Obama Health Care: A Good Idea, Even With Continuing Concerns?

 

With oral arguments set to begin in March in front of the Supreme Court for yet another challenge to its existence, the Obama Health Care overhaul continues to cause waves. At issue is the current directive that Americans will be required to buy health insurance or pay a fine. Arguments pertaining to that concern the Anti-Injunction Act, a Federal law. There is disagreement as to whether not the fine Americans would pay if they didn’t buy health insurance is actually considered a tax; if it is, that tax can only be challenged after it’s imposed, not preemptively. The Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments specific to that question beginning March 26 of 2012.

A bumpy road

Originally signed into law on March 23, 2010, the plan was originally set to change the landscape of American health insurance forever. As it was originally intended, the plan was meant to allow those who would otherwise not be able to get healthcare to finally have access to it, if necessary through a public option. It’s been challenged every step of the way, and these arguments are the latest development in what has been a difficult road to success.

Although originally much more robust than it is now, the Obama Health Care plan may still do much of what it was originally intended to do, even with the concessions that have taken place. It’s set to take effect in 2014, and will still provide insurance coverage to more than 30 million people who may otherwise not have been able to get health insurance. It will give subsidies to those with low or modest incomes so that they are able to buy private insurance. In addition, consumers who must buy individual insurance policies can get help through insurance exchanges.

Under Obama Health Care, insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to people with preexisting conditions. Medicare is also being revised in terms of how it’s managed. A panel of experts will oversee Medicare, and Medicare reimbursement will only cover treatments that are considered currently effective for medical conditions. Providers are highly encouraged to limit charges on an individual procedure basis and to engage in “bundling” of services, to save money.

Cost and savings

The plan is expected to cost about $938 billion over the next decade, and will simultaneously reduce the deficit by about $138 billion.

Continued stumbling blocks

The plan has already been challenged in court numerous times, and these arguments concerning the Anti-Injunction act are just the latest to be heard. The plan’s implementation is further complicated by the fact that previous court challenges to Obama Health Care have sometimes had conflicting appellate court rulings that will need to be worked out.

Current changes likely to stay in place

Even with these continued stumbling blocks, though, Obama Health Care has brought about significant changes already that are likely to stay in place. For example, health insurers are under new, strict oversights, and young adults previously not able to get insurance can continue to be covered under their parents’ plans. The existence of the plan has also caused a sometimes unpleasant analysis of the current health care system and its rising costs.

Does Congress really have the power?

Another question yet to be resolved asks whether or not Congress can actually enforce the mandate that Americans must buy insurance or pay a fine. Although the mandate was meant to require everyone to have health insurance, opponents to that directive say that it violates one’s right to choose.

It’s interesting to note that insurance companies actually like this mandate. They argue that if healthy individuals must buy insurance, the insurance companies will have the resources to cover those with chronic conditions, who are more expensive to treat. It may very well be that the insurance companies are only in this for profit, but regardless, Obama Health Care seeks to give everyone insurance coverage across the board, instead of only offering this privilege to a select few as seems to be true now.


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