Hello Mack Pack!
I just finished writing the post required for my college discussion group that asked me to:
From the viewpoint of a social justice activist, present an argument to a Congressional committee as to the ethical and moral reasons for supporting the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Through research, anticipate an item of debate that will be offered to you by the panel and use at least one ethical theory or perspective from the text to support your evidence of moral imperative.
As I said before, this was a painful thought. I absolutely did not want to advocate for something that I find abhorrent. I was also disappointed that my school didn't even offer opposition to ObamaCare a chance to be heard. Nonetheless, I persevered! I hope you can hear the dissent in my voice while reading this essay.
A "social justice activist" would be best off using the ethical theory of Utilitarianism to argue their case for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare. A Utilitarian would be able to justify using government to coerce American citizens to buy a heath insurance plan, based on arguments for the greater good. A Utilitarian could make the argument for all Americans having an insurance plan for healthcare, because overall they would be healthier, which would mean utility or happiness would be maximized. The Utilitarian could argue that there is no greater moral imperative than to give people healthier and longer lives. This argument could form the basis for all Utilitarian or "social justice" actions for the "greater good" of society.
The ACA forces health insurance companies to insure people for their preexisting conditions, which is the antithesis of how insurance works, but from a "social justice activist" or a Utilitarian perspective, it is necessary to ensure all Americans, healthy or sick, can get insurance. The ACA has an individual mandate that requires all Americans to buy a health insurance plan in order to be in compliance with the ACA or risk being charged a tax/penalty, which is meant to prevent people from only buying health insurance after they become sick. It also has an employer mandate that requires employers to provide health insurance to their employees who work over 30 hours a week, which is meant to prevent employers from just dropping their employee's health insurance and sending them to the healthcare exchanges.
Since the Utilitarian does not look at the morality of the act itself, but rather the consequences or outcome of actions in order to determine if the act was moral, they would not see an ethical dilemma in implementing the Affordable Care Act. They would, in fact, feel that the utility created from a healthier American population would be more than the sacrifices, suffering or harm required to implement this program. With this is mind, the argument for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act could be supported by Utilitarianism.
In closing, I would like to point out that the ethical theory of Utilitarianism could also be used to oppose the ACA, because it creates more utility for the sick than it does for the healthy. This is because the healthy citizens (the majority) subsidize the expenses for the sick (the minority) who gets the bulk of utility created from this program. Based on this argument the Utilitarian would see more harm created than utility, not to mention the economic factors of employers only hiring part time workers to prevent having to pay for full time employee health insurance. If the "social justice activist" ignored the data that did not help their cause (which they do) then they could overcome these inconvenient truths.
Emory University. (2011, May 2). Healthcare reform: Overview of access to care and regulatory process [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lD0TBoKol6Q&feature=youtu.be