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Monday, November 16, 2009

Are Opinions Changing?

As more and more information comes to light about Obamacare, I can't help but wonder if uninsured citizen supporters are beginning to question their support. No doubt, "we the people" will never know what is contained within the nearly 2,000-page document. How could we possibly ever know... if the members of congress, those who will vote, do not themselves know? By their own admission, few of them have attempted to muddle through it... and those who have, I'd venture to say, have no idea what they read. Healthcare is such a multi-faceted entity, that even those of us in the industry for decades have difficulty fathoming the far reach of each element. As always, I am a firm supporter of FIXING the problems of health care, as opposed to re-vamping the entire system. Over the past year, I have posted many arguments to support my thoughts, and I won't repeat them here. What I'm wondering, though, is if any of the citizens who have staunchly supported The Bill, are beginning to waver in their support. Prior to the current economic downturn and increased unemployment, the percentage of uninsured in America wasn't that large a number. The rise in number of those who have lost jobs has, unfortunately, increased the number of uninsured. (Most of us are only a pink slip away from being uninsured... myself included.) In trying to understand how this Plan is designed to help those who need it most, I've become more confused than ever. There are those who are uninsured because they do not work. Why are they not already on Medicaid? Could it be that they do not qualify for Medicaid because there is no reason that they shouldn't be working in the first place? And make no mistake... there are thousands of people in my own town who are Medicaid recipients who are as able-bodied as myself to be working, so I'm just not understanding why any legitimately-disabled person is not insured. But that has always been a problem in our society, hasn't it? So those people encompass a certain percentage of the uninsured. Then there are people who do work, whose employers do not offer insurance benefits, as well as self-employed, freelance, or contract workers. They are faced with the choice of paying exorbitant premiums for non-group coverage, or simply remaining uninsured. I would imagine those two demographic groups comprise the majority of the uninsured. Without, of course, including the number of illegal residents, who in my opinion, shouldn't be factored in AT ALL in the group of uninsured Americans. They are not Americans, yet they place a gigantic burden on our health care system, and they are included in the numbers that the President uses when presenting the percentage of uninsured. ....ahh... but that's another topic for another day.... So, here we have the two groups of citizens who comprise the majority of uninsured: Those who, for whatever reasons, DO NOT work, and those who DO work but cannot afford healthcare premiums. Under Obamacare, everyone is going to be required to have insurance, or pay a fine. Now, those who DO NOT work, who cannot afford to pay for insurance now, STILL won't be able to afford insurance. Oh wait... they will be "given" a subsidy, so they can pay their premiums. Not sure of the logistics of that one yet, but nothing much will change for those folks. They will remain unemployed, and still won't contribute anything to society, yet they will have, without cost, the same health care that those of us who work (and pay premiums for) will have. Then there are those people who are hard workers, who pay their bills, who are productive citizens, yet can't afford coverage. Under the new plan, they will also be required to purchase insurance, or face a fine. What if they still can't afford the premiums? They will be fined. And don't kid yourself that the entire almost-four trillion dollar project will be paid for by insurance premiums. Oh no. It will be funded by taxes here, taxes there, taxes, taxes everywhere. The government can, and will, raise taxes anywhere they choose, to fund the insanity. So here we have a hard working young man and/or woman, trying to provide for their family, who now will be forced to pay an insurance premium (amount set by the government), or face a fine. And there's every possibility that they STILL won't be able to afford the premium because they are being taxed to death at every turn in the road. How will this help? Chances are, they'll be worse off than before. I am afraid that not only are we who opposed the plan in for a bum rap, but also the uninsured workers in this country who have supported the plan. I believe the empty promises they were fed are going to end up biting them in the butt... and it will be a bite felt 'round the country, as we all are going to suffer. The winners here? Those who will continue a life of subsidy... housing, food, health, free cell phones, etc. Lest I seem insensitive, I remind you that I'm a very compassionate person to those in need. My profession has afforded me the unpleasant opportunity to see people of all walks of life with true need, and dire circumstances. I've seen much heartbreak and true hardship. For the infirm and disabled, I am all for lending them a hand. For those who work hard and contribute to society, hats off.. and give credit where credit is due. Children and the elderly, who have no control over their circumstances, should be top of the list for receiving health care. Working-age adults who are too lazy to work??? Deserve no subsidy at all. They are a burden to our society and should not be given handouts, while you and I must punch a clock to fund our grocery bill and utilities. I just don't believe that Obamacare is the answer, and certainly not the ONLY answer. As I have written in the past, the 400 billion dollar a year fraud in Medicare and Medicaid could quite adequately fund healthcare for the uninsured. Use that money to fund public health departments. Subsidize one year of medical school in exchange for one year of service (during residency) in public health. Hire independent (not ACORN-type) agencies to determine on a case-by-case basis, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security Disability benefits for recipients. There just has to be another way.

And in the meantime, I wonder how uninsured working people who have supported Obamacare are feeling now? Unfortunately, even if they change their minds and oppose it, their voices won't be heard any more than mine. The decision is being made by people who are not like you and me. People who will not be directly affected by the change. I have yet to hear one member of congress who is willing to be under the Obamacare umbrella. That's because they know it's nothing but a naked metal frame umbrella... the fabric of protection having been eaten and rotted away in the form of taxes here, taxes there, taxes, taxes everywhere.

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