Too Many People…

October 29, 2013

crowdThis is kind of a continuation of yesterday’s post about why Republicans hate Obamacare. One thing I didn’t come across in my one hour search of why they hate Obamacare but I have seen it used as part of their opposition is that it puts too many additional people into the system. They say adding 30 million more consumers of healthcare will overwhelm our system.

This seems to me to be a somewhat typical complaint among many of my conservative friends. They look almost exclusively at themselves and the status quo when they see changes being made.  That is why they are called conservatives I guess. They just don’t like change, especially change that they see negatively impacting themselves.  The mentality of “if I don’t benefit from it then don’t change it” is pervasive in many of their current actions.  Since my GOP friends seem to be afraid of just about everything nowadays there is a lot for them to be against.

But, let’s get back to Obamacare. Too many people in the system will degrade their personal healthcare so the answer is to keep the 30 million currently locked out of healthcare right where they are. Why can’t these folks who are locked into that mentality look at the opportunities instead of the possible personal detriments. We all know that jobs should be the number one priority so why can’t they see that the answer to too many people is to add more doctors and nurses to our system to meet the increased demand? Why must they be against Obamacare instead of seeing the opportunities for more jobs and a better lifestyle for more of our citizens? When you are locked into a perpetual “Anti-” mode it is hard to see anything as an opportunity rather than a threat.

I wish my conservative friends would be a little more “progressive” in their thoughts and actions. It is really a much better place to be than being against everything….

9 responses to Too Many People…

  1. 

    Again, I think universal health care Is the way to go.
    I simply wonder how many actual conservative friends you have
    Whom you speak to regularly. I don’t know any of whom you speak and I live I. The first or second most conservative states in the country. Are you speaking pundits who make their money off of rhetoric?
    All of the conservatives I know, including my ultra conservative mother are not even close to the heartless people you describe. Many of them are small business owners in several states.

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  2. 

    My IPad has its own mind- Aggg. Sorry I did not proof before posting.

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    • 

      I too have an iPad but don’t use it much for text input. I prefer a solid feel of an actual keyboard.

      Yes, I too have some conservative friends as you describe. They seem to be caring people but to one degree or another they just don’t like some of “those other people”. I think part of it is that they, as you seem to indicate in your email, don’t really know many who are seriously challenged in life and their circumstances. So, they think that most who need assistance are just freeloaders living off the system. I try to give them examples of those who are really struggling and it seems to bring out compassion in them.

      Do I talk to them on a daily basis? No, my deafness usually prevents regular discussions on a person to person basis. Much comes from email and other electronic communications and much is from previous interactions from the small conservative church where I once was a member.

      I am like you in that I can’t imagine that most who call themselves conservative, and it is surprising that many who are obviously conservatives by nature refuse to call themselves conservatives but insist that they are independents actually agree with all the spiteful rhetoric going on in DC. So, it confuses me when they still adamantly back those in Washington who spout those hate filled words. But many do rant on about our president. Yes, I have heard some call him a Muslim and not really an American among other things. To them he is just not like “us”….

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  3. 

    RJ

    In theory I am for the ACA, I refuse to call it Obamacare because I think it is demeaning to the President. I cannot think of any reason why anyone in this country should not have insurance. We have the world’s most prosperous nation in the history of the world, and I find it depressing that we are arguing over this issue.

    I am a Democrat and have been for ten years. I am more of a Blue Dog than raging liberal so you can understand my viewpoint.

    In my heart I don’t feel good about this legislation for two reasons. I think it is being forced on the population, rather than being a way to help those who need it. I hesitate to support any legislation that has so many rules, regulations, and has real enforcement teeth via the IRS. For the tax collection agency to have that much power actually scares me because I really don’t trust the IRS.

    My second issue with this legislation is that I feel that it is written to the benefit of the existing big health care insurance companies. Looking at rates, deductibles, and the stock prices of these companies. It seems that they are the big winners. Their rates have gone up thanks to what amounts to price fixing, their expenses are limited because of the raised deductibles and the stock prices have doubled and still rising in the past year because Wall Street things they will all make record level profits.

    Can you imagine the effect on the economy if the oil companies found a President who had their best interests at heart. What if the President found a way to artificially manipulate gas prices by starting a regional conflict that tripled the price of oil and then ensured the price would remain at that level by taking over a oil rich country by awarding the oil contracts to a foreign country? You know all that happened and we all can see its effects.

    I love your thought process RJ, so I ask you this. Do you think the current ACA is good as it is currently constructed?

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    • 

      Thanks for the reply. It is nice to see some nuanced responses about things some don’t like about ACA. To put my political ideology up front if you are not aware, I am a social progressive while also being a fiscal conservative and no I don’t consider myself a liberal.

      Is the ACA perfect? No, of course not. As you or maybe Erik below (who I am trying to address at the same time here) said I was much in favor of a single-payer system as most of the rest of the world has. It is the only way to really control our runaway healthcare costs. The rest of the world found that solution several years ago; we have yet to follow their lead. But then again when do we ever learn our lessons from others? 🙂

      I don’t know how old you two are but I was around and an adult when Medicare became law and I recall many of the same arguments and malevolence to it at that time. Many were saying it will cause the end of “western medicine”. And of course Part-D also had its advocates but as you both know they are very well thought of now and almost no one would dream of defunding them.

      I too am somewhat troubled that so much of this legislation was originated by the private insurance industry. As a result they had too much input. But that is all we could get this time around. If only the politicians would come around to try and figure out how to make improvements instead of being anti-everything we could make it better. There needs to be a minimum standard for insurance but I agree that there is probably too much in ACA in some areas.

      So, I am not a big lover of ACA. It should have been better but if it were only considered a starting point for further improvements we could actually accomplish something with all this rhetoric going on now. If you want to see some other discussions in this area go to my friend Bob Lowry’s blog on the topic at

      http://satisfyingretirement.blogspot.com/2013/10/retirement-advice-my-first-hand.html

      Thanks again for all the thoughts. Come back often. You help us all grow a little with your perspectives..

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      • 

        RJ,

        I think there is also a fundamental reason so many are opposed to the ACA. It is a reason that I am so closely aligned with the opposing side. It is about being told what to do. I am a grown man, I provide for my family, I pay my taxes, I served in the military and I have heath insurance. But because I try to do the right thing, doesn’t mean I like to be told what to do.

        I think Eric’s case is one that resonates with me. He has done nothing wrong, but that doesn’t matter. He is looking at an additional $600 per month just because. It is a car payment for something that he prays he will never have to use. That is a tough pill to swallow.

        Maybe, I am talking myself into being opposed to the ACA after all. Or maybe I am just opposed to this version of health care.

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  4. 

    Interesting follow-up post. And let me offer up my own rifle-shot critize of the ACA (nothing is perfect, but let’s remember this is a law “no one” wanted since liberals wanted more progressive single-payer plan and conservatives essentially wanted the status quo).

    I am self-employed and buy my own health insurance. I don’t believe insurance is (or should be) designed to cover “everything”, by which I mean birth control pills, flu shots, vitamins, etc. I don’t expect my homeowners’ insurance to cover my lawn when it needs to be mowed or my fence when it needs to be painted. I don’t want to pay for auto insurance that covers oil changes, flat tires and the like. And I don’t want to pay for health coverage that covers the smaller things I know I’m going to pay for (so why pay a middle man to take my money and give it right back?)

    So imagine my joy when I received a notice that my current insurance is “going away” because it doesn’t meet the Federal Government’s “minimum ACA standards”… I am being told I can’t self-insure for my annual physical, for my own contraception, for this and that, or have a plan with a high deductible. Phew. I’m glad they know better. I almost don’t mind (well, yes I do) that the President “misled” me when he said that I could keep my coverage if I liked it. Because, actually, no I couldn’t and they knew I wouldn’t be able to – that’s how they wrote the law! Instead, the smarter ones in DC won’t let me determine for myself what health coverage is appropriate for me and my family. So instead of paying about $400/month I will now be paying (apparently) over $1,000. Per month, not per year.

    I’m not sure how much of that is due to a “better package” I don’t want and how much is paying for someone else’s subsidized coverage, but half the country is too busy worrying about when the president knew the website was screwed up, and the other half is too busy telling everyone what their newest charitable obligations should be. And, as usual, no one focuses on the practical implications for everyone in the middle…

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  5. 

    RJ – Great post! Thanks for getting this exchange started.

    I think one thing that people need to remember is that the 30 million “additional” people being added have always been in our healthcare system. The problem was that most of them were forced to use the most expensive channel of accessing that healthcare system – the ER room at the local hospital. Hospitals in the past were never able to turn people away from the ER regardless of whether they could pay or not. The hospitals simply turned around and raised the prices for those with insurance to cover the costs associated for those without.

    Which leads to one point back to Erik’s note…..I like his analogy with home owners insurance. I live in CA where we routinely have massive fires destroying houses etc. My house has never had a fire but some portion of my insurance premium is actually used by the insurance carrier to cover the real costs of people whose homes do burn down. Since I believe that collectively we live and benefit from living in this society, we need to be there to help each other for we all benefit in the long run. As a result o ACA, it appears that once I am able to get on our CA exchange (LOL) my healthcare premiums are also going up materially for a plan that is fundamentally like what I had prior to ACA being implemented. But….I feel that we need to help cover the costs for people to use the system in a way that will benefit everyone (myself included) in the long run.

    And my final point on ACA is attempting to reform/change our health care system that it is an extremely complicated system but we needed to start somewhere. I agree there are flaws in this first version that will need to be worked out in the long run (and I assume they will be) as we figure out the right balance between healthcare costs, premiums and appropriate profits for the private sector companies and investors. While many people indicate they would prefer a single payer system run solely by the government, I worry in that set up how much innovation and risk taking would occur to continue to improve our overall healthcare system. In my opinion, the private marketplace with its profit motivation has historically proven to be more innovative than the public one. When done right, the public sector is often able to properly regulate and oversee the private sector. This “public/private partnership” model seems to be a bit tattered in the recent past given the views of some regarding the usefulness of our government but it has proven to be quite effective in how our economy has succeeded in the past.

    So…in the long run, I hope we continue to keep working together to make our system better for ALL people that live in our society – we’re in the together! And thanks, again, RJ for keeping this dialog going among your readers!

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    • 

      Hi Mike, thanks for chiming in here. As you say it is nice to hear some of the real concerns about ACA. I have heard from several different sources about how insurance companies are telling their customers that their plan does not meet ACA standards but they have a plan, at usually twice the cost, to replace it. But it seems that, as Bob Lowry found (from a reply above), that if you go to the exchange you can find something better and cheaper than even your original plan. I’m sure the insurance companies are counting on people just throwing up their hands and taking the much more expensive plan they offer. As has been mentioned the poor implementation of the exchange websites is aggravating the problem.

      Yeah this is a significant reform of the healthcare system so there will be flaws that need to be revised. I realize that the profit incentive has produced some significant things in the system but it also has its weaknesses. For example I recently learned that all of the U.S. pharmaceutical companies have stopped development of new antibiotics. They can make a much bigger profit from Viagra type drugs and things that people stay on the rest of their lives. New antibiotics are very important to the overall healthcare as there are constantly new viruses that are immune to the current drugs. Without new drugs we could very possibly come into a major plague type situation in the future.

      Thanks to everyone here for their comments. Its nice to know that there are some “real” reasons to be concerned about this initial attempt at healthcare reform. Lets hope, like wine, that it gets better as it ages…..

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