One of the chief goals of the Affordable Care Act is to ensure health coverage for as many American citizens as possible. This would mean providing means and access for coverage to those who previously could not afford it, or who were denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. It would also mean providing incentives toward people who otherwise would not be inclined to purchase it. In fighting the legislation, Mitch McConnell and other members of the GOP have taken a tonal shift that appears to move the issue of America’s uninsured to the back burner.
A recent story on NPR cites McConnell’s appearance on Fox News Sunday earlier this month, where he repeatedly skirted questions regarding America’s 50 million uninsured and re-emphasized the importance of not modelling America’s system after what he referred to as a Western European model. In a recent speech, Senator Orrin Hatch conceded that the current healthcare system has many problems, but that to accept Obamacare as a solution would be a surrender to the Left, which he deemed unacceptable. Dean Clancy, legislative counsel for Freedomworks, a group that supports and trains Tea Party activists, has instead suggested an alternate plan for reducing costs while expanding individual liberty.
While alternative ideas are certainly welcome in the debate, there has been very little detail to back up the “more liberty, fewer costs” proposals touted so frequently. While many citizens would undoubtedly prefer solutions that do not require them to purchase insurance, and gives them an unmitigated range of options, would such a model be sustainable at reduced cost with no government regulation? Would the corporations that own insurance companies, fund hospitals, give loans to private practice doctors concede to keeping costs down?
And isn’t the liberty of the individual impeded if they are denied access to affordable health care due to either exorbitant cost or a pre-existing condition? While many people have stated that they want the freedom to not purchase insurance, it seems that there are very few uninsured people in the United States who wish to remain so. Of the 50 million currently uninsured, and the estimated 30 million who would gain access to coverage under Obamacare, many have stated that they strongly desire the security and protection of knowing they would have access to affordable healthcare should they fall sick or injured, or to aid in the treatment of their pre-existing conditions.
What do you think? Do you feel providing easier access to the uninsured should be a priority in our healthcare reform? Or do you believe that the key to providing for them in the future lies in prioritizing a more libertarian approach with reduced cost? Do you think such a thing is practically feasible in our corporate culture? Do you think those without insurance should have easier access, or that access to healthcare is something that should be earned as a symbol of status or merit? As always, please share your ideas in our comments.