Often, when we hear about the “insurance crisis” that existed in the United States before the Affordable Care Act was passed and continuing now, we hear emotional appeals, backed up with huge numbers of uninsured Americans. In particular, we hear that in 2008, 36,860,495 Americans were uninsured (Zhu & Truman, 2011). The idea is also supported by the fact that many Americans go without coverage because of the exorbitant cost of plans that cover the health issues they already have. Therefore, the law establishes subsidies that help patients afford coverage, prevents insurance companies from refusing to cover patients with pre-existing conditions, and provides a myriad of other benefits, like extending the benefits of Medicaid to many Americans. However, although these arguments might reason that we should rectify this system, the Affordable Care Act does not really meet the needs of most of uninsured Americans as it was proclaimed to do.
I argue that there is nothing wrong with having people uninsured and that the emotional appeal to our empathy in favor of universal health care is at worst disingenuous, and at best misinformed. As a huge portion of the uninsured do not wish to buy health insurance, and the majority cannot afford to, penalizing them for this failure is not compassionate, it is cruel. The argument I support is of an inductive nature.
(P) Main appeal of universal healthcare based on numbers of uninsured, and an empathic appeal to help the uninsured.
(P) Many people don’t want to buy health insurance.
(P) Many cannot afford to do so.
(C) Penalizing them for this failure is not compassionate, it is cruel.
We hear that even after the Affordable Care Act passed, as of September 2015, some 33 Million Americans do not have health insurance. While these numbers may seem unreasonably high, it is worth remembering that some 14.4 million of these people, are young people (Casselman & Barry-Jester, 2015). While young people might be uninsured, that often makes financial sense for them. They tend to be healthy and unlikely to need major medical attention. Further, for the limited care that some of them do need, they can often turn to clinics in their cities and on their college campuses, without needing to pay for an official doctors visit or hospital stay. Insurance is expensive, and if you are young and healthy, it may not make financial sense to buy it (Scheu, 2014). However, with the advent of the Affordable Care Act, young people are penalized for refusing to buy health insurance that they do not need, and often cannot afford.
Further, the government’s job is not to decide what products or services ordinary Americans will be forced to buy. Many people will equate the mandated purchase of health insurance with the mandatory purchase of auto insurance, but the two have on important distinction. With the purchase of auto insurance, one could simply choose …