Why I Think the Obama Health Care Plan Is a Good Thing
By David Dierking
Over the course of my adult life, I don’t think I’ve ever come across a political issue that’s caused as much debate and derisiveness as the recent discussion surrounding health care reform.
For the few of you who may not have already heard, the House this past weekend narrowly passed a sweeping reform bill that will essentially overhaul the current health care system. Not surprisingly, the vote was almost entirely along party lines. Not a single Republican voted in favor the bill. That would be in addition to 34 Democrats voting against President Obama’s health care package.
As I checked out Facebook first thing in the morning as I normally do, I noticed just about everybody railing on the passage of the health care reform bill. Most of the complaints came in two forms. The first is that it’s likely to result in higher taxes and the second is that this is another example of government interfering in the lives of Americans. I can understand why certain people believe this but I think this belief also ignores the real benefits of the reform.
Ignoring the discussion of cost for a moment, the bill will provide health insurance to millions of Americans who don’t already have or don’t qualify for coverage. I don’t think this improvement can be emphasized enough. The economy and the aging of America have resulted in a rise in the number of underinsured and uninsured in this country and getting health insurance coverage for most regardless of employment or demographic status is a big win.
Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that for most Americans who get their health insurance through their employer premiums would not be significantly different than what they are currently. For those who buy insurance on their own, premiums are expected to rise about 10-13% but that most people buying their own coverage would qualify for subsidies that would bring their overall insurance costs down. Again, some will undoubtedly see costs rise but for most to see little change in their insurance premiums, I think this is a good thing.
But we have to address the elephant in the room – cost. Who will pay for this and how much will it cost? Depending on which side of the room you choose to believe, the answers are radically different. The Obama camp says that this will be paid for by reducing spending on Medicare and would actually result in a decrease in the federal deficit over the next decade. Republicans on the other hand argue the deficit will rise and the value of the dollar will further drop as the government continues to subsidize premiums for millions.
Yes, taxes could go up for some but I think there’s an important, dare I say, socialist aspect that should be considered here? There are a lot of otherwise healthy people who have trouble qualifying for insurance on their own. That’s not even to mention the significant number of children who deserve basic health care. Isn’t a tax increase for some worth the cost of getting insurance for all? Isn’t there this notion of the greater good that should be taken into consideration here?
The debate over health care reform won’t end here or any time in the near future but count me as one who is happy that this bill passed. The current system wasn’t working for too many people and reform was needed. Time will only tell if this version of it will be the answer or this will further plunge us into the fiscal abyss.
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