4 Comments

The Healthcare Conundrum.

Nothing gets a good politician worked up to a frothy state (see what I did there?) like the mention of the Affordable Health Care act a.k.a. “Obamacare”.

Now before I continue this blog entry, I must say that I don’t like the term Obamacare. It’s snarky. And even though the Obama administration has begun “owning” the term by using it themselves, I still think that it’s a snide way of referring to the Affordable Health Care Act. We don’t call Social Security “FDR Security” or “Roosevelt Security” and we don’t call Medicare “JohnsonCare”, but those programs were started back when people had more class and respect for one another, at least in a general sense, so we didn’t do things that way back then. “Obamacare” just rubs me the wrong way.

Anyway, I think that the Affordable Health Care Act is generally a good idea. I agree that ALL Americans, regardless of socio-economic standing should be afforded the same basic healthcare benefits. No one should be forced to choose whether or not they can treat cancer or HIV or the results of a catastrophic accident on the basis of financial standing. And quite frankly, I don’t believe that people should be turned away from insurance companies due to a pre-existing condition.

Now I fully believe in smaller government and I believe that the government is involved in way too many things that quite frankly is none of their business. But with that being said, I do believe that the government should impose regulations on insurance companies and the medical industry (the word ‘industry’ is completely on purpose) to keep costs under control so that medical care is affordable and available for everyone. Personally I think that regulation should dictate a cap on the percentage of profits made from medical care and associated services (pharmaceuticals, etc). It goes completely against my Libertarian streak but if they can’t behave themselves then someone has to reel them in.

However, there is one thing about the Affordable Care Act that just rubs me the wrong way. There’s actually a couple of things, but I’ll focus on the main thing so that I don’t sound like I’m completely ranting.

I have issue with Americans being penalized for not carrying health insurance. I had a problem with Massachusetts instituting that approach and now that it’s in the ACA I have an even bigger problem with it.

There are people in the United States that do not believe in Western medicine. Admittedly, the percentage is quite small, but there are folks that do not believe in loading up their body with man-made chemicals designed to treat symptoms of a problem. Some simply believe that they should strive to eat healthier and make healthy choices with their lifestyle instead of taking a cholesterol lowering pill that’s going to slowly destroy their liver. There may be some women that don’t believe in blasting their boobs with radiation on a routine basis. There could be men that might not want to know about the size of their prostate. Do I agree with their choices? It’s none of my business, but if they decide that they don’t need health insurance because they’re never going to use it then they shouldn’t be penalized for opting out of a plan. There shouldn’t be a tax, there shouldn’t be a fee. At no time should the government say, “you have to buy xxxx from a privately run corporation”. Sorry, I have a problem with that part of the Affordable Care Act. Most disagree with me. Some counter that it’s like paying school taxes when you don’t have kids. I get the theory behind that (investing for the future after all, the children are our future and all those other lyrics), but that bothers me too, but not as much as the mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

I’m rather anxious to hear the Supreme Court’s decision on the subject in June. I really hope that don’t throw out the entire act and do the sensible thing by ruling on just the mandate instead of ruling the whole thing unconstitutional, because in the overall scheme of things, that would be bad. As a relatively sensible individual, I’d rather see the mandate than have Americans denied health insurance based on the whims of the greedy insurance companies.

But every time that mandate part is mentioned around me, I’ll roll my eyes and sigh.

4 Comments

  1. I totally understand what you mean, especially around personal responsibility and choice. But isn’t a health tax simply about ensuring that basic standard of healthcare for everyone? I pay taxes for services that I’ll never use such as schools etc. but I don’t mind because in my view it’s for the good of society.

    The thing is, the people that “don’t believe in Western medicine” (i.e. those that don’t believe in scientifically developed, peer reviewed and double blind tested medicine), tend to start believing it when they get cancer. Or HIV. Or a hernia. Or break a leg. Or anything serious. They do this because it is proven to work much better than dangling crystals around a bed and chanting a mantra. Positive thinking, eating healthily and getting exercise are all great and should be encouraged. But I’d argue that those are Western approaches.

    I wonder is there a differences in approaches to this in the US and UK? I find it fascinating and one of the wonderful things about our ability to debate!.

    1. I know quite a few people that have opted not to have cancer treatments simply excuse it was against their beliefs. They didn’t want to go through all of that (pain, emotional turmoil, expense) just to extend their life by six months. I get not believing in that sort of science, though I don’t know that I completely agree with it. I definitely lean in that direction. There should be a contingency plan if they change their mind, though.

  2. I agree that ALL Americans, regardless of socio-economic standing should be afforded the same basic healthcare benefits.

    Amen. Especially those of us who are self-employed who WANT healthcare benefits, but can’t find a decent policy that doesn’t cost a small fortune….

    1. One of the only things that makes me hesitant on becoming self-employed is health insurance coverage. I have it a little easier now that Earl and I are officially married in New York State, but I would rather have Earl on my self-employed generated health insurance policy so that he can finally retire after working so hard for our family. I can’t imagine what folks on unemployment do. Though I’m not particularly a fan of health insurance because I rarely opt to go to the doctor like I should, I still know that I should have health insurance. It shouldn’t be a difficult thing to accomplish.

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