By J. N. Bruns
When the healthcare debate reached its climax in 2009, I stood with the 51% of Americans who supported what was then-called the “public option.”
The public insurance option was a proposed health insurance plan, similar to the health plan offered to federal employees, and could be offered by the federal government where it would compete against plans offered by private insurance companies.
The public option would have driven down insurance premiums as it would have the most insured under one plan, causing risk to drop significantly within the risk pool.
This change in the healthcare system would have been so competitive that it would have caused the collapse of privately held insurance.
Republicans foresaw this as an economic crisis and wagered a compromise with Congressional Democrats who favorued publicly offered insurance in addition to an insurance mandate.
After over a year of debate and disagreement, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was signed by President Obama on March 23, 2010.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) upheld the Affordable Care Act in a 5-4 decision that was delivered by Chief Justice John Roberts who, in a surprising move, sided with the left of the court.
Supporters of Obamacare, such as myself, breathed a sigh of relief to learn that the bill that has provided 3.1 million young adults the right to remain covered through their parents’ insurance plans, 20.4 million women coverage for preventative reproductive health exams, and $3.2bn in prescription drug savings for those on Medicare would remain in effect.
Though there are still misgivings on both the left and right about Obamacare, it is certain today that the PPACA is the best thing for America as it has been tested time and time again by compromise.
The bill has allowed those with pre-existing conditions to qualify and become insured for insurance while prohibiting insurers from dropping policyholders when they become sick.
The bill has also ended lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits, like hospital stays. In the months to come, the bill is going to end co-pays for women’s preventative services, limit deductibles, and make healthcare available to all Americans who earn less than 113% of the poverty line.
But Obamacare is not just great for what it does; it is also great for what it does not do.
The PPACA will not raise taxes on those earning less than $200,000 a year and though it will end the abusive practices that have made private insurance so exorbitantly lucrative, private insurance will remain intact.
Obamacare is making healthcare accessible to all Americans meaning there is a greater demand for doctors, nurses, and clinicians as well as big pharmaceutical manufacturers who provide the prescriptions needed to treat the newly covered.
The PPACA is not only an acknowledgement that private, corporate organizations have a place in healthcare; rather, it is a sanction that brings larger insurers into the healthcare solution through the understanding that even those who earn more than $200,000 deserve to benefit through Obamacare. And they will.