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Osama Ghani

Dr. Julia Melkers


POL 1101
3rd December 2015
The issue I was assigned is Obamacare. Obamacare is the biggest overhaul of the
American healthcare system since the introduction of Medicare and Medicaid in the
1960s. Currently, healthcare insurance providers dominate the healthcare industry.
The price of medical facilities is exorbitantly high, so insurance is almost always
required. However, private insurers have their own standards for who they choose to
cover, and this leaves a significant portion of the American public uninsured. The
poorer and working class people are often left without coverage, making medical
expenses and debts for a growing problem for them.
Obamacare is an attempt to extend healthcare coverage by removing restrictions that
healthcare insurers use, by extending state coverage and by making it mandatory for
citizens to have health insurance. The most important evidence in evaluating the
success of Obamacare is the numbers of uninsured individuals since its
implementation. The trend is that the number of uninsured has dropped. However
Obamacare has created its own issues as well. The cost of private insurance has
increased, and although state coverage has increased, middle class people may
actually find it harder to get insurance because neither the states will insure them,
nor will private insurers, because of the high cost. The evidence that is missing in
making a holistic judgment about Obamacare is its effect on different sections of
society and its economic effects. Although it has helped millions of Americans get
insurance, it is difficult to find information about how Obamacare has affected the
healthcare industry, employers, and the economy in general.
The role of the American governmental system is multi-faceted. The issue of making
healthcare mandatory creates political polarization. Democrats are generally for the
implementation of Obamacare but Republicans are vehemently opposed to it. As a
result, we can see how Obamacare came to exist, by considering who has been in
control of Congress and the Presidency. When Obamacare was passed, Democrats
enjoyed a majority in the House and a supermajority in the Senate, as well as a
Democratic president. As a result, Democrats wielded authority and were able to
pass the bill through both houses. However, in the current Congress, in which
Republicans enjoy a majority, a bill to repeal Obamacare has passed the House.
Thus, it is clear how the structure of American government and who controls different
organs can affect public policy.

Further, the Supreme Court case shows how the judiciary can complement or
destroy a law passed through Congress with the Presidents approval. The Supreme
Court held that Obamacare was constitutional because they approached the penalty
as a tax, however struck down a portion of the law that it believed conflicted with
states rights (specifically, this was the mandatory state expansion of Medicaid). So, it
is clear that in an important issue, all three organs of government are important in
shaping policy.
I think that the government has done enough in terms of pushing for mandatory
health insurance. Imposing an individual mandate and creating a penalty for not
following it almost seems like overstepping the governments boundaries, which is
evident from the controversy surrounding the Supreme Court decision. Therefore, it
is clear that the Obama administration created a plan to reach as close to universal
coverage as possible, without making the law unconstitutional.
This issue directly relates to millennial generation for a number of reasons. First,
millennials will be or already are in the workforce, and are most likely to be in the
middle-class. This means that healthcare insurance is a huge cost for them, and
finding an affordable provider could save a lot of money. Many millennials are still on
their parents plans, and becoming insured independently can be a very costly affair.
Further, Obamacare has indirect consequences on millennials too. Since Obamacare
has guidelines for employers, including mandatory coverage, Obamacare can
potentially change the way employers select employees. It also puts additional
restrictions on employers that affect employees. For example, at Georgia Tech, the
maximum hours a Residence Advisor or Peer Leader working for the Department of
Housing is allowed to work for is determined by the departments interpretation of the
Obamacare provision that employees work for an amount of time that doesnt
significantly affect their health.
Obamacare also related to millennials in a different way. Millennials are the most
progressive and liberal generation in American history, and often they rally for gender
equality and for the equal treatment of LGBT people. Obamacare strikes down
insurance price discrimination on the basis of gender, and makes it easier for LGBT
people to get access to healthcare. Thus, Obamacare also addresses Millennials
desires.
Through my caucus work and research, I learnt that Obamacare has had its
successes and failures. It required quite a miracle, a majority in the House and a
democratic president for such a major change in the US healthcare system to occur. I
learnt about the current state of the US healthcare system. Through discussion with

my colleagues, I learned of different viewpoints. For example, I learned why even


though universal healthcare works well in Canada, it is considered un-American
because in a country with an extreme pro-capitalist economic viewpoint, universal
healthcare is uncapitalist. Most of my team members chose this issue because
theres been so much debate over Obamacare but nobody really knows the facts. By
compiling the research and the differing opinions I heard, I was able to form an
informed opinion on Obamacare.
My personal viewpoint on Obamacare is that it is a necessary reform in American
healthcare. As an international student, reading about the costs of healthcare in the
US was daunting, because I had previously lived in Qatar, where healthcare is
basically free, or heavily subsidized, and in Canada where there is universal
healthcare. The notion of paid healthcare, let alone exorbitant payments, was a
strange one, and considering the situation with the uninsured in the US, I think that
Obamacare is a step in the right direction, even if it means compromising traditional
American values.