The New Healthcare Bill Passed by Congress
by Susan White
There are some things in life that you know for certain are worth rejoicing; unfortunately, the line is not so clear cut in most others. Take the new healthcare bill recently passed by Congress – is it a boon or a bane for Americans? If it is so good, why did all the Republicans in Congress and even a few Democrats vote against it? Is it because they resist change per se or because they feel the bill is not going to be advantageous to the people of this country?
Let’s take the positives first – from popular opinion, there seems to be only one, the fact that all Americans must have health insurance. Coverage is compulsory, so much so that if you’re not insured by the year 2014, you could end up paying a penalty that starts at 1 percent of your income or $95, whichever is lower, and increases for every year you go without insurance. Also, if your income is low, you’re eligible for various subsidies.
But on the negative side, it’s more about the government playing Big Brother and putting its fingers in all the pies of its citizens rather than addressing their healthcare needs. To give you a few downers in a nutshell, the bill, which is too long and verbose for most people to understand or even read fully, ensures that everyone is on a government plan and imposes restrictions on care. Also, the reforms proposed by the bill are expected to cost around $940 billion over a period of 10 years, money that will have to come out of the taxpayers’ pockets.
The biggest grouse that people have against the bill is that it gives the government control over many aspects of healthcare that are right now decided by patients or their family and friends. Most people are even questioning the right of the government to impose a penalty on those who choose not to have health insurance. Under the new law, all Americans must buy health insurance or be prepared to pay a penalty of 2.5 percent of their gross income. A lawsuit filed in Virginia by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli asserts that this condition violates the Constitution’s Commerce Clause.
According to the Commerce Clause, the US Congress has the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations, among several States and with Indian tribes. District Court Judge Henry Hudson has ruled that the lawsuit can proceed because the court has to decide if “the issue of requiring an American to purchase a product or be penalized” is constitutional or not. In addition to this, the Virginia General Assembly has also passed its own legislation which exempts state residents from the federal coverage mandate.
Only time will tell if the new healthcare bill will serve its purpose – that of ensuring that all Americans have health insurance. But how much money will be spent in the process and how many lives will be adversely affected, there’s no way to put a figure to these issues.
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Note from Debbie: This is the first of what I hope will be many guest posts here at Right Truth by Susan White. Please leave her a comment and let her know what you think.