The Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, is without a doubt the most controversial law passed in the United States within the last two decades.
Signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2010, the goal of the legislation is to provide health care to roughly 48 million Americans who are currently not covered by insurance.
The Affordable Care Act also seeks to end notorious insurance practices.
Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to people designated with pre-existing conditions, set dollar limits on how much they will cover or kick patients off of a plan because of accruing large medical bills.
The push for universal health care in America has experienced heavy resistance from the Republican Party; in fact, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives attempted to repeal the law 42 times, all of which failed.
Unfortunately, partisan politics is at an all-time high in Washington D.C., and this comes during a time in which congressional approval is almost in the single digits.
Instead of working across party lines to ensure a smooth implementation of the law, both parties radicalized.
A majority of Americans do not even know what the Affordable Care Act does because of a lack of clarification by President Obama and the White House, as well as a large-scale attempt led by the Tea Party to misinform the general public on Obamacare.
On Aug. 7, 2009, Sarah Palin posted a Facebook note in which she famously claimed, “The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil.”
Palin’s baseless claim that the Affordable Care Act involves “Death Panels” is a perfect example of cowardice within the conservative camp. Unfortunately, for the Obama administration, these blatantly partisan political tactics have been very effective.
So what now?
The online marketplaces used to purchase government healthcare are officially open, and tensions are at an all-time high.
We are in the midst of a government shutdown, the first in almost two decades, and the political rancor between the two parties is doing more than just stalling democracy.
In an article that ran Oct. 1, Bloomberg reported that the government shutdown costs the U.S. economy roughly $300 million a day.
“While that is a small fraction of the country’s $15.7 trillion economy, the daily impact of a shutdown is likely to accelerate if it continues as it depresses confidence and spending by businesses and consumers,” Jeanna Smialek writes.
So expect the political showdown to have costly consequences if a resolution is not reached quickly.
Only time will tell if the Affordable Care Act is a change for better or for worse.
Both parties have major concerns as to whether the law is ready for implementation.
Reports of system errors already have been reported, due to the high volume of traffic on Healthcare.gov, the official website for those purchasing insurance plans under Obamacare.
In the meantime, enjoy the fact that you can officially stay on your parent’s insurance plan until you are 26 years old, one of the many perks of the Affordable Care Act.