Thursday, December 1, 2011

A "Government Takeover" It Is NOT

A few days ago, a couple of my colleagues asked me what I thought about the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare). Both of these colleagues are what I consider to be liberal to progressive Democrats and what they ultimately were questioning was where I stood in the government mandating that everyone buy health insurance from a private entity.

I believe they had no problem adding some coin to the coffers for a health care plan we could all enjoy, but I had the sense that they were kinda pissed about the fact that we'd still be purchasing said health insurance from private corporations. Wasn't this some kind of ethical breech of liberal conduct? Don't we hate corporations and why are we lining their pockets?

After explaining my position (it's a good first step in the right direction), we all nodded and went our separate ways. So imagine my surprise when about 10 days later I was perusing through my Twitter feed and found someone mentioning PolitiFact's "Lie of the Year" for 2010 was this:

PolitiFact editors and reporters have chosen "government takeover of health care" as the 2010 Lie of the Year. Uttered by dozens of politicians and pundits, it played an important role in shaping public opinion about the health care plan and was a significant factor in the Democrats' shellacking in the November elections.
Now, the person tweeting this probably wasn't aware they were tweeting last year's Lie of the Year, but it's worth a second look and it goes to show you how this discussion hasn't faded away. Everyone, both on the left and the right, especially with the clown car full of GOP presidential nominees who are vowing to "repeal Obamacare on Day One," are still discussing this issue.

Now, Mitt Romney may want to repeal a health care law that is based on his own Massachusetts health care law (including the mandate to purchase insurance), but if he were ever to be in that position, and for the good of the country I hope not, he'd have to have a complicit Congress to revote and reject ACA. You can't just declare a law null and void because you don't like it - and the fact that ACA has helped millions of people who weren't eligible for insurance previously due to preexisting conditions will make it difficult for members of Congress to deny that new privilege to their constituents.

So sure, this first step towards a country where health care can be available to all Americans may not be exactly what progressives wanted, but know that it's not a final step. Just as Social Security's first round excluded farmers for example, ACA will need to be tweaked over the coming years to make it fairer and more affordable. It will happen, but it will take time. Rome wasn't built in a day. But no, thank you Frank Luntz. A "government takeover" it's not. If only that were true, we actually might be better off.


jhw22 said...

Did you remind them that we didn't have a liberal candidate with a different idea? Even Hillary was for the mandate. Obama wasn't until the process of developing the plan showed him it was the only way.

I am with your pals, in that I hate that we have to pay companies. But in what aspect of life do we not? I have to pay a company for this internet access, and for the keyboard I am typing on and the couch I am sitting on. Granted, I wasn't "mandated" to buy these things, but the point of the health reform was that if we didn't have the mandate, we wouldn't lower the prices for premiums.

I was with Obama in not wanting them. But I understood it better as he understood it better.

And now, as you said, we have a good first step: one that gets me a free well-woman each year and gets my son with a peanut allergy a free annual check-up and we even switched companies without his pre-existing condition getting in the way.

And when we think about it, we are ALL mandated to buy products every day: we are mandated to pay taxes and those taxes pay businesses to pave roads, to make police uniforms, to feed school children, to treat pregnant women in hospitals. We pay companies to provide gods and services with every tax dollar we send in.

I am grateful for Obamacare. And I like it when Obama embraces the name. The GOP screwed up when they didn't call it ObamaGrandmaKiller. ;)


NowhereMan said...

I agree with Jenn in that we are mandated daily to pay for things we take for granted.You can buy a car but you are mandated to buy insurance for it or you won't be able to use it.
The most practical solution was to buy into medicare. That way the pool would've been so large,it would never have been in danger of ever growing broke.You could then have introduced preventive or healthy living programs for people if followed,would've been an incentive for lower premiums.