I must admit that I was not thrilled that I would have to pick a book about Obama Care, but after reading this book has helped open my eyes to quite a few things in the world that was going on behind closed doors that the average American, like myself, knew nothing about.
Now of course, it has not been 150 years of being under Obama Care and I’m quite sure there will not be 150 years of Obama Care but throughout history ObamaCare helps bring together what past Presidents tried to accomplish. Yes, it is true, Obama was not the only President that tried to push healthcare reform, he is just the only President that succeeded in getting it through. Healthcare reform is not only about making sure every American is insured but also about making sure the health care disparities stopped. Although, we know that the disparities will never truly be gone it is a start toward the right direction.
Daniel Dawes, author of 150 Years of ObamaCare, starts the book off by looking back in to the past of what other leaders and advocates tried to accomplish, how it started and how it got shut down or pushed to the side as more things became more forefront. Quite a few bills have tried to make it through the White House to become a bill. One may make it through the House but be rerouted by the Senate. Of course, we know some do not even hit the President’s desk because the House and Senate did not come to an agreement and then a bill could pass to the President in which he/she could veto it for other reasons as well. Universal healthcare was supported by a lot of diverse organizations, but in order to look at ways to achieve universal healthcare you also had to look at the healthcare disparities as well. Racial discrimination in healthcare was and still is a top concern in health care industry, along with gender, ethnic background, education, geographical location and access.
I learned during my reading that no matter what there will also be someone that will not be happy and will try any and everything to oppose what you are trying to do, even if you are trying to help for the better good of the world. During the Jim Crow timeframe, African Americans were unable to access health care when they needed it the most. A lot of hospitals and facilities refused to treat African Americans even if it was a life and death situation. Not only are African Americans treated differently but the Latino community also experience the discrimination as we are beneath the Caucasian race. The Civil Rights Act has helped curtail some discrimination but cannot get rid of it all. If it was not for the Medicare payments to the hospitals, majority would still refuse treatment to individuals and be segregated but they had to integrate if they wanted to receive their Medicare payments.
The infant mortality rate among African Americans were higher than any other race all because health care was being refused to them and AA woman were not considered as important. Franklin D. Roosevelt stepped up and stated that Americans had a right to health care and that the federal government should address it. Many felt as if the government should not determine the people’s insurance when others feel like the government can help close the coverage cap and allow everyone to receive the care that they would normally not be able to receive. The Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act had a lot of encounters where it looked like it would not make it. It took over 35 initial organizations, coalitions and associations to band together to help push the health care reform in to what it is today. The ACA was signed in to law on March 23rd, 2010.
I am glad that Americans that were previously not able to afford insurance were finally able to get coverage through the ACA. Although the ACA was high for some it was not costly for others. When I inquired about the cost of insurance when it first came out, my monthly payment was over $400 and unfortunately, I was not able to afford that. I work, I get insurance through my employer but it is not the best. I can go to the little clinic and my insurance would only pay $10 and I am left with the other $110. It is good that the ACA has stopped insurers from denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, like cancer and/ or diabetes. Most of the ACA plans requires the coverage of preventative services like vaccines, blood pressure tests and screenings.
I remember my mom telling me after I graduated high school, that I had to make sure I was in school to stay on her insurance. I never quite understood that until now. The ACA made a way for those up till the age of 26 to remain on their parent’s insurance without being enrolled in school. When you graduate from high school you are not trying to concern yourself with the thoughts of affording health care or if you’re employer even provides it when at that time a lot of minimum wage jobs do not.
I do like how ACA has helped people but I am not a fan of the tax penalty. I do not agree that the government should force people to purchase insurance, if not provided through their employer or pay a penalty. That is not right. The book went in to the penalties associated with not having care and in 2016 it was $695/year or 2.5% of your income and increasing annually. For someone that is already of low-income and barely making ends meet, having to pay a penalty for what should be their ultimate decision in any way is a disgrace to me. You will not go to jail or have criminal issues for not paying it but the IRS will withhold it automatically in your next tax return. I am in favor of the Affordable Care Act but I am not in favor of the penalties, or as they call it, individual mandate. There are ways that you can be exempt from paying the fee but that is still not good enough in my eyes.
I shouldn’t have to be in jail to be exempt, under financial hardship to be exempt, an undocumented immigrant to be exempt, a member of an American-Indian tribe to be exempt, or my income below the tax filing threshold to be exempt. There were a few more but I shouldn’t have to concern myself about paying a penalty for insurance that could possibly cost too much and/or that I am just not interested in purchasing. What is really a financial hardship? When I was living on my own, still under 22, only making $12/hr – I went and applied for government assistance and was told that if I had a child I would qualify. I do not believe the people working at the government level know what financial hardship is. If you do not factor in my college books, gas to and from work, to and from school, groceries, rent and clothes – than how could you possibly determine that I am making enough. That bothers me and still bothers me now as I am still unable to get assistance even now that I do have a child. Ironic!
Considering where we started, ACA has come a long way. From the very beginning of the many different statues and laws, such as, The Freedmen’s Bureau, the Children’s Bureau, the Lanham Act, Hill-Burton Act, HMO Act, Kennedy-Mills plan and a lot more in between, before and after you would think that universal healthcare is a possibility, but will it ever come to pass in the Unites States of America? So many have paved the way before and has helped shown what could work and what would need to be done to be progress further. Will there ever truly be universal health care? In my opinion, not by a long shot.