April 23, 2024


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Did You Know There’s No Longer a Penalty For Not Having Health Insurance if You Can Afford it? – Opinion

4 min read
Did You Know There’s No Longer a Penalty For Not Having Health Insurance if You Can Afford it? – Opinion


In 2020, it’s hard to sing the praises of the American healthcare system too much. It’s constantly the subject of political discourse and with the election looming it’s hard to know what’s true and what isn’t.

The situation in the United States is an interesting one because it’s one of the very few developed countries in the world which is not committed to a Universal Health Care program for its citizens.

And what’s unusual about it is that there is a large portion of the American population that does not appear to think that this is a massive issue. Of course, it’s important to view both sides of the argument, but in any other country, this would be cause for uproar.

If the healthcare system in Japan was altered to the point where insurance was so expensive that only the wealthiest people in the country were capable of affording it, it would be a national scandal.

But being that the United States is one of the most politically divided countries in the world and the Republican side of it has been conditioned to believe that healthcare is not a right without hearing any genuine logic to back it up, they will blindly defend that position.

So it’s definitely a complicated issue. One thing is certain though, the United States has perhaps the most talented and well-educated medical personnel in the world, as well as access to the most up to date technology and medical science.

And yet, when you look at the facts the U.S is still trailing behind the vast majority of other countries of comparable wealth. The amenable mortality rate is poor, they’re less effective in treating cardiac and respiratory issues.

It may stem back to the HMO act implemented by Nixon in 1973, which was an extremely misguided attempt to lower medical costs and provide good quality care to every American by making it easier to profit off healthcare.

The fact that there is such a significant income inequality in America which ensures that only a small portion of the population can actually afford the insurance. It’s hard to know the exact origins of the problem and it’s also hard to know how to solve it.

It’s becoming clearer and clearer that an increasing chunk of the American population does in fact want things to change. But it’s not going to happen overnight. 

While it appears to be a minor change, the fact that there was a penalty for not buying health insurance when you could afford it which has now been removed actually highlights the uncomfortable attitude the government has towards these things.

The penalty was enacted under the Obama administration and as the methodology of the Trump administration has been to undo everything Obama did, for better or worse, it has now been removed.

Some states have enforced their own mandate, but it’s gone everywhere else. It’s interesting because it sounds like a good thing that there is no longer a fee, but the truth is that said fee did actually serve a purpose. 

It was a Shared Responsibility Payment, designed to ensure that those who could afford healthcare would be more inclined to make sure that they were protected. It’s a shame that the country got to a place where people had to essentially be blackmailed into protecting themselves, but that was the intention of the penalty.

Now the real solution to that would be to take the necessary steps towards Universal Health Care, but instead what’s happened is that the penalty is gone, which means that those who weren’t buying health insurance because of the financial stress it would have caused, are now free of that payment too.

Research and study the situation, encourage those you know to do the same and vote. Vote for whoever is showing the slightest interest in dealing with these problems. And if you’re struggling, there are certain ways to lessen the burden.

Take a look at some of these medicare advantage plans. Some of them will offer you certain benefits which you may not even be aware you’re entitled too so it’s always worth checking these things out.

It’s hard to know what the future holds for America. It’s not wrong to hope that someday, the health of the American people will be taken as seriously as the health of the Canadians, the Australians, the Japanese or basically the entire population of Europe. 

For now, what we can be hopeful about is the fact that people are more informed than ever, and those that want change are more vigorously pursuing it. So let’s allow ourselves a little shred of optimism, it will encourage us to seek progression.

Joseph Bryson

Author Bio: Joseph Bryson was born in Alberta, raised in NYC, and is living in New Zealand. He has been working in 4 different industries and helped numerous businesses grow. Now, he is focused on writing as his next career from home and lives a peaceful life with his family and a whole pack of dogs.

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