On May 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed comprehensive health reform into law. The new law was called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. After more than two years of debate on the new law, on June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court has finally settled the debate.
The question for the Supreme Court has not been whether or not every American should have health care. The question has been whether or not the President of the United States and his administration can mandate what Americans have to purchase. Given that the penalty for not following the mandate is a tax, the Supreme Court has upheld the individual mandate portion of the health care plan.
As many had not hoped for and had not predicted, President Barack Obama’s health care plan’s individual mandate has been found to be constitutional. The part of Obama’s health care plan that has been struck down is the portion that involves Medicaid in relation to the states. The Supreme Court has now said that Congress cannot tell the states that they must extend Medicaid to provide for the poor.
The old adage is that you have to do two things in life: pay taxes and die. As of today’s Supreme Court decision, in the United States of America, the new adage becomes: pay taxes, buy health insurance, and die.
According to Obama’s controversial plan, most United States citizens and legal residents have to have health insurance whether they wanted it or not. How much a person or family pays for the required coverage depends on how much money a person makes. Each state is said to have American Health Benefit Exchanges available to persons of poverty.
Besides having an effect on American individuals, most businesses in the United States are required to provide insurance for their employees.
United States citizens and legal residents who refuse to comply with the federal government’s dictate of purchasing health care have to pay the tax penalty beginning in 2015.
Many business owners have said that they would have to close their doors with the requirement to purchase insurance or give credits to their employees. Businesses with a minimum of 200 employees were impacted most, and many said that the cost is just not doable for them. The Supreme Court’s decision will be devastating for them.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are people who want the government’s health care coverage and expect those who can afford it to help cover those who can’t afford it. Not surprisingly, many Americans don’t think that’s right. Also, throw into the mix that many of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who don’t have insurance say they can certainly afford it, but they don’t want to spend their money on it. As of today, they have no choice. Many young people, so it has been found, simply don’t want to invest in health care coverage at their young ages.
At the time of the Supreme Court’s decision today, approximately two-thirds of Americans do not want this health care plan. Yet, the Obama administration hasn’t altered a thing and expected it to stay intact – as is. And it has, for the most part. There has been no regard for the 66% of Americans who do not like the plan as is – or who do not want any governmental health care plan at all.
The Supreme Court has shockingly failed the United States citizens by upholding the individual mandate portion of the plan. Allowing the federal government to tell Americans what they must purchase – including health care – is an extremely dangerous precedent to start in our democracy.
About Scott Paulson
Scott Paulson writes political commentary for Examiner.com and teaches English at a community college in the Chicago area. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.