Thursday, April 24, 2014

Counterpoint: Obamacare

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Juan Jaimez and Jed Hackett debate about ObamaCare. (Photo by Sheng Lor/April 26, 2012)
Opinion

By Jed Hackett

For many Americans, disaster can strike when they are faced with a hospital bill that they cannot afford to pay.

There are 43 million Americans without healthcare, either because they cannot afford it, or because they choose not to purchase a healthcare plan. As a result Americans are left with a bill that could leave them penniless and homeless.

But a few years ago the Democrat-dominated Congress passed a landmark bill, ObamaCare. ObamaCare mandated that all Americans maintain a minimal amount of health coverage or face a penalty.

However, now in an election year, a coalition led by Republicans from Florida is spearheading a movement to have the Supreme Court overturn ObamaCare because they claim it is unconstitutional. The Republicans have taken this movement to the Supreme Court for judicial review.

While the Supreme Court will not look at the humane benefits this legislation provides, it’s worthwhile to take note of what this healthcare bill means to millions of Americans: as of 2011, 86 million people received free preventative care, 2.5 million people under the age of 26 have been able to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans in case they get sick, this means the burden of what’s around the corner is lifted off the shoulder of millions of Americans.

Now there are three big issues in the healthcare debate: judicial restraint, individual mandate and religious value.

The Supreme Court’s most basic job is to decide the constitutionality of the actions of the President and the legislation of Congress. Although the judges are supposed to judge only on constitutionality, politics come into play, even though they are supposed to be left out.

When a justice’s position on the Court becomes open, a president will appoint a judge whose rulings may possibly support the party’s ideology. Even though, the justices are supposed to be politically neutral, that’s not always the case.

Nonetheless the review of ObamaCare shouldn’t be a situation where politics come into play; however, this is one where judicial restraint should be applied. There are a few swing justices, Justices Kennedy and Roberts, who, may rule in favor of either side depending on which side makes the most persuasive case, regardless of the party of the President who nominated them.

Now while the whole legislation may be under review, the individual mandate penalty is under particular scrutiny. Individual mandate is the government requirement that all people purchase a good or service, and in the case of ObamaCare, the U.S. government is requiring the American people to have health insurance.

So who’s to say the government has the right to tell its people they must purchase health insurance? Well, the government has that right, but some question if the government has the right to impose a penalty on people who by 2014 do not have insurance. While the government has the right to levy a tax, and none of us seem to argue that right, does the government have the right to impose a penalty? That’s where the Republicans are arguing this healthcare law is unconstitutional; the government holds no right to impose a penalty on its people for not having an insurance policy.

Nowhere in the Constitution does it say the government cannot impose a penalty. And why can’t they impose a penalty? If people do not have insurance, they are breaking the law. We seem to have a number of fines for breaking the law: $1000 for littering, $250,000 for piracy, $90 for seatbelt violations. So why can’t the government impose a fine for not having insurance since it is against the law?

Now the other big card at play here is religion. Now what does religion have to do in a fight about having insurance or not? Simple, how can Christians ignore what their Savior was a champion for, helping the poor and those who cannot care for themselves?

Yes, church and state are separate, but that doesn’t mean that the members of government shouldn’t apply their religious philosophy to their work and help provide for the poor.

This healthcare law is essentially one giant work of charity by the government. ObamaCare is supposed to allow for the poor to have an equal chance at healthcare, so if anything goes wrong, they won’t be left out on the streets.

How can we, as a people, watch as those who cannot afford health insurance get turned away from life-saving treatment, and those who can afford it but cannot have it because of a pre-existing condition? It’s clear that Obama introduced his legislation as a way to provide access to medical care for all Americans.

Was Christ not the healer of the lepers, defender of the meek, and inspiration to all? I don’t think Christ would approve of the government overturning a law that supports the effort to provide healthcare to all.

I doubt that we, as human beings, could live in peace knowing that because of a party’s stance against a “Socialist” policy, parents with a child with cancer would have to choose between saving their child or paying their house payment.

Nor would Christ approve of denying a young adult, who just came off his parents’ insurance, a life-saving kidney transplant.

Human compassion would not let us sleep at night if we condemned an elderly patient to spend the end of her days suffering the effects of Alzheimer’s.

It’s clear that ObamaCare should stay in effect, not only is it constitutional, but to repeal it would mean certain disaster for many Americans. Since the law is constitutional, in my opinion, why would we repeal it?

An overturn of this law may cause catastrophe for millions of Americans. The Supreme Court won’t have a ruling until June.

If you would like to send me comments you can follow me on Twitter.

Do not forget to send in comments on Facebook.

To read the Counter-point article on Obamacare, click here.

Editor: Hannah Vehrs

Posted by: Taylor Merritt

Final Editor: Vanessa Felix

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