The Republican attempt to repeal the health care law will not succeed. A Democratic controlled Senate and the veto pen of President Obama guarantees the survival of the new law. But that won’t prevent Speaker Boehner and his lackeys from moving forward with this futile exercise. After all, they must cater to their crazy Tea Party base or risk a primary challenge in 2012.
It seems that the major objection to the Affordable Health Care for America Act, other than it was enacted by President Obama, is the mandate that every American must purchase health insurance beginning in 2014. Somehow, according to the right wing, this is an infringement on our freedoms. That has been the basic argument made by several of the court challenges making their way through the federal court system. The government mandating the purchase of a product is not a new idea. Car insurance has been mandated for years with little or no objection.
The conservatives argue that the mandate to purchase car insurance is different from the requirement to buy health insurance because not everyone needs to own a car and the simple fact of being alive is not a justification for mandating the purchase of health insurance. This argument is weak. Just ask anyone living outside a metropolitan area with no access to mass transit if they need to own a car.
When a person purchases car insurance, they do not expect to get into an accident or think that will ever need to file a claim against their auto insurance policy. A car owner has a great deal of control over their ability to drive and can minimize the chances of being involved in an accident by practicing safe driving techniques. Many people have no auto accidents for years and yet, despite their driving record, they must purchase car insurance every year.
A person’s health is quite a different matter. No one expects to get sick just like no one expects to be involved in an auto accident. But people have much less ability to prevent the need to see a doctor or go to a hospital. Most people get sick during a year and without insurance wind up in an emergency room to get basic care. Since no one can be turned away from an emergency room regardless of their ability to pay for treatment, the cost of uncompensated care gets passed on to those with insurance through higher premiums and to the federal government.
The advantages of mandating health insurance are:
1. Lowers the cost of medical care for everyone.
2. Provides 50 million new customers for the private insurance industry.
3. Improves the health of
Once the mandate takes effect in 2014, states are supposed to have health insurance exchanges operating where consumers can compare policy options and choose the health insurance plan that meets their needs. Smart insurance companies will design various plans that appeal to people of all ages and all health situations. Plus, there will be no government run health insurance plan for people to select. Conservatives should have no problem with this aspect of the Affordable Health Care for America Act since it is the true essence of capitalism.
In summary, the requirement to purchase health insurance is very similar to the requirement to purchase auto insurance. Republicans have mounted no effort to repeal the auto insurance mandate over the years and they should forget trying to repeal health insurance. If it wasn’t for the fact that the new law gives President Obama a tremendous victory, they probably wouldn’t even try.