Healthcare has been one of the hottest topics during President Obama’s time in office. The Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare,” is probably one of the more controversial laws in recent memory. The healthcare debate is still a major issue in America.
According to a Gallup Poll, about 55 percent of the people surveyed disapproved of the law. Of course, perceptions of the law tend to change dramatically according to party affiliation. For example, 39 percent of the Republicans polled said that law has so far had a negative impact on them or their families. Meanwhile, only seven percent of Democrats said it had a negative impact on them. It is very interesting that party allegiance can have such a large impact on how one perceives things.
The healthcare controversy remains a major issue, but examining the topic is tricky because there are a lot of different factors at play. On the one hand, there is the issue of how much a government ought to be involved in regulating the healthcare and health insurance industries in the first place. On the other hand, there is probably a natural desire in most people to want to help those who are in need.
According to a Politico article, Vice President Joe Biden stated his beliefs regarding healthcare stem from his own experience with health problems. According to the same article, Biden indicated that healthcare ought to be a right. While most people would likely agree that most people should have access to healthcare, saying that this is a right becomes problematic. This gets into the idea of positive rights versus negative rights. A positive right is essentially something that requires action. As former congressman Ron Paul has noted, if society must provide healthcare for everyone, then a person’s “right” to healthcare comes at the expense of everyone else.
The constitutionality of the ACA has often been called into question, particularly in regard to its “individual mandate.” The basic constitutional justification for the individual mandate would be Article One, Section Eight, which states that Congress can collect taxes, duties, and so forth in order to pay debts and provide for defense and the general welfare of the country. Of course, whether this actually justifies requiring people to have health insurance is subject to debate.
One of the difficulties with the healthcare law has been the lack of accurate information and the confusion that this has caused. For example, the assurance that people could keep their existing insurance if they liked it turned out not to be true for everyone. Of course, Obama took a lot of heat for this.
The saying that there are no free lunches probably holds true in the debate surrounding healthcare. If someone is getting health insurance for much cheaper than normal, that money must come from somewhere. This, along with the question of whether the government can force people buy health insurance if they do not already have it, is probably the core problem with the ACA.
The healthcare controversy is still a major issue in America. It is hard to say how the situation will ultimately turn out, but it will not be an easy problem to solve.
Editorial By Zach Kirkman
Liberty Defined, by Ron Paul (print)