ObamaCare is a law that the President Obama is extremely passionate about. He built a big part of his political career around healthcare reform. This law will allow millions of Americans who cannot afford health insurance or cannot quality for health insurance to get affordable coverage. Millions of Americans live with treatable diseases, because they cannot afford health care cost associated with getting treatment. In 2009, 16.7% of the U.S. population was uninsured (50.7 million people). Of this population, there are 7.5 million children under the age of 18 that is uninsured and 676,000 senior citizens (Kondro, E756). ObamaCare is law that was passed in March 2010, allowing this uninsured population to get health care insurance at an affordable cost. In this paper I will discuss our political structure and some of the processes that ObamaCare passed through, going from a bill to a law, and then the law became unconstitutional.
Checks and Balances
Checks and balances is a system that was put in place by the founding fathers of our government to protect the president or one body of the government from becoming too powerful. The government is divided into three branches, the executive branch, the legislative branch and the judicial branch; this is known as separation of powers. Separation of powers was established to ensure that one division of government would not be able to function independently; they need the other parts of government. If congress signs a bill that the president thinks are not good, he has the power to veto the bill preventing it from becoming a law. Congress can then again try to pass the law by getting a two third vote from congress for the law, this is what prevents the president from becoming too powerful. The president has the power to make treaties with other countries, however he must first get two-third vote from the senate. The president is the commander and chief of the military; however congress is the gate keeper for the money. Although the president can make some decisions independently, he must get congress's approval and senate's approval for most decisions. The Supreme Court can prevent the president from becoming too powerful by declaring his acts unconstitutional. The president gets to appoint the members of the Supreme Court, when there is an available seat and congress approves the appointee. The checks and balance system was designed to ensure that the president does not become too powerful. In order for the ObamaCare bill to become a law, it was signed by the majority in congress and then signed by president. Please see below a diagram of the three branches of government and how power is separated.
President Obama centered his election campaign in 2008 on healthcare reform. Once ObamaCare got the votes of congress it was then signed on March 23, 2010 and became a law. This law will give coverage to millions of Americans who were uninsured prior to this law. Although this law is very controversial and got a lot of opposition in media, in congress and from the population, it also got a lot of support. Today ObamaCare is a law and the only way for this law to become extinct or unconstitutional is for the Supreme Court to make that ruling.
Judicial review means that the presidential decisions are subject to the laws of the Supreme Court. In the United States, there is the Supreme Court, which has the power to declare the president's actions unconstitutional. This process was established by our forefathers when they wrote the constitution in 1787 to prevent the president from becoming too powerful. The judicial branch of the government has the power to declare the ObamaCare law unconstitutional. For most laws they go through two branches of our government, they move from congress to the executive branch. It is only when a law is challenged, it moves to the judicial branch.
The doughnut hole has been a major problem impacting the senior citizen of America since the beginning of Medicare Part D in 2004 (Weintraub, 2008). Medicare beneficiary would stop receiving prescription benefits once they have reached $2,830 on prescription drugs, it starts paying again once the individual's out-of-pocket expenses exceed $4,550., this is known as the doughnut hole. Patients who fell into the doughnut hole, found their medical bills to be at least double each month. Their prescriptions bills would be so expensive it would force patients to make a difficult decision, buying food or buying medication. Many seniors who fell into the doughnut hole stop buying their medication because they could not afford to pay for it (Weintraub, 2008). Weintraub found that 15% of the elderly people with chronic illness stop taking their medications when they fell into the doughnut hole because of cost. Although there are private insurance companies that would pay for prescriptions during the doughnut hole period, most of them are too costly and they would only over generic prescriptions. This doughnut hole was created because the government could not get the funding necessary to fund Medicare Part D, and the cost of prescriptions for the elderly was depleting the funds available for Medicare Part D.
What is Obamacare?
ObamaCare is a bill that was signed into to law in 2010, by vote of 219 members of representatives (Roller, 2011). In the process of this bill becoming a law, there were no republicans who voted for this bill, 34 democrats voted against this bill and 219 democratic members of congress voted for the bill to become a law, and 212 members of congress voted against the bill. This law will provide health care coverage for about 32 million uninsured Americans. This law will prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions. The law states that "insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions" (Roller, 2011). This law will also close the doughnut hole for Medicare patients. The ObamaCare law will eliminate this doughnut hole, providing better care and better prescription benefits to the elderly. The ObamaCare will also force all companies to provide health insurance coverage to their employees, they will force all individuals to get enrolled in health insurance coverage or they will be taxed highly. ObamaCare was designed to ensure that everyone would be able to afford health insurance and to attain health insurance. There should no longer be an uninsured population, living in the United States.
ObamaCare becoming a Law
In order for this bill to become a law it went through many different steps and parts of the government. Congress played a very important part in creating this bill, the bill was written by members of congress (Yehle, 2010). Once the bill was written, lobbying for votes began. The president along with members of congress who supported the bill and other outside agencies and lobbyist began to gain support for this bill. The bill was rushed through congress without members of congress gaining the opportunity to read the bill. Nancy Pelosi urged members of congress to sign the bill, and then they would have an opportunity to read the bill. This was a major error that congress made. Pelosi knew they had enough supporters of the bill to get the necessary signatures for the bill to pass. Pelosi utilized this opportunity to force the bill through, without it going through its natural process. Congress applied its constitutional power when they gained the votes to pass the bill. Congress exerted its constitutional power when they passed the pill by gaining 219 votes for the ObamaCare bill. Although congress got the necessary votes for the bill, it could not become a law because of checks and balances. Congress needed the executive branch of power; it needed the president to sign the bill, creating a law. Congress could not turn this bill from a bill into a law with these votes; it needed the president's signature.
ObamaCare and Judicial Review
This law has been heavily debated and discussed in the media, because of its contents and because of the way this bill was handled. This bill was taken to the Federal court in Florida, where in the eyes of the judge, this law as always hanging by absurdity (Cannon, 2011). ObamaCare supporters are outraged that the different states are trying to get this law to become unconstitutional. Virginia and Florida currently have rulings from their Federal Courts that declares this law unconstitutional. The Federal Court has utilized its power to review the details of this bill becoming a law. There are many details about the bill becoming a law that are unconstitutional, which has caused the Federal Court to make this declaration.
Some analyst believes these ruling by the Federal Court are a great example of checks and balances. They are taking away the power the congress exerted when they forced the members of congress to rush and sign a bill that they were not given an opportunity to…