By Patricia Brennan
Health care has been a hotly debated topic, not only in the United States, but also across the world, for many years. It is an issue that is of critical importance to both political parties and has been the subject of countless legislative debates. On Thursday, Nov. 6, Student Porgramming (SPUD) and the politics department co-sponsored “Buyer’s Remorse? The Future of the Affordable Healthcare Act and Healthcare in the United States.” The panel discussion focused on the topic of the Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as “Obamacare.”
The panel featured Michael Cannon, the director of health care policy studies at the Cato Institute, Texas Congressman Michael Burgess and health economist Dr. Robert Book. All three men have spoken publicly against the Affordable Care Act. The liberal magazine The New Republic labeled Michael Cannon as “the single most relentless antagonist of the Affordable Care Act.”
On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, a piece of legislature designed to completely reform health care in America. The intention was to grant Americans access to health care that was both affordable and of high quality. The law was upheld by the Supreme Court on June 28, 2012.
There has been much controversy surrounding many aspects of the Affordable Care Act. For example, many protested the individual mandate, a provision requiring Americans to obtain health care by 2014 or else face a penalty tax. The case against the Affordable Care Act was presented at the panel on Thursday night.
Book debunked many of the myths surrounding health care in general. One such myth was the belief that every other developed nation in the world has universal health care. In the United Kingdom, health care is based on where one lives, meaning those in poorer areas have considerably lower quality health care.
Another myth, according to Book, is the cost of health care.
“We don’t know what health care costs,” Book said.
Michael Cannon was the second speaker. Focusing on the legislative aspect of the Affordable Care Act, he accused President Obama of “breaking his own law for the purpose of hiding the cost of Obamacare.”
Cannon discussed how the bill was passed and how he believes Obama is breaking the law by taxing, borrowing and spending to hide the costs of his health care. He said that although the original statute determined that exchanges would be done by the states, Obama changed the statute so that exchanges would be done through the federal government.
Burgess then went on to discuss more of the history behind the Affordable Care Act from a legislator’s point of view. He said that he never believed the health care bill would ever pass in its current form and he was shocked when it did.
Not everyone disagreed with the Affordable Care Act as vehemently as the panelists who spoke on Thursday night. Setting aside the political and ethical controversy of the Affordable Care Act, biology professor Stephen Slaughter believes some good has come of it.
“I believe that most certainly in the medical profession, certainly the AMA [the American Medical Association] believes that something had to be done. I think it’s a complex problem with a complex solution. I applaud aspects that cover preexisting conditions. I applaud aspects of it that keep your kids’ on your insurance until they’re twenty-six,” Slaughter explained.
Regardless of differing opinions about it, Slaughter pointed out, the Affordable Care Act is “the law of the land.”