The lack of health care for millions of Americans is often cited as one of the largest challenges that faces America today. In 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, now commonly known as ObamaCare, in an attempt to solve this problem.
However, the law has been met with continuous criticism that began even before it became federal policy. The stickiest point of debate is the individual mandate portion of the law that requires all Americans by 2014 to have some form of health insurance, which would require individuals to purchase insurance if they do not have it, or face an annual fine of $695.
While supporters of the law believe that the mandate is integral to the function of the law, opponents say that the federal government does not have the power to force individuals to buy insurance. This debate has come all the way to the Supreme Court, which could strike the law down, keep only portions of it, or keep it in its entirety.
We at The Olympian, in a nearly unanimous decision, believe that the Supreme Court should uphold the act in its entirety. Access to health care should be available for everyone, and for that reason we believe the law should remain in effect.
Universal access to health care, regardless of the affordability of such care, appeals to us at The Olympian as something that is morally correct: after all, everyone will become sick at some point, so why should the ability to recover depend on one’s income level?
It is for this reason, then, that all parts of the law, including the individual mandate, should be kept, as the law might not work if this portion is struck down. The law prevents insurance companies from dropping individuals due to sickness or pre-existing conditions, so if the mandate is struck down, then companies would be forced to insure sick individuals who have high medical costs, while healthy individuals (who have low medical costs) who do not need insurance could simply continue to live uninsured. Thus, the removal of the mandate could damage the profits of insurance companies by increasing the number of unhealthy clients.
Another argument in favor of the law is that individuals are forced to pay taxes with which they disagree all the time. The $695 fee for lacking insurance is simply another one of these taxes, and thus should not cause controversy.
A small minority of The Olympian opposes the plan on the grounds that it should be a right to choose whether to buy or decline health insurance, and on the grounds that forcing individuals to buy insurance infringes on the rights granted to us in the Constitution. It is also possible that individuals could take advantage of low or no-cost health insurance that might result from the plan.
A vast majority of The Olympian, however, believes that the law should be kept on the basis that it will bring America a step closer towards the ideal of universal health care that is independent of income.