A Discussion on the Affordable Care Act that has the Purpose of Giving Universal Health Care
Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s idea of general will is the force of the people as a whole to better the common good. The Affordable Care Act (also known as Obama-care or ACA) is for the purpose of giving universal health care access to most American citizens and can be very useful to our society if backed by the general will. There is a small void of known as “free riders” that do not qualify for Medicaid (very poor health care recipients) but also cannot afford private health care from companies. There are also some that cannot receive health care because of pre-existing conditions and health care companies do not want to take risks on those customers. Therefore, this small group is not covered by health care, however when brought to the hospital for emergencies, they cannot pay and the hospital is legally obliged to take care of them. This then causes increased prices from insured, every-day Americans. So contrary to many opinions, the Affordable Care Act is fundamentally ideal for the current health care crisis. It creates universal health insurance that will decrease the premium prices that averaged, insured Americans currently pay because of the free riders. In turn, this void of uninsured citizens will become insured and hospitals no longer have to worry about uninsured patients.
Shortly after the article about the Health Mandate explains the impact of the “free riders” on the insured, it states, “The federal government picks up much of the tab, and hospitals and insurers pass on the rest to their paying customers in higher fees. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that in 2008 the uninsured shifted $43 billion of health care costs to others” (pg. 4). As mentioned above, the ACA could save our government, and us billions of dollars if the universal health care law is put into play. The general will of America is non-existent. Our society is almost entirely made up of particular will, however Rousseau would argue that the Affordable Care Act can help push us slowly back to the general will. Ultimately, Rousseau states that whatever can be done to serve the well being of society should be done. He states: As long as several men together consider themselves to be a single body, they have only a single will, which relates to their common preservation and the general welfare. Then all the mechanisms of the State are vigorous and simple, its maxims are clear and luminous, it has no tangled, contradictory interests; the common good is clearly apparent everywhere, and requires only good sense to be perceived. (Porter 429) The Affordable Care Act meets the exact criteria of Rousseau’s general will; it will better the current well being of society. Wanting to create a better health care system to better society is a genuine concern that a ruler or rulers should have for his sovereignty. However, republicans in the U.S. have opposed the act.
How it works
Those who oppose it claim it is destroying the liberty of the United States. They may claim that the general will of society is for freedom and liberty and not to regulate health care and what Americans chose to participate in. They may say that regulation of health care is, in fact, limiting freedom and our free market economy. All of which, in turn would be backed by Rousseau’s theory of general will, considering that, that truly was the general will. However Rousseau would argue with them, “When private interests start to make themselves felt and small societies to influence the larger one, the common interest changes and is faced with opponents … the general will is no longer the will of all” (Porter 429). Keep in mind that liberty is exactly what the ACA is not about. There are no attempts to limit liberty in the ACA, only generating a better health insurance system. Therefore, Rousseau would tell those opposed to the ACA that they are only hindering society by blocking the general will from bettering it. The Affordable Care Act is strictly about creating a health care system that will defuse the health care crisis, ultimately leading to a more efficient government.