The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is clearly a contentious issue up to the point where there has been a government shutdown over it. For those that oppose Obamacare,

What are the reasons why they oppose it? (Specifically)

  • Are all the reasons economic reasons?

  • Are there other ideological reasons?


5 Answers 5


There are numerous reasons for opposing the Affordable Care Act.

  1. INACCURACY: The legislation was pitched on the basis of a couple key promises that have turned out to be untrue. The most prominent, of course, was the "if-you-like-your-plan-you-can-keep-your-plan-period" promise, and the second was that insurance premiums would drop, on average, by $2500 per family. At best, this amounts to a gross miscalculation about how the bill would impact those that already had insurance.
  2. DEPENDENCY: The legislation creates a massive new entitlement that is subsidized by taxpayer dollars, ultimately leading to dependency on federal aid rather than encouraging personal responsibility.
  3. LIABILITY: The legislation will explode the debt in the coming years. The initial estimate was that the bill would cost $900 billion over the first decade. That estimate was revised a year later to $1.4 trillion, a 55% increase. Estimates have continued to rise as the bill heads toward full implementation, so much so that it is estimated the bill will cost $2.6 trillion from 2014-2023.
  4. DISCONTINUITY: The legislation will ultimately destroy the private insurance market because pre-existing conditions can no longer be used a basis for determining one's premiums or denying coverage outright. Couple this with the need for insurers to justify and get approval for premium increases of 10% or more, insurance companies will eventually be unable to make a profit and will have to close their doors.
  5. PREDICTABILITY: Because private insurers will eventually not exist, the system is destined to become a service provided solely by the federal government. When that happens, rationing of health care services will be mandatory as a mechanism for controlling federal spending. Inevitably, everyone will have some form of federally-provided insurance, but it will assuredly be lower-quality health care than what is available today.
  6. CAPTIVITY: A further means of reigning in spending under a single-payer system will be to require doctors to treat certain patients for little or no money. Doing this disenfranchises doctors because it requires that they provide services for which they will not be paid, which is slavery by definition.
  7. HISTORY: History has proven time and again that government intervention in market systems skews the normal ebb and flow of business cycles, producing a myriad of unintended consequences that are generally counterproductive to business and detrimental to consumers no matter how altruistic the motive. As an example, billions of dollars have been spent since the formation of the Department of Education during the Carter administration with the result of skyrocketing tuition rates and a steepening decline in education standards.
  8. PARTIALITY: Never before has legislation so large and so complex passed both chambers of Congress without bipartisan support. The measure was forced through the Senate in advance of Scott Brown's election in Massachusetts to avoid the potential of a GOP filibuster in the Senate. It passed the House by the slimmest of margins, 219-212.
  9. CONSTITUTIONALITY: The Supreme Court of the United States used terribly tortured logic to "uphold" the constitutionality of the ACA. The government argued that the individual mandate was not a tax (even though it was passed as part of a budget reconciliation bill) but a regulation permissible under the Commerce Clause of a market that everyone participates in. The majority decision rejected this line of thinking, embracing instead the idea that compelling individuals to purchase insurance was a tax and thus within the constitutional limits of Congress.
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    @Avi, the OP asked for reasons why people oppose ObamaCare. It is an opinion question which results in an opinion answer. Only history will prove whether some, any, or all of these predictions will come to pass. Still, these are some of the reasons that people oppose the law. I've added links to show where such claims are made.
    – Matt Davis
    Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 3:50
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    @Avi - seriously? Reading any right wing blog for a month would likely show 80%+ of these arguments. Do you have a reason to doubt that there's at least one person opposing Obamacare for any specific reason in this list? If so, your proof: I personally oppose it for a vast majority of them. QED.
    – user4012
    Commented Dec 18, 2013 at 16:52
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    @Shahar, what happens in a market system when demand increases? Prices go up. When the government began providing grants and low-interest loans to prospective students, they effectively increased the demand for a college education. Universities, recognizing the increased demand, raised tuition prices accordingly.
    – Matt Davis
    Commented Dec 21, 2013 at 7:10
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    On point 4, here in the UK we have government provided healthcare and still plenty of private insurance and hospitals exist. Commented Dec 22, 2013 at 20:29
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    @Shahar: Suppose someone were to tell people going into an auction that if their bid one, they would only have to pay half of what they bid and he would pay the other half. Would people end up getting goods for only half the price they would have otherwise had to pay, or would they simply bid the prices up twice as high as they otherwise would have, and end up paying exactly what they would have anyway? If the benefactor saw that his 50% match wasn't "enough" to make things affordable and upped it to 75%, then 90%, then 95%, what would happen to prices?
    – supercat
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 1:48

Under Obamacare, healthcare is made "affordable" because everyone is forced to buy health insurance (or pay a tax penalty), whether they need it or not. It represents a "reverse" wealth transfer, from young to old, in several ways.

  1. The Obamacare insurance mandate is costlier for employers. That's not so bad if you are an "established" worker. It's horrible if you are a college graduate looking for a job, who has been priced out of a job, because Obamacare will raise the cost to hire you.
  2. Young workers are forced to pay more in insurance than their actuarial expectation of need, to defray the costs of supporting older people whose payments are less than their actuarial needs. In this way, Obamacare works like Social Security did, starting almost eighty years ago, when young workers were taxed to pay Social Security to older workers who never "paid in," with the promise that the young workers' children would be similarly taxed to support them, when they got old.
  3. There is more "red tape" for doctors to be reimbursed by the government, and more levels of approval for treatments by a non-profit bureaucracy, which makes things particularly difficult for young health workers.


  • 4
    You really should substantiate some of these claims.
    – Publius
    Commented Oct 7, 2013 at 22:47
  • @Avi: I added a relevant link. You have to "read between the lines" to get my points.
    – Tom Au
    Commented Oct 7, 2013 at 22:59
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    That web page does not directly support your statement (or even really indirectly). It lists a potential disadvantage of Obamacare though, so you'd be on firmer ground just saying that it could raise healthcare costs in the short term (or providing reputable sources that substantiate the claims you're currently making)
    – Publius
    Commented Oct 7, 2013 at 23:13
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    I think links that support that the reason you give are being used would be preferable to as single link at the start Commented Oct 8, 2013 at 4:22
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    In point 3, what do you mean by 'more'? Studies have frequently shown that government healthcare, in US and other countries, has a lower overhead cost than private healthcare. Commented Oct 8, 2013 at 17:03

This answer is based on the response in the comment clarifying the question. If this is the correct answer, the question ought to be clarified.

Many Republicans in Congress oppose the Affordable Care Act both because they believe it is poorly implemented, and because they are opposed to government controlled, or centrally planned, health care systems. Some Republicans either do not, or do not strongly, oppose the Affordable Care act, simply judging from their willingness to move past the current budget and debt ceiling stand off. (Peter King, NY)

Republican ideology generally supports the proposition that a free market will always solve a problem or distribute a resource better than a government bureaucrat can. Within that, some think there are varying shades of what can be considered a "free market", and have their own conception about what shade that is in particular. For some republicans, it would seem that the Affordable Care Act does not fit within that spectrum of permissibly or desirability. For other republicans, notably in the Tea Party, there really are no shades. A market is either free or it is not; a market runs best if it is not. Any addition of government will not make anything better for anyone, be it the poor, the minorities, or the rich alike. (Or even the environment, scientific progress, or social morality.)

Given this, it may be impossible for republicans to decide about how well run a centrally planned health care system is. For them, all centrally run health care programs are poorly run.

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    Can you prove any of this... It seems like an opinion not a well researched and thought out answer. Commented Oct 8, 2013 at 4:22
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    Again, the answer to this question is: opinion. A question asking for opinions is going to produce answers that are opinions.
    – user1530
    Commented Oct 8, 2013 at 14:53
  • Let's move the chatter to chat :) Commented Oct 8, 2013 at 17:28

Simply, it was not well thought out, and the "unintended consequences" are now revealing themselves. The politicians, AKA the government, have proven time and again that they cannot run businesses efficiently. Remember the $400 hammers? Those problems never went away, and have probably gotten much worse. So, I will let others here enumerate the details; the simple answer is that healthcare is not the business of the government.

  • So, I will let others here enumerate the details; - Given that there are already answers here which do exactly that, there's no need for an additional answer with no further details.
    – Bobson
    Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 22:29
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    Welcome to Politics.SE. You might want to take the tour to understand the Q&A format that this site covers. If you have a good expert question, or know a good expert answer feel free to click the Ask a Question**/**Post an Answer buttons. Well researched and referenced answers tend to attract upvotes, and primarily opinion-based answers tend to attract downvotes. Don't let that discourage you, it takes a little work getting use to the format (questions are easier to get right, and other users can always edit them to improve their quality)
    – user1873
    Commented Jan 14, 2014 at 22:35
  • Many people, myself included, regarded the so-called "unintended consequences" as entirely foreseeable, and think it is not at all coincidental that they coincide with the interests of those trying to promote government dependency.
    – supercat
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 1:50

What exactly was intended to be covered by the ACA? That was clearly undefined at the time of passage. The only answer available was that a panel would be convened on a given topic and a decision made, approved by the HHS Director.

The general consensus was health care is a 'right' to be expected by American citizens (and even non-citizens, but that's a different argument.) If it's a 'right', then what exactly constitutes that 'right'? It simply was not defined and few seemed to have any problem with that very concerning fact.

For example, did the ACA intend to cover vision insurance? Did it intend to cover Dental insurance? What about variants like orthodontics? What about dermatology? What about cosmetic surgery?

It's a bold question, but a simple one - is it truly a 'right' of all Americans of all ages to expect to have straight white teeth, perfect vision, clean skin, and an erection on demand? (Viagra is covered.) Should we throw in Blond Hair and Big Boobs as well? It's not a very long stretch from there to start discussions on what happens if you DON'T have these positive attributes... it will be completely up to HHS Director. Of course, it won't reach that extreme stage right away. The first step in that direction will be HHS Director deciding on life/death of the unborn that is diagnosed with some incurable, debilitating disease. Surely it will be in the best interest of all not to introduce those into society, right? How long until that particular discussion on the unborn is had by the HHS Director? Has it already been had? Does anyone know? Does anyone doubt that it will be had at one point in the future?

Few seemed concerned to what was covered, just that some coverage was available, whatever that means. Coverage was/is to be determined at a later time by one single person with full power to decide on what is within your rights. One single person deciding your rights ... does that seem like a good idea in general? Perhaps with the do-no-wrong in power today, but what happens if another do-no-right gets in power next time?

As Nancy Pelosi said, "we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it – away from the fog of the controversy." These questions weren't answered ahead of time - they were intended to be answered later. So this 'right' was general in nature and everyone got together and decided to grant this 'right' in concept and determine later what it actually included... and it actually passed because the general nature of the ACA is good in theory but actually horrible in practice.

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    Welcome to Politics.SE. We appreciate well referenced answers. With that in mind, you might want to clarify exactly how this answers the question. The rhetorical first 3 paragraphs can probably be cut. You might want to link to evidence of the remaining 2 reasons for opposing the ACA (I.e. Pelosi's "must pass it to fins out what is in it," (I.e. people don't like unelected bureaucrats writing legislation) and specifically what in the ACA is up to the director of HHS (with quotes, or at a minimum references to the particular section Section 1307 (a)(1)(2), etc.)
    – user1873
    Commented Jan 19, 2014 at 20:24
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    The text of the ACA is a very large Publicly available document. The answers to most of your questions can be found there Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 17:44
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    If the size of the document is intimidating to you, there's a table of contents, and you can also use your browser's search functionality(press ctrl+F), to help you search for particular key phrases. Commented Jan 20, 2014 at 17:45
  • @SamIam - You are missing the point. Where in the ACA does it state that it covers Viagra? It doesn't. Erectile dsyfunction is simply not listed, but it is covered. My question is simple - is it your "right" to have your Erectile Dsyfunction paid for by someone else? This wasn't discussed much, if at all, before the bill was signed. Specific items were to be decided by the panels appointed later by HHS. Root question - which maladies are considered 'rights' to be treated and which aren't? Answer = decided by HHS Director. How can one argue for "Rights" when it's not defined? Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 1:39
  • @DarianMiller The essential benefits are enumerated in section 1302 Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 6:21

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