In the last 2 weeks, 2 events of great personal interest occurred. First, I was fortunate enough to have finally qualified for health care insurance from my current employer after nearly a decade of going without it. Second, the likelihood that most currently uninsured Americans will soon share my good fortune in regards to access to affordable health care insurance has increased after the U.S House of Representatives passed the Senate’s version of President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act 2 Sundays ago; the president subsequently signed the bill into law the following Tuesday after its Congressional passing.
Because of my own experiences of having to go without healthcare coverage due to its inaffordability, the latter event marked a coming to pass of a policy which I have personally felt to be a societal necessity ever since I, as a 6th grader in the 1970s, remember asking one of my favorite teachers, “Why can’t poor people go to the hospital for free?”
While Americans—both poor and well-to-do alike—may not get free healthcare as a result of the bill, we will get the next best thing…the right (notice I didn’t say “opportunity”) to affordable healthcare, as well as holding traditional private insurance providers more accountable when they treat their policy holders like red-headed stepchildren. Among the heretofore unknown benefits of the new law include:
-Adult children of insured parents are now able to stay on their parents’ policies until they are 26 years of age, helping to reduce the number of college students without coverage.
-Insurance companies will now be prohibited from dropping (canceling your policy) if you become ill.
-Children (and by 2014, adults) will be prohibited from denying health care coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
-Insurance companies will no longer be allowed to cap coverage on expensive care due to long- lasting illnesses.
Watch CBS News Videos Online
(for more details on what policy changes are in the new health care bill, and how the new law may affect you, click on the following links):
1. “Health Care: How You Will Affected By Reform Changes” http://www.ajc.com/news/health-care/health-care-how-will-409705.html
2. “Ten Ways The New Healthcare Bill May Affect You.” http://finance.yahoo.com/family-home/article/109178/10-ways-the-new-healthcare-bill-may-affect-you?mod=family-love_money
3. New Healthcare Bill Pro And Cons: It Expands Benefits Now, Cuts Them Later.” http://www.csmonitor.com/Money/Donald-Marron/2010/0322/New-healthcare-bill-pros-and-cons-It-expands-benefits-now-cuts-them-later
Aside from the immediate and tangible benefits of the new healthcare bill, the Congressional Budget Office confirmed that the economic result of the new legislation will yield a reduction in the nation’s budget deficit to the tune of some $140 billion over the next 10 years.
But as is often in the world of politics and ideology, people will find a way to disagree with even the most well-meaning of policies. In the last few weeks, the offices of both Republican and Democratic Congressmen have been vandalized (even shot at), anti-tax-n-spend activists have been making waves using red-baiting and other rhetoric-based tactics, and media-savvy Free Market ideologues have attacked the new bill as the start of Americas decline into a socialist dictatorship. Those who supported the bill’s passing in Congress have been slandered with racial and homophobic epithets. Even before the bill became law, there were dozens of raucous public forums on the proposed policy, some resulting in arrests and innuendoes of threats by those who saw the bill as akin to a threat to personal liberties. The rest of the Free World must be scratching its collective heads trying to understand why such a laudable policy change, especially with so many people benefiting from it, would yield so much animus and animosity.
It’s hard to say. In a country where people believed (and many still do) in a conspiracy of an impending One-World-Government heralded by the arrival of a massive fleet of unmarked United Nations helicopters, people can justify just about any position, even as it relates to something as positive as universal affordability in health care coverage. Most of the rhetoric against the new bill is anecdotal and/or ideologically based…nothing substantive against the mechanics of the bill itself. Ostensibly, opponents of the policy like to cite the new law’s requirement that all Americans be mandated to purchase insurance as an intrusion on personal and/or civil liberties. But is this requirement any more of an “intrusion” than the policy in nearly all 50 states that people be mandated to purchase automobile insurance? Are we so trapped in a particular way of thinking that we cannot see that many of the unfounded fears about aspects of the new healthcare law have been a part of either state or federal law for decades? Well, the new law is here and still, America is the bastion of Free Market opportunity that it has always been; the sky has not fallen, and socialism is not the economic model for business.
Have we devolved so much as a society that we would rather focus on fear of the unknown rather than brave new frontiers in policy? People who are so fear-bound need to get over themselves. God does not tell anyone to hate President Obama for his sponsorship of the new law any more than He tells anyone that the new bill is work of the Devil (or a socialist-leaning cabal within the government). As I have often said before, Americans emote too much and reason too little, and that is something that has to change for the betterment of the country.