At this point in time, there is growing support for the idea of universal access to healthcare. In fact, President Obama was able to draft and secure the passage of a healthcare law that is the first step towards universal access in the United States. There has been a tremendous amount of opposition to the law, which has resulted in legal challenges to the law. In an article posted by the Voice of America (VOA ) it is stated that "The U.S. Supreme Court handed President Barack Obama a major victory Thursday, upholding the key part of his controversial health care plan in a 5-4 decis ion" (VOA, 2012). As soon as the news broke, "26 states filed suit against the reform law and the challenger in the 2012 election, M itt Romney, promised to repeal the law his first day in office" (VOA, 2012). "The Obama administration had argued the 'individual mandate' is valid under the U.S. . Constitution because all Americans will need medical care at some point in their lives, and there is no practical alternative to insurance" (VOA, 2012).
There is opposition to the law, which is primarily based in the potential costs to business. It is a strong possibility that the new law could make healthcare less expensive, which means employers would have more money to hire more workers. On the other hand, Republicans feel that the hefty fines imposed on employers who do not offer their employees health insurance, may result in them laying off workers to help keep their costs down (Sommer, 2009).
However, not all who oppose the law do so from a conservative perspective. It is critical to keep in mind that Obamacare does not ensure universal health coverage. Instead, it extends the power of a private-party insurance system that many feel is irreparably broken. In addition, it places many of those who are most vulnerable at risk of further denial of access to healthcare. Contemplating the 2012 legal challenge to Obamacare, noted socialist Jerry White commented, "If the legislation is upheld by the court and fully implemented, as many as 20 million workers could lose their employer-based health insurance, as corporations dump workers into the state insurance exchanges to be set up under the Obama plan, according to the findings of a study published in March. If the legislation is overturned, the same process will continue in a different form, as corporations simply slash benefits and eliminate health care for both retired and active workers" (White, 2012). Clearly, he did not see the healthcare law as a benefit to those who were most vulnerable or as a reasonable means of ensuring healthcare access to the millions of Americans who are already struggling with lack of access.
A more optimistic view of healthcare reform recognizes its potential to improve the efficiency of our healthcare system. A more efficient healthcare system will help lower the burden of health insurance premiums for firms, and in turn allow them to hire more workers. This w ill also increase the number of jobs for Americans, while at the same time reducing the financial woes of those individuals struggling without health insurance in a depressed labor market.
Interestingly enough, whether health care coverage is necessary for the health of individual is actually a subject of debate. Many individuals argue that it is not necessary to have health insurance. However, I have a personal perspective on the necessity of healthcare coverage, which is based on my experience of having been without health insurance for several years and then having health care coverage. My husband and I were self-employed when we first married and as such we could never afford the costly health insurance coverage. We went at least 5 years without any medical or healthcare coverage, whatsoever. I finally decided to look for a job that did provide health benefits and was ecstatic when I found one that not only provided it, but also did not make you pay any part of the premiums for coverage. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because six months later my husband was diagnosed with Mixed Connective Tissue Disease. Th is disease affects his immune system. One night he thought he was having a heart attack, I took him to the emergency room and it turns out that his disease