When Obama was elected president, most of America was anticipating his universal healthcare plan. When the actual implementation of that plan looked as though it would be blocked though, many worried that he would be unable to deliver on his promise. Luckily, Congress decided to uphold most of what has become known as “Obamacare,” and Americans in desperate need of affordable healthcare are celebrating.
According to the US Census of 2010, 49.9 million Americans were without healthcare and that number was on the rise. Experts say this is in part due to the rise in unemployment and poverty, but also the weak economy causing businesses to cut back on expenses. By 2014 though, all that will change. Because the Supreme Court decided that Obamacare is indeed constitutional, more than 300,000 children who have pre-existing conditions will now find health insurance coverage. That means that being sick will no longer prevent them or anyone else from getting the care they need to treat their sickness. Additionally, kids will be able to remain on their parent’s health insurance plan until they turn 26, saving families a lot more money in the long run since they won’t have to pay for separate care. Preventative healthcare benefits like mammograms will also be covered without copays, hopefully encouraging more people to take these precautions to catch issues before they became bigger and more expensive health concerns.
Although some find these new requirements to be a problem for small and growing businesses, businesses with wages less than 50,000 a year will actually receive tax credits for providing coverage. Otherwise, these benefits will be paid for by increased taxes on Medicare Payroll for couples making more than $250,000 a year, unearned income like capital gains, and added fees for insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers to name a few. And to prevent those companies from simply upping their premiums, they will need to be more transparent about their costs and justify any “unreasonably” large healthcare premium increases.
Obviously not everyone is happy about the recent ruling, but as healthcare improves, I think all Americans will appreciate the improved health of our nation in the coming years. Personally, both as a mother and a physician, I am thankful that the Supreme Court has finally ruled on behalf of the people.
- Yvonne S. Thornton, M. D., M. P. H.