Obama's Health-Care Plan: Pros and Cons Debate

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Obama’s Health-Care Plan: Pros and Cons Debate

[Editor’s note: This article was originally hosted on MyFamilyDoctorMag.com, our sister site.
It’s now featured here as part of our new general-health section.]

Pros and Cons of Obamacare

by Leigh Ann Otte

In 2009, we asked two doctors to debate the pros and cons of President Barack Obama’s health-care plan. Back then, the plan was an idea. Now, it’s a law, the Affordable Care Act. (Opponents derisively call it Obamacare.)

Some of the details of Obama’s health-care plan have changed since 2009, but the overall goals remain similar. For example, as planned back then, insurance companies will soon not be allowed to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. And small businesses now get a tax credit to help them provide health insurance.

You can see more highlights of the current Affordable Care Act at Obama’s website. (Of course, given the source, they’re highlighted with a positive spin.)

Rules of Engagement

We invited each participant to write an argument, then read the opponent’s argument and write a rebuttal. Neither was allowed to read the other’s initial argument before writing his own, and neither could read the other’s response before rebutting.

We asked our debators, if the United States does adopt a universal health-care plan, is Obama’s headed in the right direction? Here’s their take.

You can share your opinion in the comments section below the debate.

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Pro argument: “The Obama health-care plan is headed in a positive direction.”

Patrick Whelan, M.D, Ph.D., practicing rheumatologist and director of Catholic Democrats, “a national non-profit organization of concerned Catholics.”

The Obama health-care plan is headed in a positive direction by all historic indicators.

It began with February’s expansion [2009] of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program after years of failure, providing insurance to millions of additional vulnerable children. Then, the passage of the economic stimulus bill helped states maintain current levels of care for their poorest citizens. Now, a new secretary, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, with a dedicated commitment to the common good has been nominated. [Sebelius was sworn in as health secretary in 2009.]

The administration has undertaken a summit [in 2009] at the White House to explore all the possibilities, with four particularly key objectives.

The first is finding ways to insure every American. At a time of foreclosures and job losses, the last worry anyone needs is whether they can get thoughtful care with appropriate follow-up if an emergency befalls them. Current law provides for continued insurance under COBRA if a job is lost, but this is incredibly expensive for families—particularly if someone has no job. But SCHIP expansion aside, more than 40 million people still have no insurance.

A second objective has been transparency, so the remarkably expensive enterprise of medical care doesn’t become a new pork barrel of inefficiency. This leads to the third goal: cost efficiency.

Tremendous efficiencies are possible because they are currently being achieved by our economic competitors around the world. Increased health-care efficiencies were probably the leading engine for the economic expansion during the 1990s. The United States currently has the developed world’s most inefficient system, costing more than twice as much as other systems while performing poorly on many health indices.

The Survival Doctor's Guides to Burns and Wounds, by @James HubbardThus, a fourth goal is heightened quality, like that supported by the significantly expanded medical research in the stimulus bill. Better health, after all, is a goal shared by everyone, and Obama has moved us a giant step closer by forcefully articulating these four objectives.


Con argument: “President Barack Obama’s health-care plan at best is not reform at all.”

President Barack Obama’s health-care plan at best is not reform at all, and at worst will expand the poorest performing segments of our health-care system and further erode what little choice currently exists at the individual patient and provider level.

“Universal health-care coverage,” according to the president’s plan, would be largely driven by enrollment in public programs, such as Medicaid and SCHIP, in which the government sets benefit levels and provider reimbursement rates. Being nominally “covered” in a public health insurance program is of little value if prohibitively low reimbursement rates and administrative hassles prevent physicians from accepting you as a patient.

  • kim

    I have a great idea – my daughter wants to be a doctor….so let’s just put her through medical school on federal loans….and not take out insurance (pay the penalty) we will have out own doctor anyway….right?

  • kim

    Where’s the voice of the people? Don’t we have a vote?

  • http://www.facebook.com/genejohnson4 Gene Johnson

    Here’s a little update for you. My family will be paying the penalty and NOT having health insurance for the first time in my life in 2014. (We can’t afford it). I just found out another couple we know (who also have a family business) are NO longer health insured. Yeah, really working well isn’t it? The payees are going broke. Keep printing the money from the Fed, because that’s all you’ll have. Anyone who thinks this health care bill is a good thing, hold onto your rose colored glasses. You will be needing them.

    • Katie08

      The National Health System (in one form or another ) is successfully operational in just about EVERY other developed country in the world. Now ask yourself, WHY is America the ONLY so-called advanced western country (in the world) that does NOT have a national health system? The answer is that American citizens believe all the paranoia, the lies, the deception and propaganda of the self-seeking Republican Party – the same Party that led you down the garden path with the illegal war in Iraq that cost (and is STILL costing) thousands of innocent lives, countless BILLIONS of dollars and the destabilisation of the whole middle east. Now WHO would you rather believe? Let me tell you (from experience), the national health care system WORKS – it is effective, it is EVERYONE’S RIGHT to expect decent health care, no matter how rich or poor they are. All of us in advanced countries like Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Sweden et al have thrown away our rose coloured glasses and KNOW how good national health is. WE LIVE WITH IT! You, Mr Johnson, have not really experienced it – your worries and paranoia are unfounded. Give it a chance!

  • chris kluth

    i can’t wait for something to be done with the ski rocketing prices the insurane companies are charging the little guy. my income is 29,000.00 a year and i pay $ 671.00 a month for health care, i don’t know how much longer i can afford insurance when they go up like this

    • Katie08

      It is people like YOU, chris kluth who will most benefit by a national health care system. Trust me, I live in Australia with our national health care system (called Medibank). 99.9% of Australians are glad we have it. We have one of the best and fairest medical systems in the world. National health benefits those people who cannot afford insurance – it takes care of people who are disadvantaged (especially little children from poor families). It is the RIGHT thing to do. Yes, it may cost the rich a little more (and my husband and I are in the top 1% of earners down here), but most of us are pleased to pay that little extra to ensure that no one gets turned away for essential medical services. Give it a chance!

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  • scott

    could someone explain to me why it cost so much when you do go in the hospital.

    • Katie08

      It is true, health care is NOT cheap for the following reasons: Doctors and medical specialists wages are high and let’s face it, they DO deserve it after years and years of hard study. When you compare their wages with that of an American football player, it’s a no brainer that doctors, nurses and other medical professionals richly deserve their high wages. But this is not the only expense: You have the high and ongoing costs of medical research, expensive maintenance and usage of high tech medical equipment, the cost of ancillary health-related employment eg caterers, cleaners, food and food preparation, 24:7 health care, prescriptions (and we all know the HUGE profits prescription companies make, eh?). The list goes on. When people go into hospital they have a RIGHT to expect the best care available. This can ONLY be done when an effective national health care system is in place. This is WHY your current ineffective system in America is failing and failing badly – there are people being turned away, people dying because they can’t afford critical medical care, children with rotten teeth because their parents can’t afford for them to get dental care. Ask yourself, is THIS the country you want to live in? Give Obama’s health care system a chance – you won’t regret it. The rest of the developed world are amazed at WHY Americans are fighting a national health care system that will BENEFIT you in the long run? Don’t believe the negative paranoia. The Republicans only know what they are AGAINST – they never stand for anything positive!

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  • Oxy

    I don’t like Obamacare. I also hate being under the control of government when it comes to health care. I’m capable of making MY OWN decisions about MY OWN health care and not be told what i can and cannot do.

  • James

    Government is the reason were in this mess to begin with…if not for the pesticides and gmo the health in this country would be a 100% better. If I’m supposed to have a choice I want my fourced insurance to pay for vitamins and minerals were not getting in our food because of synthetic fertilizers and industrial farms. Research youngevity, max gerson, essiac, and hoxey. Thes are choices we should have but because of government we do not. If I live a healthy life style I deserve what I get…if I live an unhealthy life style I deserve what I get…if something happens I should have had catastrophic insurance a much cheaper solution for emergencies. Flouride Harvard study shows lowered iq in children government approved one of many studies. Read the literature and see. For yourself. CDC says children should not use flouride but its in all the toothpast governments not trying to stop that…..You should rely on yourself not everyone else….The reason we can’t be self sufficient is because we have to pay the government just to be alive….land tax, fishing lic, hunting lic….food and water are the most important things we need to at least live and because of government we have to pay…next time you vote. Vote for freedom not reliance

    • Katie08

      Fluoride has been used internationally for decades without any side effects. Fluoride may cause some negative side effect in less than 0.001% of children – let’s not get hysterical. Not everyone has the means (financial or otherwise) to purchase vitamins, attend gyms etc etc. Does it occur to you that not EVERYONE has choices? National healthcare provides good quality health care to EVERYONE especially the children of disadvantaged families that do not have the choices you have. National healthcare is alive and WELL and in operation throughout every other significant developed country in the world. Even Cuba has a better healthcare system than America. The USA has the shameful status as being in line with the poorest countries in Asia and Africa as not providing its citizens with a basic right = a good, stable national health care system that will take care of EVERYONE. Stop listening to Republican paranoia and read about the benefits of national health. It may cost the rich a few dollars more but the benefits provided far outweigh the disadvantages. James, give it a chance!

      • The Angey Democrat

        Even Cuba… Really have you visited Cuba for crying out loud… get a book and read before you post…

        • Katie08

          Answer = yes I have been to Cuba! Have you? Just about any country in the world has a better, more superior health system than America, my dear.

    • tom clark

      Voting doesn’t work, If it did, they wouldn’t use it…never has never will, as long as the Federal Reserve and the NWO globalists stay in power. Iceland is the way to go…jail all the bankers, fire all the politicians and eliminate the source of their power, the Federal Reserve/central banking system. And it wouldn’t hurt to fire all television executives and the news actors, they use on a daily basis to feed us information. Without the corporate controlled media, their magic would be useless.

      Turn off the TV, withdraw any money from the big banks, use a credit union, buy gold and silver…store up food and water and energy of some sorts, because these pukes are going to have to collapse the system, so they can hide their crimes. Prepare and share.

      Wait until they announce that “hackers” destroyed all bank records..it’s a lot easier to fix the roof now, then when its going to rain tyranny.

    • CG

      Yeah, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the part where people that run their company into the ground get billions in bail out money and bonuses instead of getting fired and thrown in jail??
      Am I the only person in the world that can see how big of a scam insurance is? We are in reality paying for this whole industry by paying the premiums producing large paychecks for these companies.
      If not for insurance the doctor bill would not have to be so high.
      I remember before insurance came to be such a large industry, my doctor only charged 25.00 for an office visit, and everything else was fairly reasonable. Now I do believe that old folks and very sick people should have some kind of insurance but honestly if we didn’t have to pay for insurance the doctors would not have to charge so much.

      • Elaine Magalit


  • imy

    hell yeh stupid not to realise, go obama