I am one of the 48 million people without health care before the Affordable Care Act, aka: ObamaCare. Because of my age and my income, I could not afford health care before ObamaCare. Before ObamaCare, many Americans either could not afford health care or else they were entirely cut out of the system by the health insurance industry because of a pre-existing condition.
Certainly, many young people didn’t have health care either, believing they were too young to get sick and no one can foresee a terrible accident that might require major surgery and a lengthy hospital stay. Every day, young people and people like me get sick or we’re involved in an accident that puts us in not only the emergency room but also the operating room and/or a hospital room. We also face being out of work for a period of time, which many can’t afford if their jobs do not offer sick pay. Suddenly there are bills stacking up and many just do not have the cash. Bankruptcy is filed and the hospital and the doctors are not paid. The cost is passed onto those who do have health insurance and who actually pay their hospital and doctor bills. Thus, the rising cost of health care, at least in part, because there are other factors that affect the cost of health care also. The old health care system that had already denied health care to tens of millions, was heading to a day that health care insurance would become a luxury where only the wealthy would be able to afford it.
Many progressives, myself included, really wanted a universal health care system, or single-payer system, still do. A single-payer system would entirely cut out the middleman, the health care insurance industry, and allow the government to control cost. Instead, we compromised with an original Republican idea to mandate health care insurance for all Americans, in return for restrictions put on health care insurance companies so that they have to accept everyone at a reasonable cost. Medicaid is expanded in most states and subsidies are given to those whose income is below 400 percent of the poverty level so that low-income workers can afford insurance.
ObamaCare is far from what progressives want in a health care system but we accepted it because it was a compromise with Republicans. Unfortunately, the Republicans decided they no longer support a health care insurance mandate, since President Barack Obama now supports one. The final bill passed through Congress ended up being a Democratic bill without Republican support. The Affordable Care Act could have been a bipartisan bill with both Democrat and Republican support if Republicans had worked to get more involved in the process of the bill and maintained their support for an insurance mandate and personal responsibility by all Americans.
Whatever Republicans and their party have done as a whole since the beginning process of ObamaCare has been to tear down the law and stop it if possible. The election in 2012 did not give them what they wanted, so now they have moved on to desperate tactics, such as using the little power they have in the U.S. House of Representatives to shut down government. We’re also facing a possible showdown over the debt ceiling come Oct. 17, according to Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, and if Republicans do not get their way by shutting down the government, then they may use the Debt Ceiling, which could cause the nation to lose yet another credit rating, with no telling what it would do to our economy.
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives in Washington DC has spent a huge amount of its time trying to overturn ObamaCare, voting 46 times to repeal the law, knowing that it would not even get past the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate, let alone the president’s desk. Now we face economic harm from a political party unhappy with the results of an election and its members in the U.S. House refusing to do their jobs if ObamaCare is not at least delayed for a year.
Like me, tens of millions of Americans will be happy that they finally have preventive care to help us keep from getting sick and health care for us when we do get sick. There are also no caps on how long our insurance pays for our care as long as we continue to pay our premiums. Certainly, there will be problems and probably serious ones, like the lack of doctors in the system. Eventually that will be remedied by market forces, and perhaps with the aid of federal grants to send young minds to medical school to become primary doctors.
I realize that ObamaCare is still unpopular with most Americans but I believe that will change once most Americans know what the Affordable Care Act really is. I also believe a time will come, and not too far off into the future, when most Americans will like their ObamaCare as it brings the cost of health care down and keeps families and individuals from going bankrupt because of a medical crisis.
I speak for millions of uninsured Americans who go to work at jobs that do not provide health insurance for their employees, either because they cannot afford to, or they’re just too cheap to do so, when I say to Republicans in Congress, keep your government hands off my ObamaCare.