In parts one and two, just some of the effects of the Affordable Care Act were described in business, and personal finance, respectively. Businesses will have to lay off workers, cut hours, stop any plans for expansion, and often raise prices. Families’ premiums are going to increase drastically and a penalty tax will occur if they do not have insurance; and if the head of the household is laid off, purchasing insurance out of pocket would not be an option many times, as it is very expensive. Now we looked at those areas, let’s take a brief view of the effects on the medical field itself.
Because this is a health care law, the medical field is going to be heavily impacted. While the bill includes some good sounding parts such as the patient bill of rights, the effects of the bill are the important issue. The act will add in over 32 million people to the system which is already stretched thin. However, this act does not have any section which plans for the addition of new doctors. If the medical system is already stretched thin, what will happen when 32 million more people are added? The answer is a decrease in access to primary care physicians, and increase in wait times for those who do have access.
In Massachusetts, a similar bill was enacted statewide which claimed to have the same benefits as the Affordable Care Act. However, when this bill was enacted, two major problems arose; first, was a reduction in primary care physicians accepting new patients, and the second was a drastic increase in wait time for patients (“Physicians, the Affordable Care Act, and Primary Care: Disruptive Change or Business as Usual?.” JGIM: Journal of General Internal Medicine 26.8 (2011): 934-937). If the bill enacted in Massachusetts had major problems, why would it be any different on a national level? It won’t be, in fact it will only be much worse, as a much larger demographic is involved.
There will also be new taxes added to the medical system as well. One example is a 2.3% tax on medical device makers (from Congressman Jeff Duncan’s Full List of Obamacare Tax Hikes). Anyone who understands basic economics knows that this means the companies that do the research and experiment with technology will have less capital to invest. Less capital means less investment, hence less development in medical technology.
Another stipulation of the bill is a $500,000 salary cap on medical executives’ pay. One may ask why this is a part of the bill, as this is seemingly an unnecessary regulation that does not directly involve the medical field. In this case, a limit on the salary that one can make as a medical executive is simply a government over-reach, and stepping into the area of government run health care. Given that the bill is nearly 2,700 pages in length, it should come as no surprise that a regulation like this is included.
This will conclude the 3 part series on how the Affordable Care Act will be affecting you. Keep in mind, the bill is extremely lengthy, and all the taxes, regulations and effects cannot be concisely put into a short series. However, based on what you have read, do you still think that this act is a good idea for the United States? Higher premiums, higher taxes, and places of government over-reach in regulation are all quintessential parts of this bill. Not to mention that 16,000 new IRS agents are provided for by this bill (raise a red flag anyone?)
Do you really want the federal government running your health care? Already some states such as South Carolina have introduced legislation that would criminalize the implementation of this law. The “South Carolina Freedom of Health Care Protection Act” says that the federal health care law “is invalid in this State, is not recognized by this State, is specifically rejected by this State, and is null and void and of no effect in this State.” It sounds like South Carolina could be gearing up to defy the United States federal government again!
However doomsday-sounding this bill may be, there is still a chance that it could be declared unconstitutional. A lawsuit filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation states that the bill is unlawful because of the origin of the bill, citing the Origination Clause of the Constitution. The bill was ruled Constitutional by the Supreme Court under Congress’ power to tax. However, all tax laws must start in the House of Representatives. The Affordable Care Act originated in the Senate. Therefore, if our government is still following the Constitution as the law of the land, the Affordable Care Act is null and void. We shall have to wait and see if this case will continue through the court system though, as this case may very well be the last hope of saving our health care system from becoming socialized medicine.
Link to article on the Washington Times about the Origination Clause case: