Monday, December 2, 2013

My Wife Joins the Fray on Obamacare

My cousin, now living in Israel where I believe there is a national health care system, is a conservative, anti-Obama, and especially opposed to Obamacare. Which I can understand if he was, like my wife and me, in favor of a single payer system -- Medicare for all. I mean, we are pissed too at Obama for allowing the insurance companies to run health care and take their pound of flesh. But he's a critic from the right. Much closer to a tea party libertarian point of view -- he does come from the business world.

My wife has some serious expertise in this area, having spent much of her career working in a major hospital handing insurance health issues and dealing with every insurance company and the medicare people -- who she found the most effective.

So when my cousin sent this video link about the Affordable Coffee Act to his list today with this comment ----
Clever no matter where you come down on the real ACA. (And less than 4 minutes long.)

---my wife responded:
Health insurance isn't a luxury, like coffee, that you really don't need to buy.  It's a necessity that at some point almost everyone will need. You can either pay for it now, often with the help of government subsidies, or pay for it later when you become ill and have no insurance and have to bankrupt yourself to obtain care. Just the fact that people with preexisting conditions can now obtain coverage is a huge step forward.

The ACA has faults and yes, you shouldn't have to pay for maternity care if you're menopausal or a man, but in lieu of universal coverage, it's better than the nothing that existed before the law was passed.  Also, although it's a government mandate, it's not the government that will reap windfall profits from the paltry penalty tax that individuals who fail to buy insurance must pay.  The big insurance companies will become even more obscenely rich than they are now by selling all of these policies.
Despite the fact that she was complaining that she had to spend a half hour of thinking time crafting this response, thus taking time away from playing with the cats, I think I'll offer that gal a regular health coverage beat on ed notes -- which she'll turn down of course. Playing with the cats and taking care of a feeble-minded husband takes priority.

My cousin responded with:
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. First, I know many people who would argue as to which is more important - their cup of coffee or almost anything else when they feel coffee-deprived.

The biggest problem for me is the "we know what is best for you attitude" that I feel has permeated the pro-ACA position. And the fact that the powers who pushed it through 3 years ago knew the truth and lied. Like the "little people" do not know what is good for them and, to quote the famous movie line, "can't handle the truth."

I believe the good elements of the law as you point them out could have been achieved other ways. But this was and is, pure and simply, a power grab by those that know better than the rest of us what is good for us.

Also, I find it is very easy for people who have the means to pay for something to think others, who have less means, should also.

I guess you and I will have to agree to disagree about which path is the most "righteous" (as in has the most "justice" in it) one to take. 
 So I get into this with this response:
We appreciate the debate on this. I am having the same one with my dentist who agrees with you and makes the points about a power grab. But a power grab by whom is what I ask?
He says by Obama -- the big govt- big brother argument.
We critics on the left say it is a typical crony capitalistic profit-making power grab by many elements in the health industry - some will gain a lot and others will lose out -- but generally the corporations will make out fine.
When I point to medicare and basically other than the all too high fraud that could be managed with better oversight, works out pretty well. Imagine medicare for all? Do you have such a health care system in Israel? If so do you consider that a power grab?

I find some hypocrisy in the "nanny state" argument given there are no complaints about so many areas --  required car insurance. Or the costs of so-called "security" and the costs of the military industrial complex which are never opened up to scrutiny.
How about those farm subsidies to millionaire mega-farmers?
There is so much cronyism in a government under the control of special interests that to abstract the idea of an uncoupled government from those interests makes this an ideological not an economic or political argument.
The complexities and failures of Obamacare are due to the needs to satisfy the profit motive of special interests.
People on your side of the fence are not offering those strong alternatives you claim are out there to cover people with pre-existing conditions. If we say let the government just offer them a plan that would work we would hear massive squawks. So basically, you guys have restricted the options and forced people to come up with some kind of plan that satisfies the special interests -- basically the very same plan Republicans were pushing before Obama became president - as in Massachusetts.
So it is interesting how the people against single payer -- who often love medicare - argue out of so many different sides of their mouths.
 I'm waiting for my wife to respond - if she stops playing with those damn cats. And tomorrow morning I have an appointment with my dentist to fix a broken tooth where I will attempt to make my points before he shoves instruments in my mouth.

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