By Peter Baofu, Ph.D.
The current public uproar over the implementation of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act in America reveals how much corrupt the new law becomes, and the word "corrupt" here means something "wrong" or "improper."
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law a federal statute known as "the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)," also known as "the Affordable Care Act (ACA)," or "ObamaCare" in short. The official "claim" of ObamaCare is three-fold, namely, (a) to improve the "quality" of health insurance, (b) to decrease "the uninsured rate" for a more universal health care for everyone, and (c) to reduce the "costs" of healthcare.
But there are numerous problems with ObamaCare since its implementation in the last months or so, to the point that the current results contradict or negate all of the three main goals of ObamaCare (as cited above). There are five main reasons for this corruption of ObamaCare, as explained below.
(1) The Oppression to Penalize People for Being Uninsured
The first reason for the corruption of ObamaCare has to do with its "socialist"-oriented mandate to force people to buy health insurance plans, so that no one is allowed to opt out. Under ObamaCare, in order to decrease "the uninsured rate" for a more universal health care, every American citizen is forced to buy a health insurance plan, like one of the four health insurance plans known as "bronze," "silver," "gold" and "platinum."
Those who refuse to do so will be subject to penalties under the new statute. For instance, by 2015, "the penalty imposed by the IRS will jump to $325 per adult and $162.50 per child up to $975 per family, then more than doubles in 2016 and beyond," as reported by Eric Pianin for The Fiscal Times on November 19, 2013.
Precisely here, ObamaCare, right from its beginning, encountered a lot of opposition and has much polarized American politics ever since, to the extent that "partisan gridlock is worse than ever" (contrary to his pledge to reduce it during his presidential campaigns), because he used a procedural trick (the notorious "congressional recess") to force his health care reform proposal through Congress without a single Republican vote and without the support of the majority of the American public at the time, so his "health-care reform...has become a prime source of rancor," as it remains so today, as reported by The Economist on September 01, 2012. In fact, the rise of the Tea Party in recent years has much to do with this, although there are other causes too.
In a new Washington Post-ABC News poll in late November of 2013, "by almost 2 to 1, Americans oppose the individual mandate, with more than half the respondents strongly opposing it," as reported by Eric Pianin for The Fiscal Times on November 19, 2013.
(2) The Broken Promise to Let People Keep the Health Care Plan that They Already Have
The second reason for the corruption of ObamaCare has to do with his "lie" to the American people that they can keep the health care plan that they already have.
In the last few years, "President Barack Obama has publicly promised at least 36 times since 2008 that his health care reform plan, known as ObamaCare, would not cause anyone who liked their present health insurance to lose it," as reported by David Rutz for The Washington Free Beacon on November 5, 2013.
But the American people now find out the hard untruth (the broken promise), when their current health plans are cancelled because they do not meet the requirements under ObamaCare, which has come into effect since October 01, 2013.
Even his fellow Democrat, the former President Bill Clinton, criticized Obama when he said that the president should keep his promise to the American people on health law and "let them keep what they've got," in an interview by Ozy.com on November 12, 2013.
In face of this public uproar, Obama then made another promise in the week later that "people who have lost their old insurance will be allowed to get it back" (only for one year), but this promise is all the more empty, since, as the British magazine The Economist rightly pointed out on November 23, 2013, "his announcement last week that people who have lost their old insurance will be allowed to get it back is a sham: he has given insurers neither the time nor the incentive to recreate the policies he previously ordered them to ditch. He should stop making empty promises,..."
(3) The Deception about the Lower Premiums under ObamaCare
The third reason for the corruption of Obamacare has to do with his deception about the lower costs of health insurance premiums under the new law.
During his presidential campaigns, Obama "in speech after speech...has vowed that he will lower the country's health care costs enough to 'bring down premiums by $2,500 for the typical family,'" which, to his critics, is "one of the most audacious promises in a campaign," as reported by Kevin Sack for The New York Times on July 23, 2008. In the past few years, he repeated the same promise again and again that "his signature health law, the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. ObamaCare, would reduce insurance premiums by $2,500 for the typical family," and these speeches are now shown on YouTube as compiled by Naked Emperor News of TheBlaze.com (see, for example, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_o65vMUk5so).
But now, the American people find out the painful truth that their health care premiums have gone up considerably since the new law came into effect in October of 2013. For instance, the story about the mother of Nicole L. Hopkins is heart-breaking, since, in a post titled "The Poor Get Poorer" on Facebook (11/29/13), her mother wrote: "I just received a notice: 'In order to comply with the new healthcare law, your current health plan will be discontinued on December 31, 2013.' Currently my premium is $276 and it is a stretch for me to cover. The new plan...are you ready...projected new rate $415.20. Now I can't afford health insurance."
As Hopkins wrote to The Wall Street Journal on November 20, 2013, "the unaffordable ObamaCare-compliant plan that her insurer offered in a Sept. 26 letter is not what makes my mother's story noteworthy. Countless individually insured Americans have received such letters; many are seeing more radical increases in premiums and deductibles."
House Speaker John Boehner had enough of this and thus criticized Obama in November of 2013: "What we're seeing here is a pattern of broken promises from the administration. You know, the one is, well, 'if you like your health care plan you can keep it. Then secondly what the president said is that, you know, if we pass Obamacare, premiums are going to go down. And I think what many people are seeing is that premiums are going right through the roof. Listen, it's just one more reason why this health care law needs to be scrapped now," as reported by John Parkinson for ABC News on November 19, 2013.
(4) The Exemption of Some Privileged Groups from the New Law
The fourth reason for the corruption of ObamaCare has to do with the exemption of some privileged groups from the new law.
For instance, under the new law, there is a double standard to allow those powerful folks in Congress (e.g., Senators, House Representatives, their staffs, etc.) and the Executive Branch (e.g., the President, the Vice-President, their staffs, etc.) to be exempt from the law (if they prefer to opt out) or to receive generous subsidies (if they want to participate).
This is so, because "under behind-the-scenes pressure from members of Congress in both parties, President Obama used the quiet of the August recess to personally order the Office of Personnel Management, which supervises federal employment issues, to interpret the law so as to retain the generous congressional benefits" (or special treatments) in regard to this exemption, as reported by John Fund for the National Review on September 16, 2013.
In other words, "the Office of Personnel Management, the government's HR department, decided the government would provide [congressional] staffers with a subsidy roughly equivalent to what they've been receiving. While it's technically true staffers have not been exempted from the law, as some Republicans claimed, staffers have been provided a privilege that is not written into the law" -- and even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, "one of the biggest public supporters of the Affordable Care Act, has reportedly decided that some of his staff should be exempted from the new law," as reported by Eric Pfeiffer for Yahoo News on December 04, 2013.
Outraged by this double standard under the law, U.S. Congressman Tom Reed in New York proposed a legislation to repeal "the ObamaCare exemption for Members of Congress, congressional staff, and members of the Executive Branch including the President and Vice President" in September of 2013, but this bill has not been passed.
(5) The Coercion to Force People Buy Specific Insurance Plans that They Do not Need or Want
And the fifth reason for the corruption of ObamaCare has to do with the coercion to force people buy "specific" insurance plans that they do not need or want.
For instance, under the new law, every American citizen is forced to buy one of the four specific health insurance plans known as "bronze," "silver," "gold" and "platinum," (if they cannot show to have an alternative plan which meets the new standards), but these plans often either do not offer what people specifically want or offer them what they do not really need.
Here is an illustration: "all adults" are required to buy insurance plans which mandate "pediatric vision benefits, even if they don't have kids, but parents can't take their daughter to an expensive children's hospital if she gets really sick. Everybody gets 'free' preventive checkups with no copays, but not treatment for a complex illness from specialists at an academic medical center," as reported by the Wall Street Journal on November 29, 2013.
In this way, ObamaCare rejects these old health insurance plans as "substandard" (in order to favor the four specific ones under the new law), because, as the report in the Wall Street Journal went on to thus explain: "Mr. Obama and his liberal allies call the old plans 'substandard,' but he doesn't mean from the perspective of the consumers who bought them. He means people were free to choose insurance that wasn't designed to serve his social equity and income redistribution goals. In his view, many people must pay first-class fares for coach seats so others can pay less and receive extra benefits," even if they do not need or want the first-class seats, by analogy.
For this reason, the report in the Wall Street Journal predicted that the public uproar over ObamaCare would continue, even if the ObamaCare website glitches were eventually fixed.
These five reasons for the corruption of ObamaCare as explained above are illustrative, not exhaustive, of course. But the important point to remember here is that "the Affordable Care Act (ACA)" neither offers "affordable" care for the majority of Americans (because the premiums have gone up, not down) nor provides better "quality" health care for them (because people are forced to buy specific health insurance plans which they do not need or want). In addition, ObamaCare does not ensure "universal" health care for all (because some people and states are outraged by its different problems aforediscussed and decide to opt out, even in the face of penalties -- or others cannot register because of the website glitches).
And most importantly, ObamaCare's "socialist"-oriented mandate to coerce people to be insured and to buy specific insurance plans that they do not want or need contradicts one very important spirit of being an "American," that is, the individual freedom for one to "choose" and accept the subsequent "self-responsibility" for one's choice. In this sense, ObamaCare becomes UnAmericanCare.
So now a good question to ask here is: What then is the solution to these five problems (as discussed above)? Well, a better (alternative) solution may well be the simpler use of federal revenues to subsidy those who are sick but cannot afford to pay, but without burdening and oppressing the majority of the American population in the way that ObamaCare does.
But this requires the repeal of ObamaCare, which is easier said than done.
Dr. Peter Baofu is the author of 64 books, all of which provide a visionary challenge to conventional wisdom in the social sciences, the formal sciences, the natural sciences, and the humanities, with the aim for a unified theory of everything -- together with numerous visions of the mind, nature, society, and culture in future history. For more info about his visions about the future of equality and health care, see his books titled "The Future of Post-Human Health Care" (2013), "Beyond Nature and Nurture" (2006), "Beyond Capitalism to Post-Capitalism" (2005), "Beyond Democracy to Post-Democracy" (2004), and "The Future of Capitalism and Democracy" (2002). His email is .
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