Voting on the real issue: ObamacareBy Sarah Howard | 02/04/2016 2:42pm
It is simple economics that companies that lose money cannot afford many expenses, including employee salaries. When large companies like Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama reported an estimated $109 million dollar loss just through the end of October, they are forced to forego hiring for open positions and to raise consumer costs. Job opportunities in Birmingham, Hunstville, Mobile and Montgomery were slashed and rates were increased about 28%, all due to the unfortunate consequences of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
This is not an economic anomaly. In the first two years of Obamacare alone, the North Carolina branch lost $400 million. The state of Alabama cannot afford to lose any more jobs or any more income, with the 5th lowest GDP in the country. It is vital that in the March primaries, residents vote for a republican candidate who will be strong against Obamacare and help return competitive health insurance prices back to the market.
After the Iowa Caucus, Senator Ted Cruz came out on top, but his ideas about the Affordable Care Act are hypocritical at best. In his speeches, he promises to repeal it but is actually enrolled in it himself. Although this may have simply been a money-saving option for the presidential candidate, his statement to abolish Obamacare is not followed up with any positive alternatives. When asked about a potential replacement, he instead avoids answering the question and seems to just be saying what the people want to hear.
In an unfortunately high second place, Donald Trump has always had a shaky history when it comes to his political beliefs. Despite being registered as a democrat, independent and republican at various times in his life, he actually donated (and continued to donate) to Harry Reid when he was Senate majority leader, the same time when Obamacare was passed. This absence of opposition speaks volumes about his true beliefs, but today he proclaims his hatred for the ACA and assures us he will replace it with “something terrific.” This empty promise is classic Donald Trump, as he always seems to say the loudest thing to generate an appropriate response.
Falling short behind the “Apprentice” celebrity is Marco Rubio. Although his amnesty plans cause many conservative voters to shy away from his candidacy, Rubio’s plan of action for the elimination of Obamacare shows that he has the exact economic values needed to return the United States, as well as Alabama, to the prosperity it deserves. In the Senate, Rubio made sure that funds would not be used to bail out failing insurance companies, which illuminated the failure of the government and health companies. His campaign website includes plans to replace the ACA, including tax credits for the purchasing of insurance, and he promotes the idea of competition within the marketplace giving consumers the best prices. Overall, Rubio has proved himself to have the audacity and innovation to properly reform healthcare.
The Affordable Care Act has hurt the economic balance of the state of Alabama as well as the country, and the next president must have a plan to heal it. The elimination of Obamacare is a must, but the rather important side of replacement is strongest by candidate Marco Rubio, and Alabama voters need to cast their ballots appropriately.
Sarah Howard is a sophomore majoring in chemistry. Her column runs biweekly.