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Voting on healthcare

Despite some arguments concerning Obamacare, student benefits has found strong support from both parties.

The health care debate may be coming to a close, as the Supreme Court is set to rule on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act this morning.
 
The Affordable Care Act, more popularly known as “Obamacare,” is a piece of legislation that was enacted in 2010.
 
“We have now just enshrined, as soon as I sign this bill, the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health care,” President Barack Obama said in his statement on March 23, 2010.
 
Not everyone seems to be buying into this “core principle,” or at least in the way that the Obama administration has gone about instituting it. 26 states, led by Florida, have filed a series of appeals to the Supreme Court questioning the constitutionality of the act.
 
The main provision being reviewed is the governmental mandate that all citizens purchase health insurance by 2014 or risk a minimum fine of $695. This is potentially in violation of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, part of which makes it illegal for the federal government to require citizens to buy any commercial product they may not want or need.
 
Barbara Collier, director of University Health Services at The University of Mississippi, spoke of how, ideally, everyone would have adequate health care. However, she also said more health care does not come without a large cost.
 
“The insurance company simply passes all these regulations down to the people who own the policy, and that’s what happened with our student health insurance,” Collier said.
 
The cost of health insurance for students bought through the university has gone up nearly $2,000 a year due to the regulations put in place by the Affordable Care Act.
 
For students, the major benefit of the Act is the provision that insurance companies are required to allow young adults to remain covered by their parent’s insurance until they are 26 years old, as opposed to the previous system that commonly ended coverage once the student graduated school. The Obama Administration said this provision allows freedom for students to do what they want when they get out of college, instead of choosing a job based on where they would get health benefits.
 
The White House released that 33,909 more people under 26 now have health care on their parents’ plan in Mississippi alone. UnitedHealthcare announced that regardless of the ruling, they will continue to allow people to remain on their family health insurance until they are 26.
 
Clyde Deschamp, professor and chair of general health professions at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, said he does not think all parts of the act will be ruled unconstitutional.
 
“The only part really in the crosshairs is the individual mandate that everyone buy insurance,” Deschamp said.
 
According to the Kaiser Foundation, a health policy analysis foundation, there were 555,300 uninsured people in Mississippi when this bill was first enacted, or one in every five people. Collier said one of the biggest reasons people file for bankruptcy is medical bills. Despite this large amount of people without insurance, a Reuters Poll showed that 56 percent of Americans oppose the law as a whole.
 
Deschamp said the reason for this opposition may be that very few people have an entirely clear understanding of the law and that opinion has been strongly influenced by political rhetoric.
 
“When polls address particular parts of the Affordable Care Act, there is less division along party lines,” Deschamp said. “For example, there is generally strong support for requiring insurance companies to insure students up to age 26. There is not so much support for the government to require individuals or small businesses to purchase health insurance or face a fine.”
 
Though the Supreme Court rules on this specific act, this does not appear to be the last that will be heard about reforming the country’s health care system.
 
The United States spends more per capita on health care than any other country in the world but still only ranks between 60th and 65th in health care satisfaction when compared to other countries.
 
“Some third world countries rank higher than we do,” Deschamp said. “So, health care reform is inevitable.”