Obamacare still far from goal


President Obama has been criticized for many things, from foreign policy to defense cuts — just about everything he has done as president. Most of the criticism comes from Republicans, but even Democrats can admit that Obama was not the knight in shining armor he advertised himself as.

I would consider myself to be neither Republican nor a Democrat, because I agree and disagree with various views on both sides. A great example of this is the range of opinions on the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare.

It’s no secret that the bill does have legitimate problems. It requires everyone to purchase health insurance or pay a fine. Companies are allowed to delay this mandate for at least a year, whereas individuals can’t do this. Some claim it will kill jobs. Some claim it’s an overreach of power by the federal government. Some claim it’s all part of Obama’s secret communist plot to murder your grandparents (seriously, there are people who have actually claimed this).

Another more legitimate criticism leveled at this bill is that it does nothing to actually address the affordability of health care, only who pays for it. This country has ridiculously high health care bills compared to many other countries. For example, a certain prescription drug here, might cost five times as much as if you just went down to Mexico and got the exact same thing.

This is because hospitals intentionally overcharge for their products, then the insurance companies step in and negotiate for a fairer price. The problem with this is that if you don’t have insurance, you don’t have anyone to negotiate for you. Therefore you’ll be intentionally charged far more than the amount of the service you received was actually worth.

There has even been some criticism from the left about this bill, although the majority of the critics, think it doesn’t go far enough and that we should instead have a universal health care system.

This is definitely a bad idea, — not necessarily because there is anything wrong with a universal health care system, but because Republican opposition was so strong to just the Affordable Aare Act by itself that it caused a government shutdown; who knows what they would do if we tried to implement a universal health care system.

However, there are some legitimate benefits to this bill that are often overlooked by Republicans. First of all, it provides some fixes to legitimate problems with our healthcare system. Before, it was okay for insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, something which has now been fixed. It does this with a patient’s Bill of Rights which protects consumers from the worst of insurance companies abuses of power.

Also, it’s called the Affordable Care Act for a reason. The purpose of it actually is to provide cheaper healthcare. Does it do the best possible job with that? That’s debatable. But it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

Some of you will be graduating college soon under a crippling pile of debt from student loans. This bill allows you to remain on your parents’ insurance plan until you’re 26. If the Republicans had their way and Obamacare was repealed, you would graduate college with both crippling debt and insanely high insurance premiums.

I agree with Republicans about some of the problems this bill has. However, I think it’s a little unfair to only focus on the negatives of this bill and refuse to consider the benefits this bill has to offer.

I think Republicans are going about this entirely the wrong way, especially considering their role in the government shutdown. They have spent so much time trying to undermine a bill that has already passed, yet they have absolutely no suggestions to actually improve things. Apparently, their only goal is for us to return to an obviously broken system. This bill might have problems, but you have to agree that it’s at least slightly better than what our system used to be.

The bill already has been passed and is in effect. Wouldn’t it make more sense to try to fix the problems it has, instead of spending every waking moment trying to eliminate it entirely and therefore eliminate all the good it has done?

Michael Rauser is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].