By now, it should be well established to all but the most entrenched conservatives that the Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, is not a socialist political program in nature.
What has not been nearly so well established in popular discourse is just how inaccurate its name is. The ACA, or “Obamacare”, is not a bill designed to provide necessary care to the working class, nor is it a dramatic assault on for-profit medicine. In actuality, it is a massive injection of ever-decreasing working-class wealth into the already bloated coffers of the predatory health insurance industry — the same insurance industry made up of private corporations that were the driving force behind its creation.
A recent Wall Street Journal article detailed just how insurance companies and private employers will manipulate the law they had a heavy hand in creating. While some large employers are simply dropping employees from coverage and taking millions in savings after paying the inconsequential legal penalty for doing so, others are exploiting a nefarious and under-reported loophole that reeks with the stench of corporate lobbying.
Under the ACA as it is currently written, employers can continue to offer inadequate health care plans to poverty wage employees, so long as they provide an option for more comprehensive insurance. The fact that many workers cannot afford these more expensive plans is hardly mentioned by the WSJ, and the “choice” between risking impoverishment or risking health is macabrely presented as a choice workers are happy to make.
Many of these bare bones plans set limits on the amount of money the insurer will pay per month or per year for every aspect of health care, as well as limits on how many times the insured can see the doctor. Most plans donʼt cover essential services such as mental healthcare, prenatal care, or routine care for newborns. Once again, women, children, and the working poor are left out in the cold and insultingly told that getting to choose their sacrifice in the name of corporate profit is an empowering economic choice in a “free marketplace.” One would think the least a company could do is to stop charging a worker after they have reached the arbitrary dollar limit of care they can receive. An arbitrary profit- driven limit the worker had no choice in setting.
The creation and exploitation of these loopholes shines a glaring light on the purpose of 1,500+ health care lobbyists still prowling Capitol Hill more than three years after the ACA was signed into law. It also demonstrates why the Congressional Budget Office estimates that more than 30 million Americans will still lack access to health care after the ACA has run its course.
Capitalist heath care is a pursuit of capital and offers nothing to those who lack the green-backed lifeblood of a system that glorifies greed and exploitation. So long as we lack a Single Payer system viewed as a social necessity by the rest of the industrialized and post-industrial world, a health mind, body, and family will increasingly become a luxury of the fortunate instead of a fundamental right of every man, woman, and child.