When U.S. President Barack Obama signed the new healthcare-reform bill into law yesterday (Tuesday), it ended months of political bickering and maneuvering, and began a new chapter in the nation's healthcare saga – one in which the country will feel the effects of this sweeping, costly and controversial policy overhaul.
The fact is that many Americans will have healthcare for the first time ever. Offsetting that bright spot, however, is the reality that the program could add trillions in debt to the country's already burgeoning national debt, further complicating the matter.
Going forward, it will now be left to the pundits, analysts and the healthcare industry to decipher what these provisions really mean for the industry, for individuals, for taxpayers – and even for investors.
But here at Money Morning, we wanted to know what you think about this new law. That's why we made healthcare reform the inaugural topic in our new "Question of the Week" feature.
Money Morning Question of the Week: U.S. President Barack Obama's controversial healthcare proposal is now law. What do you think? How do you feel? Do you think it's a beneficial or harmful move for you as a consumer, as an investor, and as a taxpayer? What do you think it means for our nation's economy?
What follows is a sampling of the enthusiastic and passionate responses that we received. Make sure to also check out next week's "Question of the Week," a query that seeks your thoughts on the growing levels of U.S. debt.
Attention: Elected Honorable Senators and Representatives in the U.S. Congress.
If you voted for this HealthCare legislation … you're fired, as of the next election! Your service to our country is no longer wanted or needed. We will vote you all out of office.
Moreover, we will seek to pass legislation to take away your government healthcare package, and your lifetime retirement benefits, so you will be just like the rest of us. You are not SPECIAL; you are not entitled to anything that every other American citizen is not entitled. You are not smarter than the rest of us. You are not going to get by with this sleight of hand politically inspired and instigated legislation for socialized medicine. Shame on you!
Americans hate what is going on and we are aware. Politicians … beware!
This legislation is not about healthcare – it is a tax!
I will actively campaign against reelection for every senator and representative who voted to pass this despicable legislation.
This healthcare legislation is not about improving health care for Americans and non-Americans living here; it is about control of people living in the USA. We want our Constitutional rights and freedom to choose back.
Only the states have the power to mandate legislation imposing citizens to do anything; not the federal government. The federal government has no statutory authority to force citizens to pay for health insurance. This is a form of federal taxation (anytime something is compulsory as opposed to voluntary, it is a tax and not a contribution).
Good-bye Big Brother. Go somewhere else. President Obama … inflict your socialism upon people who want it. Americans don't.
– Heidi Wurst, Wichita, KS
President Obama's healthcare plan will bankrupt the country. You cannot have finite resources (money) and infinite demand for expensive medical services.
– MD in Tennessee
A Malodorous Proposal?
Who is not covered by the Healthcare Bill? Will the president be covered? His staff? If not, why not? After all, the president proclaimed this program's greatness. What about Congress?
If people are not working, how will they pay for – or buy – health insurance?
Something smells …
A Good Start
Thank God … now I have a chance. I had no chance before. We now have a foot in the door. It's a good place to start.
Are We Moving Forward?
I lived 30 years in a Communist regime and I believe the democratic and capitalist systems are the best. But I will say that under the Communist regime I didn't have problems with health insurance and I had access to free education and the university, too. In school, there was competition, but even a poor student could go to the university. But now?
– Felicia Popa
Bad Law/Big Lie
This is a bad law that could have been done better. An incremental approach that unfolded over several years would have been much better for Americans. Tort reform wasn't even considered. Taxes go nowhere but up over time. Somehow this country became the beacon for people all over the world without these healthcare laws. Now the Democrats tell us it's a "right." Where does this [stuff] end? This law subsidizes poor behavior and irresponsibility. To say the Healthcare Bill is a deficit-reduction plan is the biggest lie I've ever heard.
– John R.
It's Time to Take Care of Everyone
I think it is a good start. We should have had it long ago, I know the Republicans hate it, but they didn't hate the surplus [President George H.] Bush gave them when he came into office, or the two huge tax cuts that would have just about covered the cost of the new healthcare program.
We should take care of all our people and how can we turn our backs on them.
A Scary Turning Point
We have reached a turning point in this nation and unless we turn back soon, we will see a transformation that will cost every American their freedom. We have been traveling this road for years, but this administration is propelling us toward socialism at warp speed. The new healthcare legislation creates disincentives to work, disincentives to invest and disincentives to start or grow a small business.
I worked seven days a week for 35 years to obtain what I have. I worked two jobs, while raising kids. I worked jobs that no one else would take. I lived in travel trailer with two kids for eight years. I know what it is like to do without. I ate canned food, wore thrift store clothes. My kids didn't wear disposable diapers: I couldn't afford them. I didn't have a washer and dryer. I washed my clothes in the bathtub and hung them out on tree limbs in my yard.
Yet through it all I was never on the public dole. I grew my own food rather than ask for a handout. I have paid my taxes and paid my bills. I never made stupid choices. All my life, I have lived within my means. I worked very hard to have what I have. I do not want to give what I have worked for to someone who won't take a menial job and thinks they deserve something for nothing.
For many years, I didn't have health insurance. Contrary to "popular opinion," healthcare coverage is not a right. It must be earned, just like a paycheck. I do agree that certain aspects of the healthcare bill are warranted and necessary. However, the bulk of the bill is a power grab aimed to redistribute the wealth of us Americans who have worked and struggled to get ahead.
I know what it is like to struggle and I have a heart for those in need. I currently give away 20% of my income to the needy, sponsor nine children in Third World countries and donate my personal time and energy to help the less fortunate. I donated the finances to drill 10 water wells in India.
I am not stingy. I have taken one vacation in my 36 years of marriage. I spend my disposable income to help others. I worked very hard for my money and I want to choose who I help and when. I do not need the government telling me how to spend my money or my time. But as we all know, the healthcare legislation has nothing to do with helping Americans, and everything to do with government control. Yes, Terree [see earlier note from another reader], something does smell … and I am mad as hell!
I hope Americans have enough common sense to boot these power-mongers out of office – ASAP!
Absolutely Against It
I am absolutely against it. I don't understand: Why change a working system for maybe 30% of the uninsured and hurt 70% of those who are reasonably happy with their insurance? Also, they didn't include interstate selection and legal limits to control awards of litigants. The whole bill reeks of political corruption, and is not bi-partisan. This is as un-American as it can get.
Why was it necessary to create a disaster for 30% of uninsured versus 70% of people with health insurance who are satisfied? Why was this bill missing an interstate insurance selection? Why was it missing a tort reform,which several states already have on their books? In fact, we don't have a representative government anymore! This bill is as un-American as it can get!
– Seymour Berlin
Good for the Economy
While it is important to prevent the nightmare cases where critically ill people were literally killed by the discontinuation of treatment due to insufficient funds, it is a human-rights abuse to force health insurance on the public under penalty of a fine. This is particularly true, since many do not want the degrading medical examinations some health-insurance providers may want.
At the end, President Obama let the cat out of the bag: It is a big health service saving! There he is right – it's good for the economy.
– Inez A.
[Editor's Note: Is there a topic you want to see covered as a "Question of the Week" feature? Then let us know by e-mailing Money Morning at email@example.com. Make sure to put the words "question of the week suggestion" in the subject line. We reserve the right to edit responses for length, grammar and clarity.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to participate – via e-mail or by posting their comments directly on the Money Morning Web site. Check out next week's question – posted above – about the growing federal debt load.]
News and Related Story Links:
- The New York Daily News:
It's Official: President Obama Signs Healthcare Reform Bill
- Money Morning:
Obama Targets Insurers with $950 Billion Health Care Reform Plan
- Money Morning News:
What the Government Isn't Telling You About the New Healthcare Bill
- Money Morning News Analysis:
Drug Companies and Hospitals Get a Boost from Healthcare Reform
- Money Morning News:
Shaky CBO Deficit Projections Help Healthcare Reform Bill Pass House
- Money Morning News:
Healthcare Reform May Not Cut Spending or the Federal Deficit
Health Care Reform Bill Summary: A Look At What's in the Bill
- Money Morning Question of the Week Feature:
We Want to Hear From You: What Do You Think About the New Healthcare Law?