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Obamacare vs. Romneycare

In: Social Issues

Submitted By skooter407
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ObamaCare vs. RomneyCare: Is There Really a Difference?

Before the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, there were over 50 million people in the United States who did not have health insurance coverage. Governor Mitt Romney says that the health care plan he passed in Massachusetts, known as “RomneyCare” is fundamentally different than “ObamaCare” and will end up becoming a nationwide health care system forced upon the American people. Are the two plans really that different? The 2012 Presidential campaigns have demonstrated that Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have different visions for the country, yet both men share common views in healthcare.
The centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act was created on the idea of the individual mandate. The individual mandate states that all citizens are required to buy health insurance. Most people tend to purchase health insurance only when they need it, such as in an accident or a sudden illness. This presented a moral challenge as it was questionable whether people could be forced to purchase insurance they don’t need. However, people are required to purchase car insurance so this was used as justification to force the purchase of health insurance. Another key justification is the fact that all hospitals are required to treat people in their emergency rooms regardless of their ability to pay. This creates a burden on the hospital as it raises their costs, so they must recover their losses from the paying patients. Under this type of system the costs go up for everyone within the health care system. Under ObamaCare, a person would be required to pay a penalty of $695 per year just as a state would require an uninsured motorist to pay an annual fee for not having car insurance. The penalty would be higher for those people with higher income levels; however the cost would be much lower for people in the lower-income tax brackets, but cannot be more than $2,085 per family. RomneyCare also instituted a penalty for not having health insurance, set at $1,200 per year. The amounts are different but the provision is essentially the same: you must buy health insurance or pay a penalty.
Both ObamaCare and RomneyCare create some expectations and requirements on the part of employers who offer health insurance for their employees. The President’s plan instructs all companies with 50 or more employees to cover all of their employees or be forced to pay a penalty of $2,000 per employee every year. Governor Romney’s plan in Massachusetts also includes a requirement for employers to pay for health coverage, but requires coverage in companies that employ 11 or more people. However, the penalty for offering no coverage is only $285 per employee per year. The President contends that increasing the penalties will encourage companies to purchase some level of coverage for their employees, thereby increasing the number of insured and raising the total number of people in the risk pool which will lower everyone’s costs. The Governor contends that if the fee is too high then it will hurt small business by forcing companies to lay off employees or hire fewer people because their costs are too high in order for the company to compete effectively. In either case, the employer mandate is intended to encourage all businesses to cover their employees with health insurance.
Both Obama and Romney agree that all health insurance companies should be required to cover people with pre-existing medical conditions. This means that people who have severe illness or disease such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and many other health conditions would be covered where in the past they would be turned away from any insurance company. ObamaCare requires all patients with pre-existing conditions be covered and prevents an insurance company from “dropping” a patient from coverage after they become sick. RomneyCare in Massachusetts forces the same requirements on health care insurers in their state, but limits the term to only six months. Massachusetts also bans companies from dropping their patients from coverage when they fall ill. Under the Romney plan, the pre-existing conditions mandate is only enforceable as long as the patient maintains continuous coverage. The health care insurance company is still able to deny first-time patients with pre-existing conditions.
There are many young adults in the United States who do not have health care coverage for several reasons because they may still be going to school or be unemployed. Some parents welcome the opportunity to keep their children insured until they get jobs of their own, but this is not possible on most health care plans. The ObamaCare plan offers the ability for any young adult age 18-26 to have the option to remain on their parents’ employer-provided health insurance plan. This provision was a key component for the President to help the country reduce its healthcare costs. The RomneyCare plan in Massachusetts offers this option as well, but at a reduced benefit rate. Young adults in Massachusetts can stay on their parents’ health care plans for two years after they can no longer be claimed as a dependent, or until they turn 26, whichever comes first. Governor Romney was originally a supporter of this provision, but has since opposed it when he entered the presidential race.
Both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have presented different paths for the country, but agree on some of the main points of healthcare. Both men created health care plans that worked for many people, reduced the number of uninsured, and helped to lower the costs for everyone. Even though both men use different methods of reaching essentially the same goal, their intentions were of the best and all Americans will benefit from such great ideas coming from great men. Perhaps our politics divide us all, but common healthcare goals bring us all together.

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