Affordable we stand, divided we protest

By Bonita Garber – Horizon Opinion Editor

Affordable. Economic. Legal. These are just a few words people have used to describe the new Health Care Bill.  But, the Supreme Court is considering a lawsuit over the constitutionality of Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as “Obamacare.”

Originally proposed in late March, the health care bill has seen many adversaries. Attorneys from over 25 states have united to challenge the ACA provision which requires almost all Americans to purchase health care by 2014 or pay a tax penalty.

Responses to the law have been mixed. Attorney General Derek Schmidt has called this new law an “unprecedented federal power grab,” while protestors lined the street in D.C two weeks ago, yelling “we love Obamacare!”

But how many are in favor of this new act? According to the US Department of Human Health Services, over 2.5 million young adults have gained health coverage due to the ACA provision that allows them to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26.

Still, others worry about the increasing expenditures of the deficit. The United States Department of Health and Human Services reported that the ACA bill would increase “total national health expenditures” by more than $200 billion from 2010 to 2019.

So, while the amount of people covered by health care would increase, so would the expenditures.

Some still remain in favor of the act. According to the Congressional Budget Office, by 2019, the ACA will have reduced the number of uninsured adults by thirty million. In Kansas, the new bill would increase Medicaid enrollment by 130,000.

But many state legislators plan to fight the bill. Attorneys argue that a mandate requiring Americans to purchase health care exceeds the federal government’s constitutional authority.

“This is the first time in the history of the United States that a majority of the states have joined together in a legal challenge to the authority of the federal government,” Schmidt was quoted saying in a Kansas Health Institute article. “It’s a big deal.”

And it is a big deal. For college students that are already paying bills and holding debts, being able to stay on their parents health care plans until age 26 may seem like a utopia. By 2014, the Act will have provided health care for more than 12 million young persons. But, for those students whose parents do not have coverage, paying for health care is yet another added expense.

While the federal government has promised to pay 100 percent of the cost for the expansion, many are skeptical, because of the federal budget deficit, that there won’t be enough revenue to make good on that promise.

Even after all of the provisions of the act have taken effect, there will still be 25 million uninsured residents. These people will include: illegal immigrants, citizens not enrolled in Medicaid, citizens that are not covered by their parents and have opted to pay the annual penalty instead of purchasing insurance and citizens who are exempt from paying due to monetary difficulties.

So, is health care worth it? Is the amount of money spent to ensure that Americans are insured, constitutional and valid? For those benefiting from the act, Obamacare may seem ideal. But, is Obamacare worth it, for those who are funding it?

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