‘Obamacare’ is here to stay, and that’s a good thing

Driving into school during the 2012 election season, my father’s and my ears were honed in on NPR blaring from our car speakers. Whether it was the most recent gaffe made by Governor Romney or the incessant need to continuously charge that President Obama was a socialist (or born in Kenyabirth certificate linked), we were constantly at odds with one another. One of our favorite topics was the infamous Obamacare, whose name was endorsed by President Obama himself.

This landmark piece of legislation passed in March 2010, was the grandest health care overhaul, since President Bush passed his Medicare “Modernization” Act nearly ten years ago. Helping those who are already insured by allowing children to stay on their parent’s plan until 26, banning lifetime limits and pre-existing condition denial, providing rebates if an insurance company doesn’t spend at least 80% on actual health care, and free preventive care, even those lucky enough to be able to afford insurance will find many reasons to love this legislation.

But while landmark in its achievement, Obamacare wasn’t without the rampant controversy that is found all too often in our current political climate. The polarization of lawmakers left people, such as my father and I, polarized too. Accusations were thrown left and right––quite literally––without many people ever even figuring out the true intent of the bill itself.

I myself am no exception. As a staunch supporter of our current President, as well as his biggest achievement since taking office, it’s no wonder that I was baffled to hear some of the attacks coming from my father. One of his favorites was: “Obamacare is a handout! Did you know you can get a free breastpump if you want? Don’t need it – here, have one!” It’s insubstantial details––one or two sentences in a 906 page bill––that become extrapolated and exploited by all of those in Washington.

Those “free” breast pumps my father was so disturbed by are actually covered by insurance, and serve a vital purpose in creating a healthier and more intelligent society for the betterment of our future. But enough about the handouts, they’re far from the only thing Obamacare has been scrutinized for. In fact, there are so many misconceptions surrounding this bill that only 59% of Americans actually know the law is still in place.

We’ll start with one of my personal favorite’s: Death Panels. While creepy by title alone, a favorite attack from the right is the idea that the ACA (Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare) sets up a board to euthanize our nation’s elderly. Now maybe it’s the human in me, but that sounds pretty awful. But why would President Obama and Democrats alienate the elderly: the most politically active demographic in the American political system? Well, they haven’t.

This myth owes its origin to none other than Sarah Palin, the right wing maverick. While it really is something out of a sci-fi movie, the death panels charge isn’t actually sound. These panels are actually a conglomeration of industry leaders, doctors, and patient advocates who are appointed by the president, and subsequently confirmed by the senate. Even more surprising is that your insurance companies actually had these independent boards long before Obamacare was even given it’s name. So don’t fret, the goal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or more popularly the “Death Panels” is not to euthanize our most precious citizens, but rather to make health care (especially medicare) more affordable for all citizens.

Another one of the outrageous claims surrounding Obamacare is perhaps even more disturbing than the idea of a death panel. Perusing some far right blogs, it’s not too hard to find something along the lines of, “Obamacare will track you by planting an RFID chip into you!” Yes, it’s actually being debated as to whether or not President Obama’s “socialist agenda” includes plans to track the entire U.S. population. Talk about expensive! Even modern socialist countries, like China, don’t track their citizens!

In truth, President Obama couldn’t care less about tracking your every move, at least through an RFID chip (the NSA is a whole other story). In fact, there are quite a few assumptions made to even get to these accusations. The actual bill refers to an implant, meaning things like pacemakers that need to collect data, not RFID Chips to collect unnecessary information. Besides, there hasn’t been enough R&D money recently to even allow that technology to be put on more than a couple of people at hacking conventions.

While it is comical that the Affordable Care Act has come up for repeal forty times by last count, there are some unfortunate side effects to this reckless politicking. Looking past these petty accusations, it’s apparent that thirty-two million uninsured Americans will now be able to access even the most basic of health resources. Regardless of their incessant opposition to what’s soon to become the next Medicare or Social Security, it’s time for Republicans to remember that Obamacare is, signed, sealed, and delivering.