District 3 of Illinois has long been represented by Daniel (Dan) Lipinski. This year he is running against Republican Arthur Jones, an extremist in many senses. While Dan Lipinski is in the Democratic party, many refer to him as one of the few conservative Democrats. Both candidates agree that there should be some sort of health care for the people of the United States, however, their backgrounds and stances differ greatly in regards to how that can happen and what it should entail.
Universal health care has long been a goal for this nation while striving to keep the country’s democratic backbone. This has been a struggle due to the somewhat contrasting ideas of universal health care and democracy. Health care can be synonymous with the determinant of health of health services in many cases. Health care is important to everyone, and access to it is unfortunately not always possible or equal for all citizens of the United States. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act was passed, one of the largest health care bills, that focused on providing insurance for all Americans (Olfson, 2018). This has been a law that has been heavily debated, and is one which both candidates oppose. However, they oppose for different reasons while also disagreeing on their solution for the health care crisis and the soaring prices of insurance today.
American health care has been a topic discussed as early as the time of Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency in 1912. It remains a topic highly discussed in modern history, with many politicians and groups coming up with different initiatives (Gerbis, 2018). The first big and successful initiative to go through was in 1965, when President Johnson signed into law Medicare and Medicaid. Many initiatives and programs were proposed after, however the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was the first “universal” plan that passed. The Affordable Care Act was passed on March 23, 2010, by President Obama. It commonly is referred to as “Obamacare,’ and is the largest health care reform since Medicare (Dunnam, 2015).
Its roots stem from the goal of merely helping uninsured Americans, however, as pleas and statements from middle class insured families came flooding to Congress complaining about runaway premiums, illness related cancellations, and many more issues, the act began to pick up steam and grow in its goals. Immediately upon being signed, the law was highly controversial and was brought to the Supreme Court in 2012 where it narrowly squeaked by. Both sides lost in some sense in the decision of the case. Republicans did not get the law completely repealed, and Democrats lost a lot of aspects to the law, including its public option component, which would have made a new government insurance program (Gerbis, 2018). However, the ACA is still the law of the land today.
As previously stated, the program is very divisive in today’s government and in the American population. Voters are careful to look at the stance of their candidates on the ACA when looking to make their decision. Typically, Democrats tend to vote in favor of the ACA; however, representative Dan Lipinski voted in opposition of the plan and continues to work for alternate solutions to the current law. Lipinski feels the ACA does a great job expanding access and reforming health insurance by banning discrimination based on preexisting conditions, prohibiting lifetime coverage limits, and banning rescissions (Lipinski, 2010).
However, Lipinski also stated that these great aspects of the law could have been accomplished without passing the current, massive law that he sees to be majorly flawed. He stated, “the bill does not do enough to lower the skyrocketing cost of health care, cuts more than $400 billion from Medicare, is not fiscally sustainable over the long term, and breaks with the status quo by providing federal funding for abortion and abortion coverage. This bill was also marred by backroom deals that benefit pharmaceutical companies and other special interests” (Lipinski, 2010). Lipinski ultimately did not vote on the bill and has since proposed other bills that work to expand health care, while cutting deficits.
Opponent Arthur Jones has been in the insurance industry since 1983, impacting his view on the ACA and health care. Jones can be seen as both an extremist and a Holocaust denier who has some very strong views on Americans, as well as foreigners and immigration that impact his stance on healthcare. He proposes that the major cause driving up insurance is the high cost of medical malpractice insurance. Jones claims, “a major reason for that, is medical malpractice by foreign-trained doctors and insurance fraud claims filed by either the patient or his or her doctor” (Jones, 2018).
Jones proposed the solution of requiring professionals to pass a yearly medical competency test for their specialty annually, and upon passing the cost of malpractice insurance would be shared upon the professional, state, and federal government. In addition, Jones believes a federally tax-supported Medical Catastrophic Fund should be established, along with no “illegal alien” being allowed to receive any healthcare (Jones, 2018). These measures are very extreme and align with his other proposals for extreme action to fix some of the flaws in the federal system right now.
Although the candidates differ in their views on how to fix the health care system, both agree that the federal government should not be paying for abortions. While Jones comes at the issue from a more extremist and “traditional Catholic” view of being pro-life and calling Planned Parenthood “murderous operations” (Jones, 2018), Lipinski states he feels that abortions should not be federally funded because he believes it contradicts the Hyde Amendment and also takes away religious freedom from his constituents whose tax dollars would be going toward paying for abortions through health care (Lipinkski, 2010).
Opinions on the ACA differ depending on what a person feels is most important in health care. Rights and Responsibilities Catholic social teaching teaches that human dignity and rights need to be achieved and protected. Many would argue access to health care is an essential human right. The ACA works to ensure that healthcare is provided to all. I agree that health care should be provided to all, and that no one should be discriminated against for any reason, including previous illnesses. However, I feel that the ACA is flawed and should be replaced with a plan that focuses more on lowering the costs of health care.
In addition, I feel as though while the ACA had great intentions, and is a huge step towards universal health care, it is greatly flawed and is not feasible for the country in the long term due to the cost of it. It was successful in bringing health care to more people, however, it was unsuccessful in making health care affordable to those who want it. Health care in the United States is still the most expensive in the world (Sanger-Katz, 2017). Dan Lipinski stated that cuts in reimbursements for doctors could cost the government almost 200 billion dollars in the next 10 years (Lipinski, 2010).
This illustrates that this law is not financially sustainable for this country and needs to be repealed and replaced with a plan that focuses on making the cost of insurance more affordable for the government and, therefore, the people. It is great that more people have more health care coverage, however, that will be short lived if the costs do not decrease. Furthermore, it is great that the law now ensures no health discrimination in accessibility to insurance, but I do side with Lipinski when he stated that many of the good actions this law takes could have been individual laws, unattached to some of the major problems of the ACA. (Lipinski, 2010)
I also agree with Lipinski’s view on the federal government paying for abortions. I concur that it does infringe upon religious freedom when it takes tax dollars to pay for abortions, which some people are morally against. It is not right to put that moral dilemma on a person who feels that they are funding abortions but are religiously against it. It goes against the Life and Dignity of the Human Person Catholic social teaching, which forbids abortions. There is a better way to fund abortions and Planned Parenthood that doesn’t take away a citizen’s legal freedom.
Health care has been a political issue for almost as long as this country has existed. Most citizens agree that all people should have access to health care, however citizens differ in how they feel that should occur and what policies should be in place. The ACA is a huge step in creating a system that allows health care accessibility for all citizens, however, there is still a lot of room for improvement in the health care system.
- Dunnam, H. L. (2016). Obamacare as seen from the outside. Contemporary OB/GYN, 61(4), 13-13.
- Elwood, T. W. (2016). Health reform and beyond. Journal of Allied Health, 45(3), 159-167.
- Gerbis, N. (2018). The History of the Affordable Care Act. Retrieved from https://money.howstuffworks.com/personal-finance/personal-income-taxes/history-of-affordable-care-act1.htm
- Jones, A. (2018). Where I stand on the issues. Retrieved from http://artjonesforcongressman.com/issues-congress-2016/
- Lipinski, D. (2010, March 21). Congressman Lipinski Votes ‘No’ on Senate Health Care Bill (March 21, 2010). Retrieved from https://lipinski.house.gov/health-care/congressman-lipinski-votes-no-on-senate-health-care-bill-march-21-2010/
- Olfson, M., Wall, M., Barry, C. L., Mauro, C., & Mojtabai, R. (2018). Effects of the affordable care act on private insurance coverage and treatment of behavioral health conditions in young adults. American Journal of Public Health, 108(10), 1352-1354. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2018.304574
- Sanger-Katz, M. (2017, February 5). Grading Obamacare: Successes, failures and ‘Incompletes’. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/apa_style/apa_formatting_and_style_guide/reference_list_electronic_sources.html