Affordable Care Act

The "Affordable Care Act" is a shortened version of the formal name (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) for a major reform of health insurance signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. It is often referred to as Obamacare.

Many advocates of the Act see the term Obamacare as pejorative and prefer Affordable Care Act as, in their view, an apt descriptor of what they see as one of the law’s principal benefits: making healthcare more available, accessible, and fair, particularly to those who struggle to afford it. (Over the past few years, however, even proponents use the term Obamacare as an acceptable alternative--undoubtedly encouraged by President Obama, who expressed fondness for the term during a 2012 presidential debate.) To some, the Act represents a desirable step toward universal coverage.

Detractors, who typically refer to the Act as Obamacare, view it as another instance of government overreach and imposition on personal freedom - especially in its requirement of requiring all Americans to have health insurance. Some also point out that the Act has had the unintended (but predictable) effect of jobs lost, and does little to improve an overly expensive system, dominated by pharmaceutical companies and health insurers and characterized by poor outcomes.

QUESTIONS TO PLAY WITH:

-Overall, do you see this act as moving the country in a good direction?  Why or why not?

-Overall, do you see this act as helping the country become healthier?  Why or why not?

-If you disagree with the action taken in this health legislation, what would your (alternative) proposal be to help the country move in a better, healthier direction?

-Why do you think this issue has become so divisive?  Shouldn’t “health” be something we can all agree on? (or maybe not?) If not, why not?

Contributors: 

John Backman

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