Healthcare bill passes amid controversy

Democrats have recently finalized Barack Obama’s healthcare reform bill, implementing an idea on which Obama built his 2008 campaign. The measure has been met with mixed reactions. The bill is anticipated to provide medical coverage to at least 30 million people who are currently uninsured.

According to The New York Times, passage of the healthcare bill is historic. Obama succeeded in passing healthcare reform where President Clinton failed.

Republicans disagree, however, saying that the bill couldn’t be historic because it passed without a single Republican vote – causing outrage among the party. Republicans have vowed to repeal the new law, which Obama has said will take 10 years to fully implement.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, at least 14 states are taking measures to sue the federal government, saying the bill unconstitutionally forces states to provide healthcare to its residents. Following the bill’s passage, some members of congress received death threats and their offices were vandalized.

The bill is estimated to cost taxpayers $938 billion and allows those aged 26 and younger to be added to their parents’ insurance policies if they are in school or reside in their parents’ home. Some in the medical field question what the bill will really cost taxpayers.

Dr. Richard Sater, a High Point-based neurologist and former treasurer of Cornerstone Healthcare, told The Guilfordian he did not feel the bill truly represented what actual medical providers would have to charge patients. Sater explained that the government bases the cost of the bill on what medical costs were in 2002, failing to incorporate the impact of inflation.

“Because of the bills lack of consideration of our rising overhead costs, some doctors may be forced to stop taking Medicare or simply go into early retirement,” said Sater.

Staff Sergeant Jeffery Jarvis of the U.S. Army Reserves, a first year, feels there shouldn’t be so much dissent on making insurance a legal requirement. “We are required to have car insurance,” said Jarvis. Adding, “our health is more important than our cars, so I don’t understand why emphasis is being put on the idea we’ll have to have health insurance – the need for health insurance is more important.”

Author and MIT Linguistics professor Noam Chomsky told The Guilfordian that most of the public opposition to the bill is because the bill gives away too much to the insurance and drug companies.

“Our medical system relies on a virtually unregulated privatized system,” said Chomsky. “The public has long wanted to change that, and still does, but the government is too much in the pocket of the financial and pharmaceutical industries. This bill takes a tiny step.”

It is still unclear what the reform package means for North Carolina. Chrissy Pearson, press secretary for Governor Bev Perdue, told The Guilfordian in a phone interview that it would take some time to fully understand the 2,074-page bill.

A press release issued by Perdue’s office said, “We do know this: more of our children will have health insurance, no citizen will be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions and America will have a renewed emphasis on ‘well care’ instead of only ‘sick care.’ Time will tell, but I am hopeful these changes will mean a healthier and better cared-for nation.