Now that the Supreme Court has ruled The Affordable Health Care Act constitutional, it’s time to sift through the embers of one of the great political wildfires of our time and figure out what has survived.
As the political junkie of my social circle, a lot of people have been asking me questions about (the so-called) “Obamacare;” questions like:
“Does this mean Obamacare has passed?”, and:
“When can we expect the government to come to my grandmother’s house to kill her? She makes wonderful pierogies and I would like to have them once more before she’s gone.”
The answers to those questions, of course, are:
1) "Obamacare passed as a law long time ago, and that the Supreme Court’s decision merely validated it as legal under our constitution," and:
2) “Probably a week from Thursday.”
Obviously this law is confusing to a lot of people if it makes them suddenly forget the middle school skills of researching for facts, and/or how a bill becomes a law. But, I can totally understand that people might be confused by what happened with this particular law; so, in case you are someone who’s still a little in the dark about what “Obamacare” is, and what it means to you, I thought I’d take it upon myself to assist in clearing the air about this bill.
First of all, if you already have insurance from your workplace, the law probably won’t affect you much; and the ways in which it will affect you are probably beneficial. The law includes a “Patient’s Bill of Rights,” which provides coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions, protects your choice of doctors, allows young adults to stay on their parents’ coverage until they turn 26, forces insurance companies to justify rate hikes, and ends lifetime limits on coverage. If you’re interested in reading up on these positive portions of the bill, I’ve provided a reference here.
Secondly, if you don’t have health care insurance, you’ll be required to buy it, or you’ll suffer a tax penalty. It's an individual penalty, not a tax increase on all of us. This is expected to only (possibly) affect a total of 7 million Americans. But how much of a penalty? Well, the government will first offer you vouchers to help pay for a plan if you need assistance getting on your feet, and the penalty will never be more than the cost of a basic plan. But if you choose to pay the penalty instead of getting insurance (which means if you have to go to the emergency room all of us as taxpayers are footing your bills for you), it’ll be based on your income. Current estimates say that, in 2014, the minimum penalty for an individual will be $95 a year. Buying coverage for the year for that individual is estimaed at about $4,500 a year. Oh, and if you decide to lie on your taxes and say you have insurance when you don’t, or just decide not to pay it? There’s really no mechanism set in place to stop you for now, other than maybe the IRS suing you for twice the amount. But shhhhh….!
“But Patrick,” you may ask, “all of those sound like really helpful and/or boring things; why is there so much anger and fervor over the bill, then? Certainly there must be incredible negatives to the bill if people are willing to dress up like Revolutionary War-era soldiers and hold up signs labeling the President a Nazi!”
And, to that, I respond with: “Well, of course. Obviously there is substance to that argument, and those people must be correct in comparing our President to Adolf Hitler. After all, Hitler is responsible for the genocide of 6 million people, and President Obama is trying to save 30-50 million people from being uninsured. There’s an obvious connection between Obama and Hitler—both of those statements use the word MILLION.”
But there’s more, dear reader. They’ve also uncovered the following provisions, which are also part of the bill. And these are 100% true, because modern day Republicans have no reason to make things up about Obamacare, as they are thoughtful, well-informed individuals with no penchant or reputation whatsoever for simply making up lies out of thin air in an effort to confuse the public into voting for them:
Death Panels: Sarah Palin caused quite the row in 2009 when she brilliantly uncovered President Obama’s plan to set up a panel of people to decide whether or not to allow health coverage to people based on their “productivity to society.” These panels will be staffed by people dressed as Roman emperors, who will give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down as to whether or not you will be allowed to live under the fascist Obamacare system. And it’s a good thing that Palin herself uncovered this part of the bill, because it’d probably be a close vote as to whether or not Sarah Palin has done anything productive in her entire life.
A Government Takeover of Health Care: Republicans also uncovered the fact that the government is taking over the health care system. They’re not assisting in setting up monitored insurance exchanges to help the already-privatized health care companies drive down prices to the consumer—oh, no. They’re going to unleash their super-dragon, GovZilla, out to smash and destroy Blue Cross Blue Shield, punishing them for succeeding as a small business.
Government ID Chips: Emails have been circulating reminding people of the provision of Obamacare which requires all citizens to be implanted with a microchip connected to their bank accounts, including children. That’s the bad news. The good news is the microchips have two gigabytes worth of storage so you can listen to your favorite Nickelback album without digging out your iPod.
As always, I hope I’ve helped. Although the law probably won’t impact most of you, I hope I’ve provided some useful information about it anyway.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going over to my grandma’s. It’s pierogi night.