I’m not a political or Constitutional scholar. I’m a social scholar. Maybe that’s why I find the motivations behind people’s political opinions to be far more fascinating than the opinions themselves. If you have read this blog before you probably well know that I am not a Republican. I have been lovingly (and not so lovingly) called a “bleeding-heart liberal”. I don’t, personally, take that as an insult. I think if more people had bleeding hearts we might be a little better off, but I digress.
The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the “Individual Mandate” of the Affordable Care Act was met, as always and expected, with diverse reactions. And, lucky for me, I have diverse Facebook friends to give me the rundown of what those opinions might be! Yea!!
I generally abstain from making comments on things unless I feel I can do so in a temperate and non-judgmental way…or I particularly agree with the post. Usually, when things make my blood boil, I stay quiet. Right or wrong, I don’t really care. I don’t want to engage in caps-lock warfare online with people I don’t have similar conversations with in person. Therefore, I will put my opinion here! Ah, the joys of blogging.
I really only have one question: What is the big freaking deal? Besides people who have fundamental objections to any involvement in the healthcare field (i.e., Christian Scientists or people who rely on holistic remedies) or those who object to anything Obama suggests out-of-hand just because he said it (which frankly pisses me off with regards to the whole political system and makes me fear for the human race), why should anyone take issue with the idea of universal healthcare? We no longer have Sarah Palin spouting nonsense about death panels, so everyone should have had a chance to step back and think about it. What is so wrong with forcing people to have insurance? We’ve been forced to have “state-minimum” auto insurance for years, and that’s not a national controversy. I mean we have The General and Norm McDonald peddling SafeAuto. What could be better than that? I’m sure there have been lawsuits, but they didn’t make it to the supreme court (to my knowledge). So, on that logic, what is so wrong with “federal minimum” health insurance? Is it an adolescent “nobody’s going to tell me I have to wear a seatbelt” thing? If so, that’s lame. We are not on our way to becoming a socialist republic with a fascist dictator who raises communist statues to himself and forces us all to grow pot on our hippie communes. (There is possibly some confusion of political systems there, but who’s counting.) We are a democracy. We have a free-market economy, but I whole-heartedly disagree with the notion that whatever we do must serve the economy first. We must serve the people first.
If you are independently wealthy, good for you. If you have worked Dave Ramsey’s steps with gazelle-like intensity and have no debt and a fully-funded 6-month emergency fund, good for you. But I hate to break it to you, you are in the extreme minority. I have, thankfully, never been without health insurance. I have never been unwillingly unemployed. I have the terminal degree in my field. But if by some twist of fate I or my husband were to lose our job or become unable to work, we would be, for lack of a better word, screwed. The good-old-days that many look back to with fondness are gone, my friends (if, indeed, they ever existed). We cannot go back to the days when we didn’t need health insurance. There was a time when people just paid when they needed a doctor. The “free-market” healthcare system has killed that idea. We can’t go back. I don’t have $150 for a nurse to administer a vaccine to my child. I don’t have $200 for a doctor to look in my child’s ear and confirm the infection I already knew was there. I don’t have $50 for an ibuprofen in the hospital. What I do have, is health insurance. Even with it, I paid well over $3000 to bring each of my children into the world in the manner that our culture has deemed necessary. If, heaven forbid, I had not had insurance I would have had to declare bankruptcy.
Do you want to know what I see in the future if we have universal healthcare? Fewer cans on the counters of grocery stores asking for money to help a premature baby. Fewer parents who cannot support their families because they missed the early stages of an illness and by the time it was caught it was too late to do anything. Fewer people choosing to claim disability because they can’t afford the treatment for a preexisting condition that keeps them from qualifying for insurance in the current market. And more money being spent in the free-market because less will go to exorbitant hospital bills.
The final note I leave you with is a conundrum I feel with this whole mess: why are many healthcare professionals so adamantly against universal healthcare? Many of the provisions will make your jobs easier. You will no longer order unnecessary tests because you’ll have access to the MRI Joe Blow had 2 months ago because of centralized medical recording. You will know if I’m allergic to penicillin. You won’t have to worry about whether or not you can treat me because you will know that I have some form of health coverage. You will be able to declutter your waiting area walls by taking down some of the signs that tell us what insurances you take and don’t take. And you will be able to better carry out your oaths to do no harm and care for the ill and injured.
Will it be an adjustment? Damn straight! Will there be hiccups? Definitely? Can we as a nation continue to subsist in the current system? No way.