Thursday, September 26, 2013

Health Care Isn't Evil

Earlier this year, I went to the hospital and wracked up a quick $19,000 in bills.  In three days.  Okay, fine.  Now, to someone without health insurance, that can be a little frightening.  I was able to get out without paying the whole bill because I went to a terrible hospital that caters to people without insurance and illegal immigrants.  You get out alive and you aren’t crippled with debt.  It’s a trade off for sharing the hospital room with a group of people shitting the bed, sucking gunk out of neck holes, and an abundance of visiting children (possibly the worst of the three).

Obviously, that sucked.  But going to a hospital that wasn’t able to help out financially would have basically ruined my life with debt.  I make enough money to get by, but there’s not a ton left over to shell out a quick $19,000 (or more) whenever my organs decide to turn against me.  This is why having health insurance would be nice.  As previously stated, I’m not rolling in money so my options for receiving health insurance are pretty scarce.  This is why I am looking forward to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.  Just in case somebody slams me while I’m on my bike or I have another vital organ turn against me, I won’t be completely fucked when it comes to getting help.  This isn’t too much to ask, right?

Apparently, a lot of people seem to think this is too much to ask.  This is exampled by the overwhelming, and loudly voiced, opponents of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare (cue the Halloween sounds and old-timey recording of a woman screaming).

Now, we all know that Obama wants to kill the elderly and raise your taxes.  That’s a given.  Can’t fault him for what he believes in.  And I don’t think it’s poor people having access to health care that is pissing off the opponents of the bill.  From what I’ve heard (and the articles I’ve been able to find on the issue) it seems people think the bill will raise the overall cost of health care for the rest of the country and destroy the economy.  Also that people like to say, “Fuck you!” whenever the government tells us that we have to do something.

First of all, I’m with you on the “Fuck you!” for forcing me to get health care.  I want it, so it works out in the end, but I don’t think I should be forced into anything.  If I want to smoke cigarettes while eating tainted beef and smoking copious amounts of hashish while having unprotected sex with a consenting prostitute, I think that’s my right (because it only harms me [assuming the prostitute isn’t being beaten by a pimp and is simply a self-starter] so who cares what I do in the privacy of my home?).  I’ll give you that one; you can be mad about the individual mandate.

And yes, the economy is in shambles and any extra breeze can make the entire façade crumble before our eyes, leaving us open for China to swoop in and steal our McDoubles.  I’ve tried to find a credible article on the reasoning behind Obamacare ruining our economy but everything seems too biased to the point that I can’t find a straight answer.  So if you have an answer (I mean actual facts and not just something you heard Glenn Beck say) I’d love to hear it.  But as it stands now, I feel like if I have to dig for irrefutable facts as to the reasoning behind the impending economic collapse, it must not be too pressing.  But, like I said:  Prove me wrong.  I want to know the argument.

Assuming that the introduction of Obamacare doesn’t make banks explode, quarters sporadically melt, and the American currency plummet in the global market, I think people need to chill out.  A frequent argument when a program to be funded by taxes comes about is, “Why should I have to pay for that person to blah blah blah…”  Whether the argument is about food stamps, college tuition, or unemployment benefits, the answer should be the same:  Because it’s the proper thing to do.

There’s a stigma attached to anybody that uses government assistance.  The person is “lazy” or a “deadbeat” or whatever.  I can’t speak to every singular issue, but I’ll try to illustrate my point by using myself as an example.  This may take away from the weight of my argument since I’m arguing from the side of a participant (like when Michael J. Fox started the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease; it would have been much more heroic if he had done it without actually contracting the disease because it wouldn’t have the element of self-service) but this is the only way I can argue it with knowing the full situation. 

I work full-time, pay all my own bills, and have enough to store away a little bit of money where I can afford to visit my family once a year.  I am in no way struggling paycheck to paycheck.  BUT, purchasing health insurance is out of my reach because the premiums are just too high at the moment.  I don’t think that just because I don’t make enough money to afford a new car payment means that I don’t deserve to be seen by a doctor that doesn’t need to be reminded what medications I’m allergic to every five minutes. 

That’s basically it.  I’m not trying to take advantage of the system or screw over the family down the block, I’m just trying to be healthy and okay.  Now, the Affordable Care Act might not be perfect, but it seems to be the only chance we have to move in the direction of something that makes sense.  The health care system in this country is so fucked right now that anything would be an improvement. 

The last four businesses that I have worked for have been “small businesses.”  I’ve heard the argument that this bill will kill these small businesses.  From what I’ve seen, this is bullshit.  The last shop I worked at tried to offer us health insurance but the premiums were still too high and (although they haven’t released the pricing) it looks as if it will only be made cheaper after the bill comes into effect.  This will not kill the business, but offer them another option when looking for providers.

Just because people like myself aren’t offered insurance through our employers or are able to afford independent plans, doesn’t mean we don’t deserve proper health care.  Sure, it might cost some other people a little more money (and I’m sorry for that) but why do we collectively not give a shit about anybody else?  Don’t you want families to be able to treat their kids when they get sick?  Don’t you want the elderly to get the care they deserve even though their bank accounts hold less than what is needed?  It seems like an issue of morality to me, and I think that’s where people like me and the people against the bill are separated; they see it as an economic issue and not one of humanity.  Now, I’m not saying that if you are against the bill that you want babies to starve and poor people to rot in the gutter while squirrels feed off of their fat reserves until street sweeping day comes along and they are finally carted away.  I’m just saying that perhaps they are looking at it as numbers instead of people.  That point of view is in no way incorrect, but in a looser sense of the word, I think it is wrong.

Here is where we border on the conversation about socialism.  And you know what?  I don’t care.  I think socialism (if done correctly, which will never happen because people in power are bound to become greedy and fuck everything up) is not a bad idea.  Robin Hood is a character loved by damn near everybody and he’s nothing more than a commie distributing the wealth of the rich.  What’s wrong with using an abundance of resources to help the less fortunate?

“Because I built this and fuck them those lazy sacks of shit just sucking off Uncle Sam’s teat while I slave away in the coal mine everyday!”

Right, but that’s a misrepresentation of people accepting help from the government.  Yes, there are people that milk the system and that sucks, but that’s not everybody.  That’s not the majority.  There’s no reason to write off somebody just because they don’t share the resources you might enjoy.

Also, if the Affordable Care Act is so bad for the economy, what happens in the case of a government shut down?  Is it anywhere near as bad as what would happen under Obamacare?  If it’s even a quarter as bad for the economy, the Act should be allowed funding.  In one instance, people get to see doctors.  In the other instance, our government proves that it is a collection of whiny, stubborn babies.  It has been projected that 14 million people will gain health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.  How can this be anything but good?

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