Humanists across the country are elated that the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld as constitutional President Obama's Affordable Care Act. Now millions of citizens who cannot afford health insurance will be covered. Despite the compassionate objectives of the law, political conservatives remain ardently opposed.
The primary object of the right wing's wrath is the individual mandate in the law that requires most Americans to acquire at least minimum health insurance coverage. Conservatives assert that the government lacks the authority to require citizens to buy anything.
Strangely enough, the concept of the individual mandate is a Republican idea and it was adopted by Mitt Romney when he established universal health coverage as governor of Massachusetts. The goal was to require everyone to be in the insurance pool so that no one could game the system by getting free medical service in the emergency room when they fell ill or had an accident.
The individual mandate would also resolve the "socialized medicine" issue. Privately owned health insurance companies could offer their services. The only remaining objection other than costs would be the alleged loss of freedom. When confronted with passage of the Affordable Care Act, conservatives suddenly found that any government requirement affecting health care was objectionable.
Since passage of the act in 2010 the conservatives have unleashed an unrelenting series of advertisements to distort the public's support for the law. People became concerned about the fictional unreasonable rationing of health care and the death panels. While people were aware that their available health care was inadequate, they were led to believe that what the Affordable Care Act offered was worse.
The law provides comprehensive reforms and the scope of its advantages are not easy to understand. Unfortunately, the conservatives' advertisements have not provided a public service by clarifying the benefits. Surveys of public opinions on present benefits show overwhelming support. These benefits for those who already have insurance include:
* No lifetime caps on insurance policy benefits
* Children are able to stay on parents' health insurance plans until they turn 26
* Free preventative care such as checkups and mammograms available on all policies
* Prices of more drugs for seniors have been reduced
* Children can no longer be denied coverage because of pre-existing medical conditions
* Insurers cannot jack up rates when the insured gets sick.
Other benefits and regulations become effective in 2014.
Numerous polls have indicated that the benefits provided by the Affordable Care Act are what the people want. And the Congressional Budget Office calculates that the act will cut the deficit by $1 30 billion from 2010 to 2019.
Obama stated when the Supreme Court decision was announced: "I did not do this because it was good politics. I did it because I believed it was good for the country. I did it because I believed it was good for the American people."
It is now clear what has been motivating the opposition. From the moment he was elected, conservative members of Congress have been organizing to oust Obama from the oval office. They refuse to support any program or policy that will enable Obama to appear to be successful. The Republican House even voted to hold in contempt the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, even though they know that this is unenforceable. Conservatives have done little to create jobs so that economic growth for the country can move more quickly lest Obama might benefit.
The conservative agenda is self-serving and alien to civilized and compassionate American values. Patriots must become politically active to stop this hateful campaign at the polls.