The burning question of how can the U.S. government provide equalopportunity for each citizen at a low cost yet maintain high quality in health care, for some, was settled
with the Affordable Care Act in
March 2010, signed by President Barak Obama.

But even now, more questions have come up challenging the act, which is famously known as “Obamacare”, making it a hot topic for candidates in the upcoming elections.

“It has its good parts and bad parts,” said Holly Benge, professor and department chair of Vocational Nursing Education at Tyler Junior College.

One of the goals was to provide health coverage for young adults up to the age of 26 through their parents’ insurance plan. This would benefit an estimated 3.1 million young Americans, according to whitehouse.gov.

The act indicates its purpose is to provide equal health opportunities for all, but during the years of college the last thing on a student’s mind can be health insurance. Until, that is, he/she is faced with a life-threatening health condition and some sort of health coverage is needed.

“There’s going to come a point in somebody’s life where they need health care of some kind… so the quality of the health care is important. The affordability of the health care is important. Doctors’ willingness to help people is important. All of these things are important,” said Joseph Yazdanpanahi, sophomore majoring in Economics and a president of the Libertarian Party at TJC.

To better understand the idea of how social health care was born, Michael Mast, TJC government professor explained the act to be “…a continuation of Medicaid and Medicare,” Mast said, “It further expands health care for the individual, this is not new. Franklin Roosevelt initiated many of the programs we see today like Social Security and others.”

The act also mandates each citizen to have insurance and for insurance companies to accept members with pre-existing conditions, making this aspect of the act a concern about whether or not forcing each individual to have health insurance is constitutional.

Many have taken sides, but what is clear and defined by the law is after 2014, all Americans must have insurance coverage or pay a fine.

“It’s forcing something upon the citizens within the states that they have to pay for it whether they want it or not, and that’s unconstitutional,” said Jereme Dillards, a sophomore majoring in Nursing and Health Sciences.

The Affordable Care Act has been funded by cutting into Medicare’s and Medicaid’s budgets, which brings many concerns about the future of theses programs. One of the risks of lowering funds is the affect on the quality of services provided by hospitals, health centers and other organizations. Being unable to provide the best for citizens because of a coming shortage and poor distribution is a real concern.

“The physicians are not doing as much,” Benge said. “Everybody is not doing as much, because they’re not going to get paid as much. It’s all about the bottom-line dollars and cents.”

The results are still unclear of who will benefit from this act and exactly how much health coverage it really will provide for its citizens.

“Is there an answer better than regular insurance? There may be but why can’t we work and get our own insurance like we always have,” Benge said.

For information on the policies of the Affordable Care Act visit whitehouse.gov.

Belen Casillas

Verve Editor

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