By Bikna Huang
Over the past two days, we have been examining the Affordable Care Act in light of the impending Supreme Court decision on the individual mandate provision. Overall, the issue at hand is how to maintain a for-profit private health insurance system while requiring insurers to essentially return to the community rating system that they had basically abandoned by the 1960s. Earlier this month, President Obama stressed that there were only two ways to fix the health care system, by implementing the individual mandate or a single payer system. The single payer system would be another solution presented by President Obama and the Democrats.
“One way is a single payer plan. Everybody is under a single system like Medicare. The other way is to set up the system in which you don’t have people who are healthy but don’t bother to get health insurance and then we all have to pay for them in the emergency room. That doesn’t work, and so as a consequence we’ve got to make sure that those folks are taking the responsibility seriously – which is what the individual mandate does.” – President Obama
Another solution is Representative Paul Ryan’s plan. Ryan’s proposal, transforms Medicare and creates a premium support plan. This plan will essentially give premium support for senior citizens to choose from varies providers for their Medicare coverage. The goal of this plan is to reform the Medicare system and “to create—a market so robust we can finally begin to control costs.” Under Ryan’s plan, those who do not purchase health insurance will not be penalized.
We have looked at different aspects of Obamacare through this series, focusing primarily on the individual manadate. However, in the broader context, the fate of the individual mandate is simply one piece of a problem that needs to be addressed. The United States is ranked as one of the top nations in the world in terms of its GDP and standards of living; however, this is surprising when the health care system in the United States is ranked thirty-seven. When President Obama took office in 2008, the prospect of health care reform seemed closer than ever and the compromise plan that emerged, the Affordable Care Act, seemed like the solution. But in order to maintain the private system, the individual mandate, proposed in the 1980s by the Heritage Foundation seemed to be the most practical way. There is much to be known about the Affordable Care Act, and the constitutionality of the act is still being decided. What do you think about the individual mandate? Will Obamacare be a push in the right direction for health care reform?
Bikna Huang is an intern with TheFactFile.com who studies at CalPoly in San Luis Obispo, California.