Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Thoughts on the Passing of Health Care Reform (updated)

President Obama took a big step towards not becoming a one-term president with the passing of his ambitious health care reform bill. More importantly, it promises to cover 32 million of those of us who are uninsured. It is not the ideal bill, but it's a significant advance from the prior status quo.

However, the path taken to reach this goal brought a lot of vermin out of the woodwork: a black, liberal president enacting a major overhaul of health care inspired more than a fare share of the right-wing racists and wacko conspiracy nuts to voice their protests in the most venomous and disrespectful of ways. Egged on by hate-spewing commentators, for months ignorant folks parroted accusations they could not define. (Ask 'em if they actually know what "socialism", "communism", "fascism" or "tyranny" look like.) And when the passing of the bill was about to come true, epithets like "nigger" and "faggot" were bandied about; people were spit on. Man, they partied like it was 1965. Or 1865.

As for my long-standing issue with this particular reform, I'm not as magnanimous as some, which is why I firmly believe it should've been implemented and approved state-by-state and not as a federal mandate. In other words, those of us who live in states who wanted health care reform and universal health care--or the next best thing--should've fought to have it in our back yard, with the federal government helping to subsidize it for those who couldn't afford it but truly wanted it. But if you believe that you and/or those less fortunate than you should sink or swim in terms of health coverage, then, fine. Let those people hurting in your state see what it really means to go without.

I won't disagree with you if find my stance petty; I'll freely admit to it without prompting from anyone. But I just feel if adults don't want something that benefits them, they shouldn't be forced to have it. As my Dad would say, "As much as I may love you, you've gotta love yourself more." Or, put more bluntly in this case, fuck 'em.

Now these naysayers will also have health insurance available to them. And like the clueless, idiot fucks who say they don't want the government involved in Medicare--who do they think runs it?--they will reap the rewards but always decry the people who made it happen for them. It takes a big enough person to do something good for others who will not only be ungrateful, but vilify you for doing it. I guess that's what the lesson of turning the each other cheek is about. So, I must be a foul Christian, 'cause I would've just said, "Fuck 'em."


My old friend, Mr. P had this to say, in response to my post:
Certainly should be a state thing.

I'm not sure what this bill suppose to fix. The plan premiums may be up to $2,700 with a $6,000 (single) $11,900 (married) deductible. A married couple will have to pay up to $14,600 in medical costs a year before the insurance will pay a dime. The main problem with health care is affordability, many families can't afford to pay that much in health care per year. So who's going to pay their deductible? We are back to square one. Since this bill empowers the IRS, I would be surprised if one day the government could withhold one's tax return to pay your outstanding medical bill.

Another issue is that despite being called a mandate, not everyone will benefit, yet everyone is expected to pay. Sounds kinda like Social Security, which the Supreme Court upheld the idea that you can be forced to pay yet be denied the benefit.

This law is really lame. The biggest thing it's doing is giving the insurance companies more business at the tax payer's expense, and expanding government control [over] your health. While that won't happen overnight, the feds will take [NYC Mayor, Mike] Bloomberg's lead on health initiatives because the tax payer can't afford for you to be fat, or unhealthy. Perhaps we will have mandatory morning exercise in front of our TVs. Yes, that's a 1984 reference, but I thought it would be fitting on our way to the surveillance society.
But won't the deductibles be subsidized, if applicable? Truth be told, I don't mind giving the insurance companies more business if it means they can be closely regulated, ie. not rejecting folks w/pre-existing conditions, dropping people 'cause they got sick and treatment is super expensive, or raising premiums to exorbitant rates, (and at will) etc.

The whole thing regarding the "not everyone will benefit, yet everyone is expected to pay" scenario is that it falls under many other things we do for the benefit of the greater good. (If I'm not mistaken, some of the states that pay the least in federal taxes get the most in federal funds and vice versa.) But after I saw how nastily people at a Tea Party rally treated that pro-health care reform protestor whose son has Parkinson's, I'm convinced that for many, a traditional sense of individuality has taken a turn for the worse and become a selfish, "sink or swim" mentality. In other words, "I don't want ANYONE getting a red cent out of my pocket" is the idea w/these people.

As I've said before, this is how these folks think:
Can't afford health insurance? Get (yet) another job to pay for it. That operation you need costs more than what your insurer covers? Sell your house. Tuition too expensive? Welcome to McDonald's. Your employer exploiting you and your co-workers? Switch jobs. Unions? They're a racket. Corporations polluting your water, air? Hey, it's the cost of doing business.

And so on and so forth.
That was the gist of original my post: I feel the vast majority of opponents to health care reform take more issue with what they see as a handout, than the monetary cost of the law. Which is why it would've been better to have the states go about incorporating health care reform/universal health care on their own, with federal subsidies. Fuck 'em if those other states don't want it; this bill could cure cancer and those folks would not appreciate it. But we, here in NY, want it and should have it.

Mr. P also raises a good point about the IRS, but I think they are empowered by the bill more as an opportunity to take advantage of legal loopholes and guarantee its existence as law, rather than to have the IRS' agents become medical bill enforcers, but, who knows? He could be right.

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