Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Affordable Care Act

So here we are... the Supreme Court has begun listening to arguments regarding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. (Of course, as usual, the legislation is named the exact opposite of what it will accomplish...but I digress.)

According to a New York Times poll, two thirds of Americans want congress to repeal all or some of the Affordable Care Act even while large majorities support a few of its major aspects. The parts that people want to keep crack me up, though. It explains a lot about why we are where we are as a country today.

The least popular part of the bill is the individual mandate. Here, I proudly stand up and say, "I am opposed to this, too!!!!" Okay, in the interest of fairness, I should just say up front that I'm opposed to the whole darned thing. But the government forcing me to buy a product of any kind in order to be alive in the US is ridiculous. I know that there are laws out there requiring me to purchase car insurance if I'm going to drive a car... but this is not the same thing. There is no law requiring me to buy a car... I can take the whole package or not, as I see fit. Having three children I have to drive around, I choose the car - and the insurance requirement that goes along with it.

The Obama administration is touting a new poll that shows (supposedly) an equal number of people wanting to repeal the law as want to expand it. Expand it to what, I am not sure -- expansion of what appears to be already in place sounds ludicrous to me. Supposedly, though, I am alone in that. Because David Plouffe of the Obama administration declares that people don't want to go back to square one.

It seems to me that too often people come to their conclusions about political ideas without putting enough thought into the consequences of seeing their ideas enacted. 85 percent of Americans polled approve of requiring insurance companies to insure people with pre-existing conditions. On an emotional level, this sounds lovely. But it's not reasonable or sustainable. (And I speak as one of those people who has been considered "uninsurable" because of a pre-existing condition.) To require insurance companies to accept folks like me would further raise the cost of insurance. Hate to break it to you, but insurance companies exist to make money. This being the case, they have to raise their rates on either the people with pre-existing conditions (which is fine), making the cost of purchasing the insurance ridiculous -- or they have to raise the cost of everybody's insurance, making things more difficult for everybody in order to make sure that I can get mine. Eventually, you have too many people dropping out of the insurance pool because the cost has become crazy, and then the cost goes up even more, etc... etc... So to require insurance companies to accept me is not a good option.

Sixty eight percent of Americans polled like the requirement that insurance companies have to allow "children" to remain on their parents' policies until they're 26 years old. Again, this is not going to happen for free. It's another one of those things that makes an emotionally compelling argument, but doesn't really stand up to common sense. **Rant Alert** At what point can we reasonably expect people to grow up? We're going to tell people that they're old enough to drink at 21. They're old enough to vote and influence national and local political policy when they're 18. But they can't manage their own health care concerns? How silly. If they can't take care of themselves properly, they certainly shouldn't have a say in who is going to make decisions for the country.

I have friends and family with chronic illnesses, and I know that this issue is a difficult one. But when we're making decisions about public policy and the constitutionality of laws, the decision should never be an emotional one. It's time to stop the government's overreaching. I would love to get back to the basics, where the government is actually limited as the Constitution says it is, but I don't foresee that happening anytime in the near future. As it stands, however, I will be happy with a Supreme Court ruling that at least goes along with the Constitution in this case.

The Affordable Care Act should go.

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