‘Obamacare’ raises many questions

“When you enlist Hollywood to help you try and convince America that something’s good, there’s some fundamental flaws,” said senior Colin Smith.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, informally known as Obamacare, currently treads water. With the House’s vote to defund it, plus lack of support from young adults, it may sink instead of swim.

Keeping their heads up, the Obama administration has focused on promoting the act among our generation, hoping we will become the driving force for pushing the act through.

“(Targeting young people) makes sense for both fiscal and political reasons,” said first-year Riva Fairhall. “We’re the activists. If you want anything done, it’s going to come from our generation.”

A number of these young “activists” are already sold on the pros of the bill.

“I have a lot of friends who get really, really cheap or free healthcare and birth control that didn’t have it before,” said sophomore English major Fiona Lloyd.

Some accept the pros, but also see a few  cons.

“For a lot of young, (disenfranchised) women … some components that apply to contraceptives are really important,” said senior community and justice studies major Jodie-Ann Geddes. “But I think often times we have policies that are meant to represent people while not providing what people really need.”

Pros and cons aside, there is hope for the bill. For some, its goal to provide affordable, quality health insurance is a bright light just out of reach at the end of a long tunnel of political turmoil.

“I’ve seen so many family and friends without insurance over the years,” said Kathryn Walker, Learning Commons tutor. “It’s going to be a good thing once everything works out; we just have to get through all of the logistics.”

While Congress fights through the political chaos the act has instigated, the ACA’s policies have already taken a toll on hospitals.

“A lot of hospitals and a lot of private practices are firing nurses, cutting their hours or shutting down due to (Obamacare),” said Office of Student Leadership and Engagement intern Megan Stern ‘13. “There needs to be more focus on how to have universal healthcare reform and not cause people to lose their jobs for this ‘universal good,’ when the whole idea is that everybody should be able to have a job in the country and be able to go home and support their families.”

Still, it would be unwitting not to ask: is the Affordable Care Act really to blame?

“There is probably pressure on Obamacare because they are putting pressure on insurance companies to control the cost, but hospitals are large and sometimes inefficient institutions,” said Assistant Professor of Economics Natalya Shelkova.

To my profound distress, as it so often is with politics, the answer is neither yes nor no. Frankly, I have no black-or-white opinion on this topic. The exact effectiveness of the ACA is gray, gray, gray, which makes overall evaluation of it absolutely maddening.

However, one thing is certainly in need of reform: politicians’ approach to the act.
If politicians spent more time working through the flaws in the Affordable Care Act instead of playing the blame game, more young adults would be convinced to get on board with the act.

For now, we’re not convinced the act is the ideal universal healthcare system. The concept is there, but far from perfect and could use tweaking before widely implemented as the ultimate solution.

“(Medicine) is an inelastic good from a microeconomic perspective — you have to have it,” said Adam Pearman ‘09. “Since it’s such an inelastic good, we have to be able to collectively bargain for it, which I think the (Obama) administration failed in.”

If you invest in the Affordable Care Act, a horde of factors like your income, age and lifestyle will come into play. But at this point, it seems up to Lady Luck whether you sink or swim.

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