Maryann Tobin

The Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, is a massive piece of legislation that most people don't understand. Since much of the law has not even taken effect, both the benefits and pitfalls are yet to be fully realized. But there are some basics that explain why it is a partial solution to America's otherwise unsustainable profit-driven health-care system.

There are more than 180 capitalist countries that provide their citizens with basic health care services. There are also socialist countries and even some dictatorships, such as Cuba, that provide some form of universal health care. Providing universal health care does not decide the form of government a country has—the people do that.

The most important thing to remember when filtering through all the political noise is that any form of government can have universal health care for its people.

America's problem with health care is complicated, and is the only profit-driven health care system in the world, so its problems are unique.

Who is against Obamacare and why

Basically, it works like this: American politicians take money from lobbyists working for insurance and drug companies so they will make laws that protect their profits. The politicians, in turn, must convince Americans that this is good for them or for the country, even if it isn't.

The best way to convince people to support something that is against their own interests is to use powerful and scary words like “socialism” and “death panels”—even if they don't exist.

Because the US health-insurance system is essentially unregulated and driven by profits, costs are always rising. This is apparent in times of recession. Other costs go down, but health-care premiums still rise. It does not follow the capitalist laws of supply and demand. Apart from Medicare, which is run by the government and works very well, there is no competition to hold prices down.

Obamacare is not perfect, but it does cover some 40 million people who would lose their coverage if this law is repealed. That means more people in emergency rooms who can't pay. Those costs get passed along so insurance companies can maintain their profits. But this system is not sustainable, which is why lawmakers and presidents have tried to reform the system over the past 50 years.

There is a reason that other countries do not run profit-based health-care systems, and that is because they are smarter than we are in the US. They won't allow capitalism to interfere with basic care and the health of their nation.

The American health-care system is an example of capitalism gone bad. Profits should not control the health of an entire population.

Call it whatever you want, but if you could buy a comprehensive health insurance policy for $150 a month (for example) and it was not tied to your employer, you would jump all over it with a smile.

Obamacare is bad for insurance and drug companies because it reduces their opportunities to make money off the sick, injured or disabled. For consumers, Obamacare can literally be a lifesaver because it allows them to buy health insurance at lower rates, even if they have a pre-existing condition.

If consumers forget the political labels and think about what is best for them and their families, the Obamacare argument takes on a whole new meaning.

For complete details on Obamacare, go to Facts on the Obama Health Care Plan.

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