A key provision of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, went into effect on Oct 1. This provision sets up an online marketplace where Americans can compare the costs of various health care policies. This marketplace also tells citizens how much federal assistance for which they qualify.
While the law has already been in effect for roughly three years now, the provision that just went into effect is by far one of the most controversial parts of Obamacare.
Another key part of the provision stipulates that all Americans, with the exception of a few, must have health care coverage by 2014. Those without coverage will be required to purchase coverage, unless it costs them more than eight percent of their annual income on insurance or they are abstaining from medical care for religious reasons. Those people are allowed to apply for a waiver which, if granted, will exempt them from having to purchase coverage.
The enactment of this provision has caused a great deal of backlash from its critics and opponents, but in all honestly that was completely expected. What was not expected was the federal government coming to a screeching halt over it.
Looks like what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object is a government shutdown. However, that is an entirely different issue involving incessant bipartisan bickering and an apparent congressional ineptitude.
On a more positive note, this new provision is very beneficial for young adults. An earlier provision ensured that young people can stay on their parents’ policy until they are 26, which provided many young adults with coverage that they were lacking. This new provision takes it a step further.
There are currently around 16 million young adults in America who do not have health coverage.
Under Obamacare, more than 80 percent of those people will qualify for financial assistance. You also cannot be dropped for getting sick or be denied for having a preexisting condition. It covers regular check-ups, maternal care and mental health care.
Obamacare also ensures much better coverage on pharmaceuticals, because what good is going to the doctor if you cannot afford the medication that will make you better?
The media has made jokes about how Walter White, the protagonist of AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” would not have had to cook meth if only he had health insurance to cover the costs of his cancer treatments. While White’s situation made for an excellent show, let’s be real — they are right. Many people are forced into hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt just to get healthy. That is unacceptable in a nation as wealthy as America.
Whether Obamacare succeeds in the long run or not, and whether or not we even survive this government shutdown, this fact still stands: at least the president was trying to do something for Americans. That is what the government is supposed to do, ensure a certain quality of life for its citizens, regardless of their economic status.