In government class this year we have learned how to take complex information regarding bills and laws and break down the information to fully understand exactly what the bill and or law is proposing to do. There has been a lot of controversy regarding whether the Affordable Care Act will be helpful to the American people or not. One of the biggest issues of the bill is that the American people do not actually know what the bill consists of.
As of right now most Americans have not felt the effects of any changes as stated in an article from USA Today that “2 in threeAmericans have not been affected by the law yet. Only 14% said they have benefited; 21% said they have been affected negatively.” As I breakdown the ins and outs of the bill, you will find that it does not serve the best interest of the American people.
If the bill is confirmed in the Supreme Court this June, some changes that will happen this year according to MSNBC are, dependent children under the age of 26 can remain on their parents insurance plan, senior citizens will get more financial aid for the purchase of their medications, everyone will be able to buy insurance even if they have pre-existing conditions or were uninsurable in the past, and small businesses with less than 25 employees and $50,000 average salary will qualify for up to a 35% tax cut off of their premiums. The long-term effects that will begin in 2014 according to USA Today are: insurance exchanges which will allow people not insured by their employer to have options for insurance plans, everyone will be required to have insurance or will pay a fine of $695, insurance companies cannot impose annual limits on essential benefits, Medicaid programs will be available for individuals making less than $15,000 and families $30,700, and tax credits will be given to people with incomes less than $44,680 for individuals and $92,200 for a family of 4.
What do all these changes mean for the American people? For an individual and family looking at the law, it could mean several things: having to pay a fine if not insured, having their insurance discontinued because their employer dropped coverage due to skyrocketing costs of insurance plans for employees, and having a decrease in care for the same policy. The positive side of the bill is that it could help by allowing people to extend their child’s insurance on their own policy until the age of 26. The impact for small business owners (less than 49 employees) is mainly beneficial because of tax credits, but is not mandated to pay for employees’ healthcare. The larger businesses are the ones penalized by having to offer minimal healthcare to employees or having to pay a monthly penalty based on “the number of its full-time employees, less 30, multiplied by $166.67,” according to Health Law Monitor. With the adverse effects of the healthcare bill on large businesses, you could see a decrease in full-time employees and an increase in part-time employees because the business owners are going to try to make the same amount of profit regardless of whether the owners have to cut jobs or employ more part-time employees. Also, the impact on the quality of medical care would decrease based on healthcareitnews.com. According to a NPS (Net Promoter Score) survey done on the future of healthcare, 65% of the doctors fear the quality of care of patients will decrease. Many doctors said they will retire early because they will not be making adequate money for all the risks they take, and doctors are concerned about the privacy and security issues for patients as well.
The Affordable Care Act bill may in the short term help the citizens of the United States, but in the long term will have serious repercussions and drawbacks for all classes. From the business and economic standpoint, the bill will hurt businesses, making it harder for the owners to net the same profit, which will in turn affect how many jobs are offered by the businesses and the jobs that are available will, more than likely, be part-time jobs. The bill could be helpful on some levels; but as a whole, will not have a positive impact on the American people or the healthcare of the United States.
In Government we have learned about money and how it affects elections. Is money a corrupting influence or a helpful hand in the election process? This issue has been debated for a long time whether or not money is a good or bad thing in politics. It was decided by the Supreme Court with the case of Citizen United v. the Federal Election Commission. Some people were happy with the overturn of the law, with the Supreme Court taking the side of Citizen United and some were not. The corruption of the election process was greatly increased with the conclusion of the case while the pros of the passing of the law are greatly outnumbered by the cons.
For those of you that think money is a corrupting influence there are many websites and writers that side with you. With the Supreme Court decision regarding Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission it opens a lot of opportunities for corporations and others to influence the campaign and election process. Upset with the supreme court’s decision president Obama says “The last thing we need to do is hand more influence to the lobbyists in Washington or more power to the special interests to tip the outcome of elections.” I agree with President Obama that it does open the floodgates for special interests groups to influence the elections. Other influencers of politics are corporations and company heads that give substantial amounts of money to certain candidates’ campaigns. Daniel Newman president and co-founder of Maplight, an organization that tracks donations and the influence they can by said, “seats in Congress are bought and influenced by special interests who give candidates the money to get elected and money to stay elected.” With corporations and special interests groups giving money it can greatly influence how the delegates vote on certain bills because delegates want money to stay in office and they cannot vote opposite on pressing issues that are important to the corporations.
On the other hand, with more information provided by the special interests groups no matter how scathing the information is, it is still more information for regular voters to see/hear. With voter knowledge not being great as stated in an article on The Ignorance of Voters the more information that can be introduced to people the more informed and confident they will be. It should also give people more incentive to research candidates to see if what is being said is true or distorted information. On the issue of money influencing political decisions and votes according to Cristopher Cotton “Academic research has not found much of a link between increases in a candidate’s campaign spending and increases in the probability of the candidate winning the election.” Special interest groups and corporations can saturate the market with multiple TV commercials, radio ads, and other advertising venues, but if you have one good ad/commercial it can influence and have more of an impact on voters rather than having 3 or 4 subpar ads/commercial. It obviously takes a lot of money to run a campaign, but the highest funded campaign does not always win like the campaigns between Perot v. Bush v. Clinton.
The Supreme Court’s decision regarding the Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission was a decision that allows for corruption in the election process. It opens up the possibilities for corporations and special interests groups to give money to candidates for special favors, votes, and just to have an in with the political world. In response to some saying that the decision was a great win for the 1st Amendment of the Constitution, I would say that maybe it was the right decision legally, but the repercussions of opening the field to corporations and special interests groups pollutes the whole political system of America.