What if the United States of America made it possible to provide affordable healthcare to everyone in the country? Wonder no longer! In 2010 the Obama administration implemented the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act or ACA was one of the biggest government initiatives on national healthcare since the beginning of United States history. This Act would provide access to health insurance for every American. This progressive thinking was brought about by the large amount of Americans who did not possess health insurance because they believed they did not need it or they could not afford it.
The government was able to make this affordable by making it illegal for anyone to be charged more if they were predisposed to a disease/condition or currently have a disease/condition. Although this act is being fought by the current presidential administration it is still in place today. The ACA had an impact on the United States that can be seen when analyzing constitutional support, checks and balances, and public reaction.
Over the years citizens of the United States have argued their opinions stating that congress does not have a constitutional right to implement the ACA. The federal government thinks differently and states that they in fact DO have the constitutional right to implement the Act under the Commerce Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause in Article I of the constitution (Huhn, 2011). There were many cases filed against Obamacare as it made the absence of insurance illegal. If the government makes it illegal for people to avoid health insurance, but then they offer a form of health insurance that is cheaper than the competitors one can see how people start to get upset.
Recently, under the new presidential administration, this Act has been evolving. Evidence of this can be seen with the fine for not possessing health insurance being abolished in the last six months.
The constitution can often be seen as guidelines more than set rules in some areas. The situation the ACA puts lawmakers in is definitely one of those areas that are open to interpretation. More simply put, nowhere in the constitution does it specifically say that the United States cannot provide its own healthcare to the citizens who want it. These areas of interpretation often lead the mind to more interesting topics such as constitutional culture and what has been done in the past. The constitutional argument on government-provided healthcare is not just a debate over constitutional law, but it is a debate established in a constitutional culture which is described as the traditions and understandings that constitute our sense of the American dream and help define who we are as a people (Marshall, 2012). The constitution’s reason for being created can be debated, but a large number of people would agree that it was created in a manner that would make us independent. When the U.S. separated from Britain, nobody wanted to find new land just to remain dependant on a totalitarian government. With the old culture of independence and a newer culture of dependence, the debate becomes less of an argument over things being constitutional and more of how we can change the constitution to fit our newer culture. This can be a dark road, however, as the constitution was not made to be re-wrote.
The type of government the United States posses is known as federalism. This form of government can be summed up as a nation having one central government and many smaller regional governments. In the U.S. our central government is made up of the president, congress, and the supreme court, while the smaller governments are split up by each state that contains it’s own branches. Those at the state level have implemented a vast amount of strategies to stop the execution of the law, this includes quite a bit of lawsuits finding themselves in several U.S. Supreme Court rulings (Gusmano, 2017). Some people may find this a bad thing and suggest we should always support the decisions of the national government as they are the supreme law of the land. Despite their opinions, the fact that states are constantly fighting the national government is good. This is how the national government and state governments keep each other from implementing laws that adversely affect Americans. When the ACA was introduced to the public in 2010, the state of Florida took the lead in fighting the ACA. Twenty-five other states joined to fight the Act on constitutional grounds. Legal challenges started low in federal district courts and moved higher to the appellate level, finally ending in the Supreme Court (Plein, 2014). Although the ACA is still in affect today, because of state resistance this law has been modified several times to reflect what the people of the United States want and less of what the government wants. This goes both ays as the national government also has to keep the states in their place. If it was up to the states, half of the country would not have Obamacare and the national government would have a hard time keeping the country together as states would be prone to the idea of separating from the U.S.
One of the largest factors playing a part in public opinion on the ACA was the dissemination of information on the Act. ‘In 2013, 61 percent of the public reported having seen an ad about the ACA, and 55 percent reported closely following news coverage of the ACA. Furthermore, an Enroll America survey from 2014 reported that news was the number one source of information for new enrollees, and of those for whom the news was a primary source of ACA information, the largest news provider was local television news’ (Franklin Fowler, Baum, Barry, Niederdeppe, & Gollust, 2017). If 61 percent of people had seen an ad for the ACA that means 61 percent of people knew about it. Only 55 percent of people actually know what it is and it’s purpose. Although a statistic is not provided, due to the complexity of the law, it can be assumed that not all 55 percent of those people knew how to actually use the new health coverage or if they even qualified. This led to a series of states making policies based on what we can assume is roughly half of what a state thinks those policies should be regarding the ACA. ‘Research points to a vast amount of reasons, however, that individuals and groups fail to invest in gaining the necessary information and refrain from taking action despite intuitive payoffs. One barrier is a lack of adequate interest and information to act – even if participation is a ‘Good deal.’ Awareness of potential payoffs from participation often elude those who would most benefit, and the information that is routinely incomplete, imperfect, and clouded by uncertainty about its veracity’ (Callaghan & Jacobs, 2017). Based off of Callaghan and Jacobs information, it can be inferred that somewhere people stopped paying attention to what our government is doing. This could be because people do not care, but most would agree that the people of our nation do care. Politicians do such a good job of making things hard to understand that people stop trying to figure it out. People are trusting what they are told because they do not want to look into the matters themselves. Between 2010 and today there have been vast progressions in media, particularly social media, that allow us to view news from multiple soures in any place and at any time so this data could change drastically as technology advances.
The ACA does not and will not change the election process currently or in the future. It can, however great, influence how the public votes depending on the eligible candidate’s views on the ACA. Future elections will be a driving factor in the development of dividing or uniting efforts in multiple policy domains, especially as skepticism prospers over the ability of state governments to effectively confront issues in a timely manner. From promises to get rid of the Affordable Care Act and to appoint a new Supreme Court Justice, facts are misplaced in much of the political rhetoric. A lot of people are worried and for a good reason. There are significantly sized anti-establishment programs that display anger and fear over the status quo and distrust regarding the ability of either party’s presidential candidate to lead the country (Gardner, 2016). Politics today are harder than ever to follow. Sifting through all the lobbying and high visibility movements dominating media can be extremely difficult. It is no wonder the people can’t get their facts straight. When President Trump is promising to repeal the ACA, how do we know that is actually what he means unless we watch the actual speeches he makes. The speeches he makes can be edited heavily and professionally making it seem like he is saying something he has never said and never supported. Getting information on the ACA can be hard, so people form opinions on many things, but often the actual truth is not one of them.
In the most recent election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, we saw how the views of the candidates, ACA viewpoints, affected the results of the elections. While candidate views on the ACA were not the deciding factors in the presidential race, they definitely played a big part. One of Donald Trump’s biggest promises during his campaign was his promise to repeal all if not most of Obamacare. This is very important because if the ACA had never been implemented that would have taken away some of President Trump’s leverage in the presidential race and the odds could have landed in Hillary’s favor. The thought process of who should be our president is not an argument over what new processes, programs, and laws the new president will bring, but more so what they will do with the current laws and current status/well-being of the country. Businessman Donald Trump was elected president. Republicans hold majorities in Congress, although their margins were slightly reduced. The incoming president and Republican members in Congress are expected to attempt to get rid of most of the ACA and replace its policies with different private sector options (Stack, 2016).
Overall, providing affordable healthcare to everyone in the United States is a challenge, but the country is getting closer to solving the riddle every year. The most recent attempt being the Affordable Care Act of 2010. This act however did not only provide healthcare to U.S. citizens it also made it illegal to not have healthcare making the act very controversial in the country. The ACA has been fought on it’s constitutional legality, it has been fought by the states, it has greatly affected the knowledge of our nation on its national healthcare, and it has influenced the most recent presidential election. The constitutional support can be perceived and is currently perceived by the supreme court, the states have exercised their rights of checks and balances, and the effects on elections and voting are clear. This act is being fought by the current presidential administration eight years after its origination and it is being changed and adjusted. However, it is still alive and standing today.