It will be years before the full effect of Obamacare is felt.
But, in the meantime, it starts today with the opening of the health-insurance marketplace.
Whether it stays open will depend on Congress and Congresses to come.
Republicans don’t like President Obama’s healthcare reform. Maybe not this week, with a Democrat-controlled Senate, but at some point the Republicans will regain control of both houses and the presidency and revise whatever Obamacare amounts to — which Americans are just beginning to discover. Some people like it, believing they will be able to buy affordable health insurance; others don’t because their prices are expected to increase. Only time will tell whether it improved Americans’ health insurance situation and well-being overall.
People are becoming aware gradually of what’s available in health insurance, but even then won’t understand the full extent until the health-care bills come. Then they will see what the insurance really covers. But private insurance agents and the new government insurance website (http://www.healthcare.gov.) can help in the meantime — even if it means taking a number.
All Americans are required to buy health insurance by Jan. 1. The only exceptions are for people with financial hardships and religious objections. Failing to purchase insurance will translate into fines, which if people can’t afford insurance — regardless of whether the government says they can — hardly makes sense. Border-line cases will exist that make it difficult for some Americans to buy insurance. Indeed, it will be better for others. In the end, however, someone (you or the next guy) pays the bill.
The best outcome of Obamacare would be that it causes health care prices to decline without a loss of quality care. But whether that happens won’t be fully evident for years.
— Ketchikan Daily News,