What’s Left: Let the Democratic Process Work



Thomas McGarrity

Over the course of three days this week, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of the healthcare reforms ratified by President Obama during his presi-dency. The potential for the reforms to be successful has been readily debated since the first reforma-tion’s inception. “Obamacare” is a name employed by critics of President Obama’s efforts to reform the healthcare system. They perceive these efforts as a sweeping overhaul of a system that only adds to the increasing financial debt of the country. Those who oppose the reforms are concerned that they will give the federal government too much control over personal health care decisions and benefits that will not be able to provide superior personalized patient care.

This controversy began during Obama’s presidential election campaign in 2008, when he stated that his campaign promised to create a government program that would extend health insurance coverage to everyone. Obama made it clear that it was time for both the citizens and the leaders of the United States, who make up our nation’s Congress, to have access to the same medical cover-age. Critics began attacking this government health insurance program, which ultimately began the “President Obama is an advocate of socialism” craze that has swept our nation. These critics, many of them United States legislators, did not seem to object to their own government-sponsored health care when it benefited them. Pretty ironic.

In 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was adopted into law. It proposed a so-lution, seen by many critics as a “socialist decree,” that would provide nearly everyone in the United States with some form of health care by 2014. Soon after this adoption, 21 states filed suits against the action because they claimed that their citizens were being forced to purchase government-ap-proved health insurance, and that this was unconstitutional. The “individual mandate” has been the law’s most controver-sial aspect, a requirement that promotes non-discrimination for all people regardless of pre-existing conditions or high medical costs.

The Act was designed to reduce healthcare costs by mak-ing services available to the 32 million United States citizens who currently cannot afford insurance. These people are reg-ularly forced to use a hospital emergency room as their pri-mary care physician, which unnecessarily increases costs for everyone. Additionally, many inequitable health insurance practices are no longer allowed. For example, insurance com-panies can no longer deny children coverage for pre-existing conditions, and, by 2014, all adults will be provided with this advantage, too. Similarly, insurance companies are no longer allowed to drop anyone from coverage once they get sick. For those people who cannot afford insurance or have pre-existing conditions that inhibit a healthcare plan that works for them, this law is a blessing.

With the 2012 Presidential Election in sight, Obama’s largest domestic achievement is being cast in a gloomy spot-light. This has been an easy target for the potential Republi-can candidates who attack it constantly. The court’s decision will be decidedly important to Ameri-cans and to a president seeking re-election in November. If the Supreme Court spurns the law, Obama’s opponents will claim victory for the Republican Party and argue that Obama mishandled his signature legislative achievement.

President Obama’s healthcare reformation was adopted so that less-advantageous citizens would not have to worry about whether or not they could get attentive medical care if any emergency occurred. It is essential to keep in mind that this reformation happened during a period in United States history that will eternally be recalled as a time of economic despair, riddled with housing foreclosures and job losses. The Republican presidential candidates criticize this plan because it is an easy topic to condemn when speaking to a crowd of voters who do not fully understand the positive gains that the reform could bear. Voters don’t recognize this because they have not seen any immediate reparation.

Change is difficult, but necessary for all Americans’ healthcare. Any person who can publicly communicate their opinions can sway the “quick fix” outlook ingrained in our country’s society today. The Supreme Court’s ultimate decision will be a monumental one. Essentially, all power that Congress holds in the country’s decision making will lose credibility if they turn down the law, and will make citizens question the democratic values that are perceived by them as the cornerstone of our nation and its success. If the United States is a truly democratic nation, then the government should let the democratic process work. If you do not approve of President Obama’s job as the leader of our country, then vote him out of office, but do not vote him out in haste because you are misinformed.

Contact Thomas McGarrity at [email protected]