Today marks four years since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. And yet the law still remains one of the most controversial.
Some critics have continued to question the effectiveness of law, especially when we've seen certain individuals take advantage of similar large government programs in the past.
First, it is important to understand that some level of abuse is inherently present in any large program, both in the public and private sectors alike. In fact, I would even argue that, especially looking back at an unregulated Wall-Street during the previous administration, there has been far more, and far worse, abuse and corruption within the private sector.
Second, although no one denies that the Affordable Care Act is far from perfect, is seems premature to discredit and disqualify the significant benefits the law has. In fact, without the law, millions of Americans would have continued to be denied access to affordable and quality health insurance.
Without the law, cancer survivors like myself, children with preexisting conditions, young adults under the age of 26, hardworking taxpayers, and seemingly healthy individuals, would be forced into bankruptcy if additional illness strikes.
Going a step further, it seems dishonest for certain groups to downplay the impact other large government programs have had, over the simple fact that each has witnessed certain levels of abuse.
For example, I've heard many on the right criticize the government for providing unemployment benefits to those searching for work, arguing that it creates a greater sense of dependence, and dissuades people from working.
There is no justifying the fact that there have been certain people who game the system (in the same way that certain CEOs have abused the financial system for their own personal gains). But without such government programs, millions more would unjustly suffer.
My mother came to America when she was 18. She worked a full-time job at a nursing home for minimum wage ($3.25 an hour) while enrolled full-time at a community college. To help pay for her education, she also took student loans. After graduating, she got married to my dad and found work for a meager salary of $20,000 a year. While I was born and my father continued struggling to start his own business, my mother became the head breadwinner of our family. She also needed to take advantage of certain tax breaks aimed at working families, such as the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit. After seven years of working hard, however, her company laid her off because of downsizing. She then had to survive off unemployment benefits for 6 months as she had her second child, my younger sister.
Without help from the government, my parents would not have been able to grow their small business into a successful enterprise, and we would not have been able to move out of poverty.
The point is that hardworking, honest people should not have to suffer because they are put in situations they have no control over.
And that is exactly the purpose of the Affordable Care Act. That is also the purpose of many of the President’s initiatives, and why I am such an incredibly strong supporter of his Administration.
Yes there are kinks to be fixed. But when GOP leaders are offering absolutely ZERO help; when they have simply offered over 40 times to repeal the law instead of trying to improve it; when they are now rejecting the same ideas they originally advocated for and requested the President to compromise on (ie. the individual mandate, or state-based exchanges); when they have publicly supported obstructionism over compromise; I consider that a far worse abuse of the system than Obamacare or any other law and initiative the President puts forward.
If you still disagree, I urge you to checkout healthcare.gov and see for yourself.