Approved in 2010 by Congress, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made health insurance mandatory for every U.S citizen beginning in 2014. The law was built on three main principles: health insurance must be accessible for all, including individuals with pre-existing conditions; it must be affordable, especially for low-income families; and it must always be there, even for individuals with high costs.
The idea was, if everyone has health insurance, those who cannot pay will still be able to have coverage, and as a result, premiums would be lower. As we’ve seen over the last four years, these ideas may be good in theory but not necessarily good in practice.
Many families have been crippled by the high premiums, despite promises that it would be affordable. One consequence of not having insurance is, of course, paying a tax penalty (in effect through the end of 2018). So, these middle-income families are caught between a rock and a hard place—and not enough money to break free of either.
Unfortunately, that burden falls disproportionately on middle-class Americans who are carrying individual or family health insurance but do not qualify for subsidized premiums.
This issue is not being talked about much in the media, but many people, who make moderate incomes and run small businesses or are solo entrepreneurs, can simply no longer afford health insurance. It is not uncommon for a family premium to exceed $2,000 a month!
Freedom of Choice
As autonomous adults, we all should be able to make the best decisions for ourselves as individuals who have different needs and desires. Mandating that everyone must purchase health insurance goes against the foundational ideas of freedom and choice built into our Constitution.
Americans should have the right to purchase the health coverage of their choice, or to not purchase health coverage at all.
Healthshare Programs: A Solution to the Problem?
Freedom from insurance also means being able to choose other types of health care coverage. An option more and more people are turning to is healthshare programs, also called health care sharing ministries. Because they are not insurance, they do not function like insurance and aren’t regulated by the same rules.
Individuals who take the leap experienced a significant savings of 50% or more. Many healthshare plans also do not have narrow doctor networks that are common with most health insurance these days.
Everyone has different needs, so health care coverage shouldn’t treat everyone the same. Health share programs may have already figured this out and might be the solution to the problem, but the ACA is, once again, taking that option away from many.
Instead of forcing insurance on those who do not want insurance and resent paying high premiums/a penalty tax, we should instead turn our attention to making it more affordable and offering more options, like healthshare programs. After all, one-size-fits-all does not fit all.