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Obamacare is the common term for the massive health care industry law proposed by President Obama that was recently passed. The law is an extremely polarizing issue, with its supporters and detractors seemingly equally passionate. What cannot be denied is the fact that the law does have several very serious potential problems.
*Government Rationing. Under Obamacare, choosing the ideal treatment for a particular condition will no longer be a decision made solely between a doctor and a patient. Instead, the government will be able to decide which treatments it considers to be “effective” in a particular situation, taking into consideration factors like a patient’s age and health history. Although the program is theoretically supposed to limit health care costs, its long term effect will be to ration treatments to those the government feels deserve them.
*Economic Burden. The sheer scale of a health care program that includes every single adult United States citizen means that its cost will be massive. This cost will of necessity be passed along to the taxpayers, a drastic overall expense increase that could be particularly problematic in light of recent economic downturns. Individuals who have to spend more money on taxes will have less money to spend on consumer goods and services, which is the primary factor in improving the economy. Since more purchases from consumers mean more job availability, higher taxes due to Obamacare could well diminish any potential economic recovery.
*Medicare Limitation. The term “death panels” was widely used during debate over Obamacare’s passage to describe the possibility that government officials would decide when to stop treating elderly individuals. Although program supporters vehemently denied that the law included such as thing as death panels, the law does mean that individuals who depend on Medicare for medication and other treatments they need to stay alive could find themselves suddenly denied Medicare coverage for these treatments because they cost too much in light of the person’s age and deteriorating health. Whatever the label applied to the program, the result is still that the government now has the right to decide when to let someone die by ceasing to provide expensive treatment.
*Mandated Coverage. The Obamacare program mandates that all United States citizens must get health insurance coverage. Anyone who does not get coverage will be forced to pay a fine in the form of an increased tax rate. This removes the freedom of choice from private citizens in regards to their personal finances and health decisions.
*Privacy Issues. If the government is to make decisions about what treatment and medications to provide for different individuals, it will need to maintain a staggering amount of personal information about those people’s medical history, health conditions and other topics. This is information that once was confidential between a person and her doctor. Many individuals are very uncomfortable about the prospect of sharing every detail of their lives with the government, even if the government claims that it will not share this information with any other organizations.
*Wait Times. As was previously mentioned, it will likely become difficult to get some patients approved for expensive surgeries and other medical procedures. However, even people who do receive approval for these types of procedures will likely face extremely long wait times before actually receiving them due to the massive total expense of the program. This has already been seen in nations like Canada that have implemented similar programs.
*Universal Coverage Drawbacks. Since the Obamacare program mandates coverage for all citizens, and removes pre-existing condition exclusions, individuals who take very good care of themselves physically and are therefore in good health will wind up carrying the burden for people who may be obese, alcoholic, heavy smokers or who have made other poor health decisions. This type of universal program unintentionally punishes people who are healthy and rewards those who are unhealthy.