Not even the finality of a Supreme Court ruling has done much to eliminate America’s deep political divide over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
On Thursday, the high court voted 5-4 to uphold the health-care measure that President Barack Obama signed in March 2010.
The legislation has been one of the most historically significant and divisive domestic issues debated by the nation in years. Some citizens consider the PPACA an attack on personal liberty by the federal government, since it requires almost all citizens to acquire health insurance or pay a fine. Other people believe it is a way to help millions of Americans receive needed medical care, especially since, beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions.
The contrasting opinions were evident when talking to residents and visitors to the region in downtown Johnstown and Westmont on Friday.
“I think the health-care bill has a lot of good parts to it, but it also has a lot of bad parts,” said William Stasko, a Westmont resident. “Primarily, the worst part is the mandating issue, and I’m sure there are other bad things incorporated in that, but there are too many details to really get involved with. I think pretty much the couple things that are good is having your child, up to (age) 26, on your plan – I think that’s a good thing – and I think also something else that is good is the pre-existing condition (coverage). That’s a great thing, obviously. That’s a great thing.”
More than 30 million currently uninsured Americans are expected to be able to get coverage because of the act.
“I think it should be fine,” said Nichole Hill of Mineral Point.
“I did have a problem with insurance companies not affording care to people that had a pre-existing condition, so that is my biggest thing, and I’m glad that everybody’s getting taken care of.”
Johnstown’s Robert Anthony agreed, stating, “I think it’s good that everybody will get some health care. It makes sense.”
Dan Waters, a Pittsburgh resident, called it “something that had to be done with the health-care system in America.”
Other individuals passionately objected to the law and found fault with the court’s decision.
“I think it’s unconstitutional, and it’s just another ploy of this government to keep the people oppressed,” said Keith Snook, a resident of Centre County.
“It’s one of Obama’s antics of being a far-left, socialistic president. He’s trying to turn our democratic country into a socialistic state. That’s how I feel, and anybody that looks at it, as a true democratic nation, well, we are not a true democratic nation any longer. We are becoming more socialistic as the days go by.”