(NaturalHealth365) The basic premise that has fueled the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) is that free health insurance is an inherent right for every U.S. citizen. This is interesting because the constitution does not address this issue directly.
The reasons the Founding Fathers neglected this issue varies, and proponents point to the fact that health care was not a vital component to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness when the Constitution was being constructed. Unlike today, history tells us that healthcare was generally available to all citizens due to its affordability.
Will history repeating itself?
The comparison may seem like a stretch, but when we consider the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis and ensuing recession, we must question the long-term benefits of national health care. Like Obamacare, legislations empowering the government with more control were at the core of the housing bubble bursting.
1. The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 stopped discriminatory lending .
2. The Housing and Community Development Act of 1992 mandated that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac offer affordable housing loan purchases.
3. Bill Clinton’s “National Homeownership Strategy: Partners in the American Dream” of 1995 was the tipping point with the stated premise,
The ideal of homeownership is so integral a part of the American Dream that its value for individuals, for families, for communities, and for society is scarcely questioned. This paper provides a brief survey of research into the nature and significance of homeownership’s presumed benefits, particularly for lower income households and other underserved populations.
The 2008 housing bubble: A roadmap for a future healthcare crash
Ultimately, since consumer debt habits and socioeconomic status were not corrected, millions of people qualified for mortgages with marginal to low credit scores and no money for down payments. In addition, people with significant consumer debt utilized their inflated home value to “consolidate” their massive debt portfolio into risky adjustable rate mortgages and refinanced their home.
Because spending habits weren’t corrected, the very same people racked up their credit cards again and, forgetting that they used their one and only “get of jail free card,” found themselves in a worse situation than they were in before. When home values began to plummet, Americans were shocked to be in negative equity situations and became outraged that their high mortgage payments were going toward homes that were, in many cases, half the cost of what they purchased them for.
Many low-to-middle income households filed for bankruptcy by the droves and foreclosed on their homes, which was the impetus to busting the “housing bubble.”
Comparisons between Obamacare and the national homeownership strategy
The 1995 objective to “increase homeownership to a record-high level over the next six years,” parallels the Obamacare’s objective to provide national health coverage in the follow ways:
1. Originally, the Fed was only required underwrite 30 percent of their loans to the affordable housing bucket, however, the Bush administration upped that to 56 percent. To meet these needs, the Fed had to purchase $5 trillion in affordable housing loans and encouraged lending institutions to relax their underwriting requirements so that more people could qualify for loans. Similarly, the Fed will have to subsidize the influx of health benefits being allocated at unprecedented levels.
2. Banks being mandated to provide mortgages to people who could not previously qualify for them is very similar to the mandate that businesses are required to offer health insurance to people who are not qualified due to pre-existing conditions.
3. The similarity between not dealing with the root issue(s) behind financial or health disparities is also shocking. In other words, was the solution to increase homeownership in low-to-middle income populations to loosen up lending requirements? Or, was it to train and educate people so that they could better themselves financially and not be in the socioeconomic status that they were in?
In the same way, is the solution to chronic disease, high infant mortality rate and an overall poor bill of health to provide free health insurance to everyone? Or, is it to train and educate people so that they are more proficient in taking ownership of their health so that they do not need medical attention?
4. Subsequently, if history repeats itself (as in the case of financially destitute people using their home as collateral for consumer debt and getting into negative equity situations and filing for bankruptcy / foreclosing on their homes), America’s health profile will actually decline because national health coverage will “enable” uneducated and/or unwilling people to perpetuate unwise and detrimental lifestyle decisions.
5. If we give people a blank check for health care, what motivation do they have to take responsibility for their own actions? We saw millions of people completely abuse the financial leniency of the government and banking system and live well outside of their means only to be “bailed out” by refinance and Chapter 7 and 11 bankruptcy options. What will this look like in light of Obamacare?
The backlash of the “right to homeownership” hit America hard and many of us are still shaken up financially because of this move. Should we be concerned over what the future will hold for our nation if the “right to free health insurance” turns sour?
So the question remains, “is health care a right or a privilege?”
What are your thoughts? Is free healthcare an unalienable right of all citizens or is it a privilege?
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