Even as we go into our third Open Enrollment Period, you may still be met with some opposition about healthcare reform and what that means for the United States when discussing Obamacare with your friends and family. In general, conservatives are still opposed to the Affordable Care Act while most liberals still favor the now not-so-new healthcare law. Regardless of which political party you support, you may have some questions about the Affordable Care Act that are difficult to answer due to the constant back-and-forth presented on the news. We want our readers to have the full picture on Obamacare even when that picture includes unpleasant side effects and unintentional consequences. On this page, we’ll go over some of the cons of the new healthcare law as well as some of the most prevalent arguments against its implementation and well address the question, what are the problems with Obamacare.
Obamacare’s Negative Effect on the Nation
As with every new program, there are downsides to Obamacare that can’t be overlooked. No new government program is going to be completely perfect, and the Affordable Care Act has plenty of cons that render it debatable in a public forum. While the goal of the ACA is to provide health insurance options for millions of people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford healthcare coverage, the bill itself includes some dubious features that cause concern among both conservatives and liberals alike. In this section, we’ll go over some of the pressing concerns about Obamacare as it relates to the country as a whole.
For starters, Obamacare will cost a lot of money. Estimates for the cost of the new healthcare program range from $1.36 to $2.6 trillion over the next decade. With the national deficit already well above $17 trillion, taxpayers are rightly concerned that the massive cost of Obamacare is unnecessary and will only lead us down the road to further wasteful spending. Because the new healthcare law costs a fortune, the amount will be distributed through taxpayer support. In other words, you’re responsible for a portion of the trillion or so dollars required to fund Obamacare. Many people argue about the true cost of Obamacare, but no one can argue that a new government program with such far-reaching effects will cost a pretty penny in the short-run if not the long run.
You might be able to combat the argument of excessive cost with the fact that Obamacare is projected to reduce the national deficit by one to two trillion dollars over the next 20 years according to some estimates. However, the fact remains that Obamacare, as a program, is not cheap. Affordable healthcare comes at a cost to taxpayers who can afford to contribute to the system. And some taxpayers will pay substantially more than others depending on their health, age and socioeconomic status. For example, a healthy 27-year-old female might pay $120 per month for insurance while a family of four pays about the same after subsidies. Her contribution along with the contribution of other healthy young people will go toward offsetting the cost of subsidies for that family of four.
Obamacare Debate – Is It Good For America?
While debates about Obamacare are waged on behalf of both major political parties, the greatest dissent comes from conservatives and those who support libertarian efforts. People are genuinely concerned about the cost of Obamacare not only in terms of dollars but also in terms of personal liberty and freedoms. The Affordable Care Act mandates a variety of things: Individuals must obtain insurance, insurers have to offer “ten essential benefits” and certain employers have to provide health insurance to full-time workers. These requirements might be seen as a slap in the face to personal freedom. Whether you agree with this assessment or not, conservatives believe wholeheartedly in this ideal and continue to debate the subject despite the fact that the bill has already become law.
When it comes to the Affordable Care Act itself, the text of the bill is lengthy and difficult to understand. Clouded in political jargon, the bill requires professional eyes to sort through the actual guidelines and regulations housed in more than a thousand pages of specialized language. The average American has no idea what the ACA says; to make matters worse, many members of Congress haven’t even read the bill in its entirety. How can a bill that is little understood be put into law effectively? Opponents of the ACA argue that Congress doesn’t have the right to impose a law on the populace that they haven’t read for themselves. Unfortunately, many bills passed throughout the history of the United States have met the same fate. This fact doesn’t make arguments against the ACA less valid, but it does raise questions unrelated to Obamacare.
Those who have read the text of the ACA point out that the bill doesn’t address the specifics of its requirements. Despite its length, the bill addresses healthcare reform on a theoretical level rather than a practical one. One of the greatest goals of Obamacare can be seen as a con: While the ACA seeks to provide healthcare for millions of Americans the new law fails to address the issues surrounding the cost of coverage. America needs healthcare reform, but we need it on all levels. Obamacare works to correct a variety of discrepancies, but the new healthcare laws will need adjustment in order to achieve real reform.
The federal government was created to help ensure smooth transactions between the states, and the states remain sovereign in our specific form of government. This means that states can choose not to participate in certain aspects of Obamacare as determined by the Supreme Court in a ruling on June 28, 2012. Under this ruling, states may choose not to expand Medicaid to millions of uninsured, low-income individuals. States can also choose not to host a Marketplace website and thus force their residents to go through an extra step when applying for healthcare options. Disjointed participation by the states makes Obamacare much more difficult and time-consuming for individuals.
The Impact of the Media on Obamacare’s Reception
Media outlets have a knack for distorting information regardless of which political slant they use, and many people still remain relatively confused about Obamacare thanks to misreported facts about how the new healthcare law works. For instance, Obamacare not only increases consumer protections but also mandates that mental health services be covered under the “ten essential benefits” stipulation. Did you know that? Many people are unaware of the benefits of Obamacare simply because the media insists on muddying the waters when it comes to information. We’ve created this site to help you understand the real benefits as well as the real negatives concerning the Affordable Care Act.
The problem doesn’t stop with misreported information. Media professionals tend to report only the most controversial aspects of any news story in the interest of generating better ratings. This isn’t true of all news sources, but the fact remains that cable news sources need ratings to survive. Controversy breeds interest, and you’re much more likely to find a cable news show running debates on Obamacare than you are to find an objective piece of information on what the ACA mandates in terms of healthcare reform. You can see how this method might create a problem when it comes to a real discussion on the merits of Obamacare.
Problems with Obamacare at the Individual Level
There are several undeniable cons about Obamacare when it comes to personal freedom for individuals and families. For one thing, your choices are limited under the ACA. You can obtain health insurance or pay a fine. Unless you qualify for an exemption, those are your only options. Prior to the implementation of Obamacare, people had the choice to live without insurance. This system didn’t really work for millions of Americans, especially those who wanted coverage but couldn’t afford it. Now, the government forces you to participate by buying insurance or face the penalty fees for non-compliance.
Some argue that this tactic is a violation of a basic American right if not a human one. However, Obamacare only works effectively if people participate in the “individual mandate.” If you don’t participate in 2016, then you will be charged the greater of two and half percent of your income or $695 per uninsured adult and $347.50 per uninsured child in your family when you submit your taxes for the year. This fee will increase each year, and over time the amount could add up to a substantial burden.
Many people wonder whether the high cost of Obamacare means that premiums will increase. The short answer is that premium rates will increase for certain portions of the population, and some people may pay significantly more than others for essentially the same benefits. How is this possible? How “affordable” can the Affordable Care Act be if it specifically increases rates for millions of insured Americans? This is a topic of great concern to many, and there’s no easy answer. Obamacare works on the premise that people contribute to the system according to their means, and people with greater means can afford to contribute more.
Healthy people and young people will also pay more initially because they will use less medical services. Like paying for auto insurance, buying healthcare coverage is an investment into a situation that may never happen. You probably won’t visit a hospital very often in your life, but you need the insurance nonetheless just as you need auto coverage in the unlikely event that you crash your car. The downside to Obamacare is that single people in their late twenties will most likely pay more than $100 for coverage to offset the cost of care for older people or those with chronic conditions.
Obamacare vs. Freedom of Religion
One of the biggest concerns among opponents of the ACA is that they will have to support medical procedures and treatment options that go against their religious beliefs. This is a legitimate concern since the ACA is paid for by taxes. Your tax dollars will most likely go toward treatment options like contraceptives just as your regular tax dollars go toward other government spending that you may not support. Likewise, some people will pay high premiums for coverage they don’t even need such as a young man paying for mammogram screenings. Obamacare promises “ten essential benefits,” but these benefits may not feel beneficial if you never need them.
Have you logged onto your state’s health insurance exchange website since the implementation of Obamacare? If you registered for an account early in the process, then you may have been met with technical difficulties and systems errors that prevented you from using the site. Fortunately, the marketplaces are fully functional as of 2014, but many people have retained a sense of distrust as a result of these technical snafus. Add to this the fact that the Marketplace itself can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to begin. Increased public confusion accounts for a lot of the negativity surrounding Obamacare, but people aren’t entirely wrong to doubt the effectiveness of a new system.
The Affordable Care Act expanded Medicaid benefits to people who may not have qualified under old regulations, but the Supreme Court ruled that states do not have to participate in the expansion. As of 2015, thirty-one states along with the District of Columbia have chosen to expand Medicaid; the rest of the states are operating under the old regulations. This means that there’s a discrepancy in the way that Medicaid is doled out to people with financial need. If you live in a state that chose not to expand Medicaid, then you may not get the coverage you need.
If you participate in Medicare or will be eligible to do so soon, then you may have questions about Obamacare as it relates to Medicare. In some ways, Medicare will improve for millions of seniors by offering reduced prescription costs and access to better preventative care. Unfortunately, Medicare is one of the programs most impacted by the ACA, and it’s not entirely good. The ACA plans to cut Medicare funding by approximately $716 billion in order to reinvest the funding more appropriately. Initially, this massive cut will mean limited resources and short-term ramifications. People who participate in the program will need to check with their local Medicare representatives for additional information on direct impact.
Obamacare Problems for Businesses
Aside from the impact of Obamacare on individuals, businesses will see significant changes when it comes to the way they offer healthcare and the type of coverage that they offer. If you own a small business, then you’ve probably been keeping up with the changes because they affect your livelihood. You may also have noticed that premiums have gone up for your business and that you now have to cover employees in a way that you didn’t have to under old regulations. Under the ACA, businesses with more than fifty full-time employees will have to offer health insurance to full-time workers. This “employer mandate” has a significant financial effect.
When it comes to Obamacare and business, one of the primary concerns for many people is the impact of the ACA on job growth and corporate success. This is a valid concern for several reasons. First, some smaller businesses will be unable to offer insurance to full-time workers even if required to do so by law. Penalty fines for non-compliance may force some small companies to change their practice model or go out of business altogether. Second, several large retailers made headlines early on when they announced that they would be cutting back hours to full-time workers simply to avoid paying penalty fees and smaller businesses were predicted to follow their example. If this practice did become a trend, it hasnt been reported in the media yet. Despite the fact that businesses can receive tax credits for compliance, some businesses will suffer at the outset of Obamacare.
Religion in America has long been fraught with discussions and outright debate, and in 2014 religion came into play in a battle of wills between proponents of the ACA and corporations like Hobby Lobby. The craft retailer represents a variety of companies that object to certain aspects of Obamacare on religious grounds, and as privately held organizations the businesses feel that they have a right to exclude healthcare coverage for treatment that goes against their beliefs. Opponents of Hobby Lobby’s case claim that a business should not be treated as an individual; i.e., the First Amendment and religious freedoms does not protect businesses.
The Supreme Court has upheld Hobby Lobby’s petition to exclude certain contraceptives from the healthcare packages that the company offers to its employees, which means that employees of Hobby Lobby will have to purchase their own contraceptives outside of the company’s benefits packages. Whether you agree with this decision or not, the Supreme Court has made it clear that closely held corporations such as Hobby Lobby do not have to adhere to certain tenets of the ACA because doing so would violate the religious rights of their owners. It remains to be seen what impact this ruling will have on other corporations in the future.
Overcoming the Cons Of Obamacare
Healthcare reform will take time and effort from both sides of the congressional aisle, but the United States has a history of working things out even when those things upset our traditional practices. The goal of the Affordable Care Act is to open the door to healthcare by providing affordable insurance and treatment options to millions of previously uninsured Americans. With such a lofty goal, there are bound to be problems in the beginning that need to be worked through over time. This goal can be achieved as long as Congress, political representatives and the population work together to hammer out the details.