The nation is once again abuzz with talk of the Affordable Health Care Act of 2010, most commonly referred to as "Obamacare."
Mitt Romney will reevaluate this indiscretion with his handlers after his presentation to the NAACP. From the minute the law was proposed through its passage and signing by President Obama, the law has been a political football and one of the most controversial pieces of legislation ever passed. Unfortunately, proponents have never seemed to be able to forcefully argue the virtues of the law. From the beginning, the opponents of the law have framed the debate, first with cries of "death panels" and then with scare tactics of rogue IRS agents enforcing the individual mandate, and most recently with the cries and lies that it is the biggest tax increase in history.
Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the law, it is time for supporters to extol its virtues. There are many reasons why supporters of the law were slow to sell its positive aspects. The two main seem to be:
1) winners often get complacent and there was no bigger win for supporters of the law than finally passing a health care law after 100 years of trying and
2) many of the law's best features haven't fully kicked in yet and won't until 2014, so most Americans have not seen the benefits of the law and millions won't see them unless they are unfortunate enough to become very ill.
It is time to step up, though, and trumpet the history-making aspects of the Affordable Health Care Law. First and foremost, the law makes it illegal for insurance companies to refuse policies to individuals with pre-existing conditions.
Another of the popular aspects of the ACA is its provision that allows young adults to stay on their parents' insurance policies until they turn 26. The law also aims to decrease the costs of medical care in the United States. One way it does this is by requiring insurance companies to offer policies that cover preventive care, such as routine physicals and breast and colon exams, free of charge.
That brings us back to the key aspect of the Supreme Court ruling. Is the ACA individual mandate a penalty or a tax? In the end it doesn't matter much. The issue is a political one above all else. Those who fought against the mandate as an abuse of the Commerce Clause are now eager to embrace its label as a tax, hoping to damage President Obama and the Democrats who voted for the law, believing that the American people will accept the notion of the mandate as a tax and punish those who imposed it.
Regardless of the politics of taxes vs. mandates, the law stands and its great benefits will only become more popular with Americans over time.
Answer Book 2019
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