Hands Off My Healthcare: Opposition To Obamacare, Explained.

in Economics/Law/Politics by
   

Unless you’re Bill Belichick, you may have heard a thing or two about the impending repeal of The Affordable Care Act on Snapface or Instachat. Actually, you’ve probably heard quite a lot. From Esquire stating 30 million people lost their healthcare overnight, to countless pithy tweets and Facebook quotes about the evils of the Republicans for wanting to deny coverage to the American people. The problem is that this isn’t true.

The Affordable Care Act has NOT been repealed. Nor have any provisions been dismantled.

The infamous late-night vote you surely read about was to authorize congress to modify Obamacare’s funding down the line – setting the path for a repeal. Democrats attempted to attach various amendments, locking the republicans into keeping certain provisions during this process, which were shot down. That does not mean they won’t be kept. It means they didn’t lock themselves in before they had a chance to modify the bill.

Not a single thing about Obamacare has been changed.

Any source that fails to mention this information is failing you and manipulating you.

In a world where Democrats and Liberals have primed their pitchforks and torches and are chomping at the social media bit about lying, fake news, and hyperbole, I’m afraid, well, they’ve been bamboozled by slanted and misleading information.

Thus, this article is for you, 27-year-old college graduate, suffering from Post Traumatic Trump Disorder. An examination of the whys and hows and truths and falsehoods of Obamacare. I’m not here to change your mind. I’m here to expand it.

“…We all have to try harder. We all have to start with the premise that each of our fellow citizens loves this country just as much as we do; that they value hard work and family just like we do; that their children are just as curious and hopeful and worthy of love as our own.” – President Barack Obama

As I understand it, which is not very well but a little better than most, the fundamental thrust of Obamacare is two-fold. The first is coverage for pre-existing conditions. I.E If I find out I have cancer this moment, I can be insured at no extra charge via the Affordable Care Act.

It’s incredibly expensive. The way insurance companies typically stay solvent is the healthy people that pay for insurance rarely need to use their coverage, and thus their premiums and payments go to cover people who do get sick.

This is also known as a “risk pool”. It’s a see-saw. If I insure 600 24-year-old vegetarians, they are far more likely to be cash-flow positive than a 74-year-old smoker with lung cancer. Ideally, those 24-year-olds cover the cost of the 74-year-olds’ treatment.

The reason why those with pre-existing conditions could not get insurance prior to Obamacare is that, well, if you purchase it after finding out you’re sick, it’s not really insurance anymore – it’s a handout – when the government gets involved, it’s a subsidy.

And as the uninsured would tell you, the cost of treatment, or a hospital stay, or even day surgery is astronomical, thanks in part to liabilities and cost of instruments, medication, and staff. Cancer drugs cost about 10k a month if the Internet is to be believed, and it’s on insurance companies to foot the bill.

(There’s also the cold-hearted argument that you have an entire life to save for a potential healthcare calamity, and if you’re not covered when it hits, it’s your own fault. I’m not sure I agree with this statement.)

By mandating that insurance companies cover anyone and anyone with a pre-existing condition, the see-saw gets thrown out of whack. So to balance this see-saw, Obamacare also mandates everyone in this country must have health insurance. Whether you’re rich or poor or sick or healthy. If not, you have to pay a tax. And since the Health Insurance is cheaper than the tax you need to pay, well, there you go.

Unfortunately, that didn’t quite work. Because a lot of the people being insured for the first time are those least likely to be able to afford it previously, the Federal Government has subsidized a lot of these costs. Essentially paying for insurance for millions of Americans. So that Risk Pool which helps insurance companies stay profitable is, in essence, being paid for by your tax dollars.

In fact, the ballooning of the federal deficit to 560 Billion dollars could be attributed to these subsidies and the fact that the Government pays for the insurance of tens of millions of Americans.

Thus we have a healthcare law that forces you to have insurance even if you don’t want it, will then pay for that insurance if you can’t afford it, in order to keep insurance companies who can’t handle the costs of the sudden influx of sick people afloat.

There you have it, basically the 3rd-grade version of Obamacare as I understand it. On paper it’s amazing. Insurance, birth control, and Colonoscopies for everyone. Many lives have been saved. But it’s expensive, complicated, and tricky to sustain too.

So, let’s talk about those Dastardly Republicans who want to repeal it – and why they probably won’t.

“The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” – Ronald Reagan

Obamacare passed without a single Republican vote – and arguably started the systematic obstructionism from the Republicans following the midterms, which in turn will result in Democrats doing mostly the same thing to Donald Trump.

Passing this law was…. a mess.  One democrat was quoted as saying they were making the rules up as they go along.

Republicans are looking to repeal the law for a few reasons. As mentioned above, it’s wildly expensive, and Speaker Ryan has stated it’s a spiral that’s collapsing; There isn’t enough money, premiums are rising to cover that, and several co-ops have closed across the country. Their theory is that it will implode.

The other issue is that, well, the government is bad at this sort of thing. Think about tax forms, the DMV, the launch of Healthcare.gov, THE VA HOSPITAL, and other government organizations. Are any of them efficient? Are any of them streamlined? Think about Benghazi and think about Waco. The government is not very good at quite a lot.

Hell, to figure out how much I owed the government for my student loans, I had to fill out three forms on two different websites. That is insanity. They then took my entire tax return because I was in default without any forewarning.

When peoples’ health is at risk, the last things you want to hear are cumbersome, unwieldy, inefficient, and unfair.

Also, keep in mind that most people have zero clue how any healthcare law works. I spent hours researching this stuff to come up with the grade school sketch I’m presenting to you now. Furthermore, anyone who really knows about this stuff is unlikely to take a low-paying government job when they can make a lot more money doing it in the private sector.

These are some of the reasons why Republicans want to repeal Obamacare. If it was just about a cheap political victory, they would have dropped it the second President-elect Trump won the election.

To think everyone in favor of the repeal is a liar, idiot, fool, bigot, and wants everyone to die, is asinine. There are legitimate reasons to want to repeal or modify Obamacare.

Which is what will happen. Will the individual mandate go away? What about coverage for pre-existing conditions? If a republican wants to win an election at any point in the next 20 years? It’s doubtful. We’ll get a big show and dance, and the regulations that ‘news’ outlets are saying are being taken away, will stay.

It’ll be called a victory. Senators Sanders and Warren will take credit when in reality this stuff was never going away to begin with. It is nearly impossible to repeal the popular provisions. 

Hopefully, you understand a bit more about this whole shebang now. How this works, the issues, and the positives and negatives. Hopefully, you consider the people opposed to the law as something a bit more human, which is what our world needs more than ever.

Perhaps you’ll avoid sharing those pithy tweets and Facebook posts that accomplish nothing, other than to make you angry and vindicate a cynical worldview. Maybe you’ll read a little more and jump to conclusions a little less. Maybe your blind faith has waned. A blind faith in a news media that wants your views and anger to drive your shares and comments to drive their advertising. Blind faith in your friends who post these stories that you share. Blind faith in tweets that can’t go beyond a paragraph that you rely on to explain complex public policy.

Otherwise? You look petulant, uneducated, and simple. You will be a part of the noise in a world of it. Gratifying yourself via the pseudo-intellectual masturbations of others. You will learn nothing. You will contribute nothing. You will become sour and bitter and enraged, all the while remaining ignorant to what’s actually happening, because there isn’t an entrance exam to a shit show.

Ultimately – my point is this: You can hate the Republicans, the fact they want to repeal Obamacare, but blind faith will ruin you. Understand the why of something. Otherwise, you’re simply in the middle of a social media circle jerk, and I think we all agree viagra shouldn’t be covered.

Paul Meekin is a writer, editor, and critic of all things media. He'd prefer the government stay out of his wallet and out of his entertainment. He can be reached at @MeekinOnMovies for bookings and inquiries.

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