In interest of citizens, Supreme Court should rule in favor of healthcare law
April 2, 2012
Filed under Opinion
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Last week, the Supreme Court began hearing arguments for and against the incredibly controversial Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known by some as “Obamacare.”
Although they have come to a decision, it’s estimated we won’t be informed of their decision until June. I hope the decision they made was the right one.
At the center of this issue is whether the government has the ability to require every citizen to purchase insurance. In only justifiable cases would I ever personally agree to granting the government the ability to require me to do something.
This justification comes down to the ideas of guaranteeing economic liberty and preventing financial harm to all. When these issues blend together we get not only a solid argument in favor of, but also an undeniable need for the ACA.
Like many, I thought it inexcusable that insurance companies had the ability to deny individuals because of pre-existing conditions, especially with the countless stories of people being suddenly dropped by providers when they needed the help most.
John Rawls’ Theory of Justice provided a foundation in my thinking that people with pre-existing conditions should be protected through a societal guarantee of medical coverage.
If a person behind Rawls’ Veil of Ignorance were considering the equal right to insurance coverage, and they were unaware of whether they had a pre-existing condition, they would want to live in a just society that protects those who do have such a condition by demanding insurance companies cover them regardless.
For the longest time, the harder part for me to justify was the actual mandate.
The government already requires us to buy car insurance, and that is easily justifiable. It is meant to protect every driver from being unjustly stuck with costly repairs to their vehicles, even if they were not at fault. This would happen if the culprit of the collision was uninsured and simply couldn’t pay for the costs.
But health insurance? That’s a different story entirely. Or is it?
Were the uninsured really hurting others? I was convinced they were not, until I reevaluated my argument. When the uninsured are so sick that they absolutely need medical help, they often end up going to the emergency room.
When they can’t pay the wildly expensive medical costs, who ends up paying? Taxpayers. So it could be argued that citizens are financially harmed by others’ lack of medical insurance.
Covering everyone rids us of this problem.
There’s another justification for the mandate: when a law like the ACA guarantees the right to coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions, the cost of insurance will effectively go up for everyone if this right was guaranteed.
So it seems we get a benefit offset with an injury: people are guaranteed coverage but at the expense of others. This wouldn’t be the case if healthier, previously uninsured people were to help offset the added costs by buying insurance at low risk to companies.
The ACA therefore is a good solution, granting everyone the right to affordable healthcare coverage and preventing the higher costs associated with the action while at the same time eliminating a net financial harm to taxpayers.
It’s a sort of “win, win, win” scenario in which without one part, all of it fails.
The ACA does not solve all our problems, but it is a good start. So that is why every part of the law should be upheld by the Supreme Court: not just for the sake of some, but for the sake of all.