The Big Story Blog

First Person: Affordable Care act and the young adult

Posted at 2:03 PM on June 28, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Health, Politics

Editor's Note: MPR's Molly Bloom reached out to Minnesotans in our Public Insight Network for perspective on the Supreme Court's decision upholding much of the Affordable Care Act.

Michael Musielewicz
Musielewicz, 22, just graduated from the University of St. Thomas and will attend divinity school in Poland this fall. He's living with his parents this summer, on their insurance.

Musielewicz_MichaelP.jpgI have mixed thoughts about the court's ruling. There seems to me to be two outcomes from this ruling the first being pragmatic and the second being theoretical / ideological implications. The first outcome has had the most immediate effect on my life.

The provision that has expanded Medicaid to lower income families and has mitigated preexisting conditions in pricing will enable my father to afford health insurance and buy the medication that he needs to maintain his health.

The provision that increased the age that young adults can be under their parents health insurance plan has also been very beneficial. By being able to defer my purchasing of health insurance to a later date I was able to fulfill the health insurance mandate of my university while being able to reallocate my limited resources to more immediate needs.

These two examples highlight how the act has benefited me. Nevertheless, the theoretical / ideological implications do raise some concerned about the feature.

The main argument, as I understand it, for the insurance mandate is economic. If everyone buys into a program it becomes cheaper. It is simple economics and for the sake of the ACA it makes sense to incorporate it as a measure.

Yet the political implications of this decision I find to be the most disturbing.

Perhaps my father (who has benefited largely from the upholding of this law) put it best when he remarked that this act sets a dangerous precedent for other forms of federally mandated policies.

A good number of people are demanding various services from the federal government and the politicians are more than happy to provide these popular services. But they have to work within a Constitution that limits their capacity to infringe on personal liberties.

In the case of the ACA they used a variation of the taxation clause in order to make the mandate tenable. This argument swayed the justices and thus the mandate stayed.

This decision, however, has far reaching consequences for it now serves as a precedent for proving the constitutionality of feature mandates in other acts.

Now I am not, per se, against mandates. But this decision seems to contravene the intent of our Constitution in protecting personal liberties and limiting the roll of the federal government in social issues.


About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.