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ken_bw.jpg Ethicalego Speaks

Ethicalego (Kenneth Brooks) discusses current events from a critical thinking perspective rarely expressed elsewhere

 The House of Representatives attack the Affordable Health Care Act 2010.

By Kenneth Brooks



The U.S. House of Representatives voted 244-185 Wednesday to repeal in full the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. The news media and many politicians label the House action as a vote to repeal President Obama's health care law or Obama Care. They try to make the vote a symbolic display of opposition to Obama's law and the Supreme Court's decision to uphold it. In fact, those 244 votes was another example of Congress failing its duty to provide for the general welfare of the people.

Political leaders and news media called the Affordable Care Act ObamaCare since Congress passed it in 2010. This personalized label for the law biased Americans' thinking about it. They also muddled Americans thinking about tax cuts and jobs by mislabeling the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 and Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 as (President George) Bush Tax Cuts.

President Obama may have introduced a national health care plan to Congress. Nevertheless, he lacked the authority to pass laws. Only Congress has constitutional authority to pass laws. Therefore, 539 members of Congress help to shape the final Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 as they did the 2001 and 2003 tax relief laws. The restructured Health Care Act passed by Congress in 2010 was the people's law.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio said, "We are resolved to have this law go away, and we're going to do everything we can to stop it." Boehner blithely makes this remark as if his goal to destroy the people's Health Care Act is a noble goal. Instead, it was an ignoble failure by the House majority to consider the best interests of Americans. They have the duty to fix the health care plan, because adequate health care probably is fourth behind people's welfare concerns for food, shelter, and safety.

The House vote would have been reasonable if it settled a dispute over competing health care plans. Even Affordable Health Care Act supporters must recognize flaws in the law. Instead, House members voted to repeal the people's Affordable Health Care Act without a replacement. The House majority asserts that their opposition to the law centers on costs, especially costs to small and medium sized business owners. However, this reasoning is dishonest that selectively considers only one group's costs associated with health care and not another.

Healthcare costs affect workers and their families too. Perhaps workers could pay for health care or buy health insurance independent of employers' contribution if employers paid them adequate wages. Employers incur less labor costs by paying the reduced group rate for employees' health insurance than the costs of paying each employee a living wage. The Affordable Health Care Act makes health insurance for employees compulsory for employers to prevent those that provide it from suffering a competitive disadvantage with American competitors that do not provide it. Nevertheless, small and medium sized employers want to lessen labor costs by paying low wages and by not paying lower group-rate health insurance premiums for employees.

Small and medium-sized business owners may reason that no matter the low pay, the jobs they create is a better situation for workers than the condition of workers being unemployed. Perhaps this is true. However, business owners do not create jobs from selflessness. They employ workers for their labor that creates or that increases value in a product for profit making. Nevertheless, many business owners expect taxpayers and workers with health insurance to subsidize their labor costs and profits when hire workers at low pay and without health insurance coverage.

Employees that receive less than a living wage and without health insurance are one moderate-level illness or medical emergency of a family member away from devastating debt. They will use hospital emergency room service for primary care with or without the ability to pay for the service. Hospitals will spread the costs of unpaid bills for medical treatment to other patients that can pay, to people with health insurance or to government health care programs. Hospitals must do this or go bankrupt.

Millions of voters will cheer and gloat how Congress stuck it politically to Obama by repealing ObamaCare. Few of them will associate the loss of the people's Affordable Health Care Act with the increases they experience yearly in medical costs, health insurance premiums, and taxes that support health care for employees without health insurance.

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