A majority of Americans have mixed feelings about the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, which was upheld Thursday as Constitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Some people still want to fight it — including Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. But rather than continuing to fight about it, how about we get back to what should be our focus — the economy? “Obamacare,” as some people call it, isn’t perfect. Most laws aren’t. Sure, provisions in the universal health care law that impose an expectation that all Americans will have health insurance are unsettling to some, but that doesn’t mean the entire reform bill is without merit.
The law is complicated and many of the details won’t be well understood until it fully is implemented in 2014. Sandy Praeger, Kansas insurance commissioner, said, “This addresses the problem of access to health care, and now we have to find ways to bring costs under control. The law uses a market-driven approach with a measure of compassion to let people buy their own health insurance at the cost and coverage they can afford. We are going to have to wait, however, to see what the November election holds regarding the law’s long-term future.”
Why must we wait? Because Republicans like Brownback still hope a change in the White House will mean Obamacare’s repeal.
Providing health care for all people is a noble cause, especially when the uninsured group includes people who can’t pay for it themselves. Getting angry and saying, “I won’t pay for health care for those who won’t pay for it themselves,” is naïve because we all pay in one way or another for others’ health care. People always find a way to beat the system, but as the loopholes are identified they will need to be remedied.
Still, no program — no matter how noble its cause — will work if it isn’t paid for. It remains unclear how the health care program will be funded. The biggest problem with court’s decision, however, is that it is stealing the focus of people — including our political leaders — who ought to be working on the economy and job creation.
Our short-term and long-term priorities should be helping our country’s economy rebound with a healthful dose of job creation. Until we have more jobs and stronger businesses, there won’t be a sufficient number of people to pay for health care for the masses. The masses need to help pay for their health care through co-pays and insurance fees, so they attach a value to the services and see them as a privilege rather than a right. Educating people about what kind of ailments justify help from a health care provider, as well as making them take personal responsibility for their health challenges, would be a good start.
Americans have mixed feelings because the details of a 2,700-page law are difficult to comprehend. What isn’t difficult is determining where our country’s priorities should be. Growing the economy and jobs must be at the top of the list.
— Jeanny Sharp, editor and publisher