminate this disgusting problem? Again: because we have a limited federal government above all things.
Where is all this going? It goes back to the original point: "Yes, rising healthcare costs and the burdens placed on the uninsured in addition to the burdens the uninsured place on the healthcare system are large and negatively affect us all." Okay... that's a given. No one disputes this. BUT, and this is a BIG but, we cannot just make a law simply because we want to solve a problem. Many people say, "well, that's the reason we make laws." No, it's not. I have read numerous opinions of various circuit court judges that have said this law is economically necessary and helps solve the problems our country faces with healthcare.............
Economics aside, is that the job of the courts: To issue opinions based on the help or hurt of the law, not the law itself? If I think back to third grade, I remember learning that the function of the courts system (obviously including the Supreme Court) is to weigh the lawfulness of laws. Its job is to ensure each and every law passes a strict measure of checks to protect against we the people giving our federal, state, and local governments too much power. The numbers, dollars, and cents part is to be decided by analysts and people of the like, NOT the court system. In my opinion, if the Supreme Court holds up Obamacare, this sets a dangerous precedent if the argument of economic benefit or lack thereof (this is very debatable, but it's not my position in this post) is employed. It it's upheld, from this point forward, if we want to solve a problem in this country, screw the Constitution. If it helps people, if it solves a large problem, we can just pass a law and ignore all constitutional objections.
My second issue with Obamacare is: it has nothing... yes, NOTHING to do with ensuring all people have health insurance.
Let's get down to brass tacks here. Proponents of Obamacare say:
- "There are 47 million people without health insurance; we need to ensure all Americans are covered."
Okay, forget the part about having the right to do or not do something, no matter how important it is. I'm not going to get into the discussion that some people make about having the right to not purchase healthcare (I do think that having the right to purchase or not purchase something personal is something that should be preserved, but that's not what this is about). This law has been sold under the premise that it ensures everyone in the nation has healthcare... pause... pause... pause... pause...
But it doesn't really do that. Why not? Because it still allows people to not purchase healthcare if they pay a fine. The government says it wants to make sure everyone is covered, but then it's perfectly okay if people don't carry health insurance.
In a really, "quick and dirty" example:
- John Q Citizen does not carry health insurance of any kind.
- The government doesn't like this.
- John Q Citizen is above the income threshold for receiving medicare.
- John Q Citizen is fined by the government for not carrying health insurance.
- John Q Citizen pays the fine.
- John Q Citizen still does not carry health insurance of any kind.
Problem NOT solved.
In the end, if the problem isn't solved, what is this truly about? Money? Votes? Politics? I'm going to guess it's about votes. It goes back to the "buying votes" logic. If a party continually gives and gives and gives free things to voters, do you really think those voters will vote against that party? Sure, John Q Citizen in this example is above the minimum threshold for medicare, but do you think the 47 million Americans that will now receive free health care will vote against Obama and the democrats? I don't; no one will bite the hand that feeds them.
Please share your thoughts below. UPDATE: Be sure to vote in our Obamacare poll on the right.