To Replace or Not to Replace: The ObamaCare Question

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In the light of the recent Republican wins in the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the White House, one hot button issue has been a point of contention for both sides of the aisle: healthcare.

President Barack Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as the ACA or just ObamaCare) in 2010 during his first term as president. This new law was incredibly complicated, with 960 pages in the original law, and many more in associated laws, it contains a few key points:


  1. A healthcare mandate that requires you to have health insurance or pay a fine
  2. Forcing private insurance companies to not discriminate based on gender
  3. Requiring private insurance companies to allow people to stay on their parent’s plan until they turn 26
  4. Forcing larger companies to insure their employees
  5. Requiring private insurance companies to insure those with pre-existing conditions

These seem like necessary protections and rights to protect the common man from the big, bad insurance companies, right? Let’s dig a little deeper.

ObamaCare Refutation One

The first point can be addressed with a question. The question is: Would you see it as morally acceptable to take someone’s money if they do not purchase food? This is analogous

because food is a need just the same as healthcare is. Most rational people would say that this is not acceptable because to take someone’s means of obtaining something is not generally a good idea for how to encourage them to do so.

ObamaCare Refutation Two

The second point seems logical and most reasonable people may agree to it at face value, but when you consider the driving forces, you may reconsider. Women are the only sex that can get pregnant, which requires a lot of medicine and care throughout a nine-month period. Healthcare needs of women that are unmatched by men cause women, on average, to use more medicine and healthcare.

In the market if one group requires more of something, they are expected to pay accordingly. This principle can be applied to the sexes in healthcare, with women being the group with higher demand for products. They are, in turn, expected to pay for them. Just because two groups now cannot be charged differently based on a differentiating factor does not mean the cost of the products being used will go down, and one group will end up paying for something they do not use.

ObamaCare Refutation Three

The third point seems quite arbitrary in terms of the cutoff age, but it looks like a nice gesture. Insurance companies can no longer force anyone under 26 off of their parent’s plan. This may seem good for the young adult and their family because their plan is cheaper than two separate plans.

Their insurance needs remain constant however, and someone else will be paying the price for the healthcare used. This cost is typically spread out across the rest of the market, contributing to a national rise in insurance rates.

ObamaCare Refutation Four

The fourth point is complicated, so let’s delve into it. This one can’t be refuted right? It’s a step closer to the ensuring of healthcare as a right for pete’s sake! Well, it’s actually more nuanced than that.

If you accept The Free Dictionary’s legal definition of civil rights, things become clearer —

Civil Rights are those that belong to every citizen of the state, They include the rights of property, marriage, protection by law, freedom to contract, trial by jury, and the like.”

The key here is “freedom to contract”, which this mandate violates. If you employ fifty or more people, you are required by law to pay for your employees’ insurance.

This means that a third party, government, is interfering in a contract it has no business in. If an employee and employer decide on a salary and benefits that satisfy both of them, they should be free to engage in that contract. This freedom is obstructed by the mandate to provide insurance because the money required to fill this obligation has to come from somewhere.

It will most likely come from elsewhere in the contract, creating an entirely new agreement which neither party really wants. Another reason this policy is harmful is the cost of insurance. This mandate combined with other parts of ObamaCare has raised the price of insurance. When you have to afford this artificially highly priced insurance to fifty or more people, that can put a drain on your company’s capital, and assist in the economic stagnation or downfall of a nation.

ObamaCare Refutation Five

The final point is, perhaps, the most well-known and best-supported of ObamaCare. Prior to ObamaCare, it was difficult for those with pre-existing conditions to obtain health insurance: why? Before answering this, you must first consider the definition of insurance. Insurance is protection against potential unexpected losses.

When applied to healthcare, you can see why coverage of those with pre-existing conditions is problematic. If you have a condition which makes you more susceptible to a loss, then that loss is not unexpected. When you purchase health insurance with a pre-existing condition in order to pay for future losses you can more easily foresee, you are not purchasing health insurance, but attempting to pay less for something that is more likely to happen.

This is not insurance, and it actually defeats the purpose of it. This is because insurance companies are then “insuring” people who are more likely to use their policies. Insurance companies are then less inclined to offer good plans because people are now more likely to use these plans. This results is “insurance” really becomes paying for medicine and healthcare outright, which requires more money, increasing the price of insurance.

The economics are clear: ObamaCare needs to go, and a free-market approach must be taken.

Thinking critically, it is difficult to see what parts of this law are so attractive to some. Republican Representatives seemed fixated on replacing it with a new plan containing components from ObamaCare to appease democrats. To this I say: do not what pleases others, but what is right, and ObamaCare clearly needs to go.

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Thomas Searl is a High School Sophomore residing in Kansas. An avid seeker of truth, Thomas enjoys reading, studying history and discussing and writing about history, politics, philosophy, news and economics. He is somewhat of a libertarian/conservative who actively looks for idealogical challenges to his worldview.


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