Open Letter To Opponents of ObamaCare

June 29, 2012 By: erik Category: Complaining, Politics, USA 320 views

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Dear people who oppose ObamaCare,

I’m curious about your thinking about possible solutions to the messed up US healthcare system. One starting assumption that leads directly to opposing ObamaCare is that healthcare is not a right, that poor people should not be given healthcare and allowed to die simply because they are poor. If you agree that only the wealthy deserve to be healthy, then you are a cruel, inhumane person and please stop reading this letter.

Now that it’s just us civilized folk, let’s talk about the problem of how to fairly provide healthcare to everyone. Let’s assume, for the sake of constructive discussion, that we can’t just wipe the slate clean and design a brand new healthcare system from scratch. The biggest problem with the US healthcare system at the moment is called the Preexisting Condition Problem, namely that insurers regularly refuse to offer insurance to people who are already sick. From a business profit point of view, this makes perfect sense, but the end result is sick people dying with no healthcare, which you already agreed is bad. Therefore, we must prohibit insurers from denying care because of preexisting conditions. It’s the only option that doesn’t involve cutting the insurance companies out of the system entirely (which isn’t feasible with our corporate-funded legislature).

Okay, so now we’ve done away with the Preexisting Condition Problem, so we’re done, right? Wrong. Now we have the Free Loader Problem. If insurance companies can no longer deny me coverage if I’m sick, why should I buy insurance until I get sick? That would be a waste of money! However, if everyone does this, the cost of insurance for the sick skyrockets prohibitively, and the whole system collapses. Any universal healthcare system only works when healthy people are paying for the healthcare of the sick people.

So, everyone who can afford to must be paying money into the system, whether they’re sick or healthy. Most modern first world nations do this via taxes, which is generally how societies solve “everybody needs to chip in to pay for X” problems. What the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. ObamaCare) does is remove that tax by allowing you to pick and choose among a market of health insurance providers. As long as you can prove that you’re insuring yourself, you don’t have to pay the obvious tax that is needed if we’re going to keep the poor from dying in the street without healthcare.

My question, to people who oppose ObamaCare (and also accept that healthcare is a right), is where, exactly, you see flaws in the reasoning I’ve just presented to you? Perhaps I’m not as bright as you, but I personally cannot think of a better tweak to our system that addresses both the Preexisting Condition Problem and the Free Rider Problem, and is extremely generous to the health insurance corporations.

Sincerely,

Erik

 
  • http://twitter.com/smattery Andrea Kopacek

    I hope someone answers your question because I cannot think of any answer to it that could possibly make sense.

    Also, tangentially-related, I hate that the term ObamaCare even exists. It’s called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. But people who are against it had to strip it of its real name, because who could be against patient protection and affordable care? It’s much better to take away that name and call it ObamaCare so that if you hate Obama, you hate the law.

    • http://erikras.com/?utm_source=disqus&utm_medium=profile&utm_campaign=Disqus%2BProfile Erik R.

      I agree, but PPACA is a bit of an acronym fail. Just ACA would’ve been better…or some enormous acronym like whatever the heck makes up PATRIOT ACT might have lent itself to better marketing. And marketing is paramount on this stuff.

      • http://twitter.com/smattery Andrea Kopacek

        That is true, regarding the acronym fail. But I believe the use of the term ObamaCare isn’t simply because it’s more memorable. It’s a deflection from the true nature of the law.

  • bawa

    well said.

  • http://erikras.com/?utm_source=disqus&utm_medium=profile&utm_campaign=Disqus%2BProfile Erik R.

    What follows is a well-written response I got to this letter from a Facebook friend.


    In response to your post…. A few things up front…..Your post was insightful and appreciated, as have been your previous links and posts, so Thanks for that! Also, I don’t know that I necessarily oppose ObamaCare, but I understand some of the reasons why some folks do. So I am going to attempt to collect them here and put them together in a way that makes sense.

    Personal Responsibility – I believe that this is one of the most important yet lacking ideals in our society today. To me, and to many others, this is HUGE. Some feel that any time that the government steps in to provide something….. anything that was previously only offered for a fee….. that the government is enabling people to have less and less personal responsibility. When the government provides services….. it has to pay for them some how….. and often times, this is through taxes. It is concerning to me when people trivialize something like “taxing the rich”. Who is rich? Who determines rich? How is it fair that a person who worked very hard for a fortune….. is now responsible for everyone else.There are lots of holes in that argument… lots of rich people didn’t work for their money… they inherited it….. but SOMEONE worked for it. If you or I, today, had an invention or started a very successful company from scratch and it became very successful…. We would want our children and our children’s children (and so on) to benefit….. not the guy who didn’t take the risk…. Didn’t come up with the idea… or his children…. So – I am rambling – but the first reason is personal responsibility. If the government pays for everyone’s healthcare it will lessen even more the importance of personal responsibility. This is not an excuse to “let poor people die”. It’s just a point of view.

    Government Inefficiency – The federal government is huge. Some people believe that it operates very inefficiently….. as a taxpayer, am I getting my money’s worth? It would be interesting to look at overall efficiency of our Federal Government vs. the national government of another country….. I realize that I am using the term “efficient” in a very broad stroke…. But simply put, some people believe that the Federal Government takes our money (taxes) and then wastes our money… the bigger that the government gets, the more it wastes money. While no one would argue that healthcare to save dying people is a “waste” of money…. They see Obamacare as the government getting bigger…. And wasting more money. I completely realize that what is a “waste” of money to me is not to someone else….. But many successful business owners look at how they run their business….. and then at how the government is run…. And they get pissed. I am not saying that the government should be run like a business completely…. Just that many business owners who pay a lot of tax… don’t see why its not run more like a business….What do I mean when I say “run like a business”? I don’t have numbers in front of me, so I am (dangerously) generalizing… but a stereotype of a “government” job is that it’s really tough to get fired from. So if a worker performs at bare minimum standards…. Then he/she could have a job for life. Again…. I’m merely stating that there is a big perception out there that the government wastes a lot of money.So the second point is that people think the federal government is very inefficient, Obamacare would increase the footprint of the federal government… and waste even more taxpayer money.

    Fear of Change – this fear is not new or unique to this situation…. But many people have put themselves in the position that they are in, based upon how things are now. For example, Some people may be working for a big company, in part, because they offer good health insurance… which they pay a portion of, but the company pays a big chunk of. The fear of change is huge and cannot be understated. All of the talking heads and government spokespeople telling them its going to be ok…. Doesn’t remove the fear. Again, I am not saying that this fear is justified or even logical….. but that it is real. To your point….Many of the complainers don’t have any solutions…. And that is completely irritating. Healthcare is a VERY complicated and VERY personal situation. Also, people only see thing from their perspective and make broad and sometimes inaccurate assumptions based upon their experiences. It is hard to blame them for that…. Yet I still do have a problem with stupid People.

    So the above were just some points of view, not necessarily an argument for or against Obamacare. What follows is my opinion….. Our Federal government has gotten way to political. I honestly believe that Barrack Obama really wanted to work as the President to solve some of the problems that the USA is facing. I believe he is a very smart, and probably pretty nice guy. (He’s a Tarheel fan afterall) Some republicans refuse to work with him at all…… because they think it might be “political suicide” to sway from the party lines. I also believe that the opposite is true. There have got to be republicans who want to work with Democrats to get things done…. But because the election is coming up (and really….. isn’t the election always coming up) they don’t want to act… and then blame the other side.I don’t understand why people with very different opinions about certain things….. can’t sit down and work together on the things that they agree on. What does your or my view on gay marriage (for example) have to do with whether or not we can work together to improve the educational system. And if how you want to improve the system is different from how I want to improve the system…. What points of agreement can we find and work from there…. Rather than looking for points of disagreement.

    I have some core opinions and stances, that are not likely going to change. (Personal responsibility, fiscal responsibility, free enterprise… to name a few) I tend to be a bit more conservative in my political thought….. that being said, I am appalled by the lack of compassion that seems to run rampant by some extreme right wingers. Hopefully, one day, I am going to be an old white guy who tends to think a little “conservatively”, but I am trying to figure out how not to be thought of as the typical “Old Conservative White Guy”. I’m not for letting poor people die, but I am for personal responsibility. I have probably oversimplified some points…….. I don’t have a good answer……