About the Health Care Ruling

Because it’s going to be all that anyone’s talking about over the next few days, news-wise, I thought I’d open my big trap about the matter now. Again. (For those of you who have forgotten, I wrote about this back when the bill was passed, as well. I also have talked about the cost of health care in this country.)

So Obamacare was upheld by the Supreme Court. And now we’ll get the obligatory back slapping from the Democrats and pitchfork waving from the Republicans. And we’ll hear about how it’s the best thing since sliced bread and how it’s written by Satan himself.

Thank goodness I don’t have television and won’t be tempted to watch the 24/7 news people drag this out even further.

As I said before, I fully support a mandate that everyone have health insurance. Yes, I realize this puts me at odds with many many many of my Republican friends, a few of which are even now unfriending me. Such is life. Call  it a tax, call it a mandate, call it an edict–I don’t care. What I do care is that I shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s shortsightedness.

When I go to the doctor or the ER, it costs a lot of money. Fact. My insurance pays most of it. Also fact. If you don’t have insurance and go to the ER (because emergencies happen, you know), it still costs money. If you can’t afford it, they don’t turn you away. They still treat you. But the bill doesn’t magically disappear. Someone has to pay it. That would be me, through my higher health insurance costs.

This is not fair.

And yes, I realize life doesn’t have to be fair. But in this instance, it can be. I see one of two options. Either only people who have insurance or are independently wealthy can use the ER services–in which case the ones without insurance can just heal their broken bones or their cancer or their whatever all on their own–or everybody pitches in and pays for it. You don’t want insurance? Fine. Don’t have any. But chip in so that I don’t have to cover your cheap hide.

(Friends out there who are against Obamacare–tell me why you are. Be specific. Don’t talk about “liberties.” Explain how not having health care wouldn’t essentially tax everyone else. Tell me why I’m wrong. I’m open minded. I’ll listen. But I’m doubting you can convince me.)

It also is far from just and fair that the only people who get access to health care are those who are employed full-time, and that the quality of that coverage varies wildly based on what specific employers are willing to pay for. I have writer and artist friends who would love to have health care, but they can’t afford it. That needs to change.

So I’m all for this passing. If this election were solely about health care, I would be scared stiff of how hard nosed the Republicans are about this topic. I completely disagree with them, and when Romney boasts about how fast he’ll repeal Obamacare, I really worry. Get rid of it, and replace it with what? The old broken system. We can’t be playing a big old health care hokey pokey game where you grant it to people one second, then yank it away the next, only to give it back later.

I hate politics.


That’s all the energy I have for this topic at the moment. Maybe I’ll add more in the comments.

15 thoughts on “About the Health Care Ruling”

  1. Not looking to disagree with you, but “I’ll be open minded” and then “I’m doubting you’ll convince me” in the same thought made me chuckle.

  2. Yeah–I thought about it when I wrote it, but decided not to re-edit. Because if someone comes up with some good arguments, I really could change my opinion. It’s just that right now, I can’t think of any arguments that would be effective in actually doing that. So . . . open-minded, but skeptical that there are good arguments out there. 🙂

  3. Okay, debating politics on the internet usually leaves me running the other direction, but I don’t think there are pitchforks here, so I’ll post.

    I don’t like Obamacare because it doesn’t actually make health care cost less — it just spreads the cost around, and with everyone on insurance, I’m afraid those costs will just inflate.

    What I’d like to see is more innovations that make health care *actually cost less.* In Boise, for example, there are a number of drop-in clinics with nurse practitioners in them that handle a number of basic health needs — like sprains, flu, and ear infections. They charge $55 flat. I know exactly what I’ll pay when I walk in, and it’s less than a regular doctor’s visit. I adore these clinics.

    Likewise, I love the certified-nurse midwives who delivered kiddo #2 in a birthing center. For prenatal care, deliver, and house-visits after the birth, I paid $3,600. That’s less than what the doctors charged just for prenatal for kiddo #1. Let alone the hospital’s bill of $10k+.

    I know those two examples don’t cover all situations (like high risk births, heart surgery, etc), but I think other things could be done to lower the cost of healthcare — like capping how much patients can sue to drop the cost of malpractice insurance. It frustrates me that everyone talks about making insurance more affordable instead of making healthcare more affordable.

  4. Whenever I hear debate on public healthcare, I just keep thinking of Alma’s admonition to the people at the waters of Mormon to care for the poor and needy. That’s what really gets me about Christians being so outspoken about how they shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s problems. Yes. It’s not our fault that they screwed up their lives. But seriously, I just don’t see how people can talk about loving their neighbor and then be very outspoken about how they shouldn’t be responsible for someone else’s healthcare/insurance/whatnot. I definitely don’t think we have a perfect system, but it’s the ideology that really fires me up on this. This is my beef with Utah culture in general…

  5. I don’t know what to think…. I don’t tink it’s fair to make people have it, but I think hospitals should be able to garnish wages.
    I hink they ned to increase competition & make things more transparent. Why can’t you shop your health care dollars like u do anything else? It’s dumb.

  6. First, I’d say that I agree with the comment that the Affordable Care Act does very little to actually decrease the cost of healthcare. We are one of the most expensive systems and are far down the list of best outcomes among industrialized nations.

    Second, the issue of paying for someone else while being a Christian. For me it isn’t about a refusal to help others. It is about doubting the ability of our government to actually implement and manage something this big. I will pay 90% tax rate without complaint so long as I trusted the government to be responsible and not waste my money, but there are too many examples of government fraud and mismanagement.

  7. @David–great point. And I actually came back to add that I don’t think I wrote my comment very cogently. My frustration on this issue stems from seeing people on Facebook discuss it directly as a sort of “they deserve it because they’ve brought it upon themselves.” And Bryce, I definitely didn’t mean to lump you in with that group. 🙂

  8. MK–I definitely agree that healthcare should cost less, and I’m certainly not convinced Obamacare is the solution to that. But I believe that it creates movement in an industry that was set on a disastrous course. Politicians sitting around, pointing fingers and wringing their hands did absolutely nothing to correct that. Obamacare got the ball rolling again. I would have hated to see it overturned, just because then we’d be right back where we were at the beginning: with finger pointing and hand wringing.

    Rachael–To me, this is more about everyone getting healthcare than it is about paying for other people’s care. I think everyone should have access to good, basic healthcare. Period. If you’re too poor to afford it, it should be given to you. The people who frustrate me the most are the ones who stubbornly refuse to get health insurance, claiming they’re perfectly healthy and don’t need it. But then when tragedy strikes, they suddenly NEED that care, and they’re shocked and outraged that it’s expensive. Note–this doesn’t include people who *want* healthcare and can’t afford it.

    Completely agree with you about the un-Christian behavior/rhetoric of so many on the religious right.

    Rachael & David–I also agree that trusting the government to actually implement healthcare correctly takes an enormous leap of (likely-misguided) faith. The system will be abused. There will be tremendous waste, and that’s really disappointing. Then again, that happens with everything the gov’t touches these days. That to me is an issue separate from healthcare.

    Like you said, David–we’re far from the best healthcare system in the world. It shouldn’t be rocket science to figure this all out. But many Americans are so convinced of our nation’s inherent superiority that taking models from Europe or Asia just makes them go through the roof. Time to set aside national and personal pride and start fixing the problems.

    I could go on ranting. I’m trying not to.

  9. In regards to the cost, simply insuring everyone without changing the cost structure only puts us further and further into debt. Other countries with universal single payer (government) systems uses the method of rationed care. Simply put, you don’t get what you want just because you want it. So, if you think you need your third CT scan in a month you don’t get it without meeting specific clinical indicators. I get this all of the time. Mostly, these are mental health cases but they push and we don’t do a good job saying no. Also, we spend huge amounts of money in the last 2 weeks of a person’s life. Why? Because people don’t want to give up, or take the realistic view that they are dying. Usually this is the family issue rather than the family.

  10. Great post! I completely agree! I also love the comments – especially about truly being Christ-like, and creative ways to bring down the cost of health care. We didn’t have health insurance for one of my pregnancies, and so also chose to go the mid-wife/birthing center route – it cost less than our 20% portion of the previous pregnancy!! Then we waited 5 years to conceive our next child until we had health insurance again – we all need to try and make careful decisions when it comes to the costs of health care – just doing this would bring costs down dramatically!!

  11. Sorry it’s taken me a bit to get back to this thread (and you’re both at camp now, so I suppose you won’t really be seeing this soon anyway), but:

    David–Good points. And I agree that we go to ridiculous lengths to try and keep a heartbeat going in people who should have died days or weeks or whatever ago. I know it seems harsh, but I’ve seen too many family members just stretch on and on and on in an awful state of “living.” I don’t want to end up like that. I don’t think anyone does. And yet we pay tons of money so it can keep happening. People watch one or two Hollywood movies with miracle cures at the end, and they think there’s still a chance . . . Then again, how to legalize it in a way that can’t be abused is a very complex issue. One I can’t help but think our government can’t handle. How is this done elsewhere in the world? Can we use somewhere else as a pattern?

    Betsey–Completely agree. 🙂

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