Last week, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) celebrated its second anniversary, and today, the Supreme Court will take up arguments brought by states questioning whether the Federal Government has the right to require individuals to purchase health insurance policies. The key issue is whether this mandate is justified by the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, as the Administration argues.
Ironically, the individual mandate itself is an idea that stems from a 1989 report from the conservative Heritage Foundation. In that report, Stuart Butler (Heritage’s health care expert at the time) argued that under the “Heritage Plan” a mandate was necessary because “[s]ociety does feel a moral obligation to insure that its citizens do not suffer from the unavailability of health care. But on the other hand, each household has the obligation, to the extent it is able, to avoid placing demands on society by protecting itself… A mandate on households certainly would force those with adequate means to obtain insurance protection.” This was, of course, a central element of Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts plan as well as his 2008 defense of this plan; in the 2008 ABC News debate, Governor Romney stated, “Here’s my view: If somebody – if somebody can afford insurance and decides not to buy it, and then they get sick, they ought to pay their own way, as opposed to expect the government to pay their way….And that’s an American principle. That’s a principle of personal responsibility.”
To assist with the complexity of this issue, we have posted a series of videos below from the Alliance for Health Care Reform. The Alliance for Health Care Reform, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group, that according to its mission statement, “does not lobby or take positions on legislation.” In their statement accompanying the release of the videos to coincide with the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, the Alliance for Health Care Reform wrote something near and dear to TheFactFile.com (emphasis added), “Although the Affordable Care Act is two years old today, it’s obvious that millions of Americans don’t understand it. This is a bipartisan problem. So, believing that people should argue about policy but not facts, [The Alliance for Health Care Reform created] videos to help…explain…how the law affects” young adults, small employers, people on Medicare or Medicaid, uninsured with pre-existing conditions and primary care providers. TheFactFile.com found these videos extremely informative and we hope our readers will as well.
YOUNG ADULTS (3:01) featuring Sara Collins, vice president for the Affordable Health Insurance Program at The Commonwealth Fund
SMALL EMPLOYERS (3:40) featuring Terry Gardiner, vice president for policy and strategy at Small Business Majority
PEOPLE ON MEDICARE (3:04) featuring John Rother, president of the National Coalition on Health Care
PEOPLE ON MEDICAID (2:44) featuring Diane Rowland, executive vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation
UNINSURED PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS (2:44) featuring Deborah Chollet, senior fellow at Mathematica Policy Research
PRIMARY CARE PROVIDERS (3:02) featuring Kevin Grumbach, MD, professor and chair of the Dept. of Family and Community Medicine at the Univ. of California, San Francisco