The Affordable Healthcare for America Act has been the subject of heated debate since it passed in Congress by a narrow margin in November of 2009. Although the bill is supposed to insure that all Americans have adequate healthcare, many of the bill’s provisions seem contrary to both capitalism and the constitution. It is currently being challenged in the federal courts.
Americans Must Buy Healthcare Insurance
While the bill provides some incentives for small businesses to pay part of the cost of employee healthcare, Americans who are not covered by employer subsidized insurance will have to purchase healthcare insurance privately or face fines. Buying healthcare insurance from a private carrier is not the same as paying a healthcare tax to the government. While Congress has the constitutional right to levy taxes, the courts are questioning their right to force Americans to buy a product from a private company. While there may be some legal precedents, none is directly on point.
Insurance Companies Must Accept Applicants
Insurance companies determine their rates based on actuarial tables that show the probability that people of a certain age or gender will make a claim. They reserve the right to refuse coverage to individuals with pre-existing medical conditions since these conditions will almost certainly result in claims. The balance between claims paid and premiums collected is fairly delicate and if the government requires health insurers to cover everyone and not to charge different rates based on gender and other salient factors, it could impact the profitability of insurers or cause rates to become prohibitively high.
There Is No Provision for a Standard Policy
The bill does not require health insurers to extend certain types of coverage and it does not include any standards for the coverage provided. Since insurers will be able to determine coverage and policy provisions without government oversight, Americans could find themselves paying a lot more money for a lot less healthcare insurance. Although the bill was supposed to insure that all Americans had access to a high standard of medical care, it is possible that the bill could actually have a negative impact on those Americans who already have private healthcare insurance.
It Is Not National Healthcare
Medicaid and Medicare are healthcare programs that are funded by tax dollars and provide standardized medical coverage to eligible citizens. They are a form of national healthcare insurance. The Affordable Healthcare for Americans Act does not provide a form of national healthcare since it is primarily funded through citizens’ own dollars, not taxes. In short, it is administered by private corporations without direct government oversight and it does not involve any standardized coverage. The concern over the consequences of this law is non-partisan and widespread.
Unless the federal courts make substantial changes to the Affordable Healthcare for Americans Act, all Americans will have to provide themselves with some type of health insurance by 2014. Americans who do not have healthcare insurance should start comparison shopping to find the lowest rates for healthcare policies.