Lessons Learned from Obamacare

The Affordable Care Act – commonly referred to as Obamacare – has been in place for a few years now. Despite the ominous warnings from the ACA’s opponents, it has not caused a shutdown of the United States government, nor the complete destruction of the health care industry.

In the past, I’ve discussed the widening division between political parties in America, and how people seem to be more entrenched than ever. The reaction to Obamacare is a perfect example of that. Proponents of the ACA claim that is has been a wild success, while opponents regard it as a failure.

In an attempt to see both sides of the story, I’ve read opinions on the law and it’s effects from pundits who sit on different ends of the political spectrum. It’s been a fascinating experience, and I’ve learned (and in some cases, re-learned) some things about the American people.

There is a lot of Obama hate out there

Not everyone is a fan of Mr. Obama (Image source)

Not everyone is a fan of Mr. Obama (Image source)

It’s near impossible for a president to be universally liked, but the amount of vitriol directed towards Obama seems both excessive and unnecessary. Didn’t the Republican party used to stand for something besides simply opposing Barack Obama? For instance, does Ted Cruz have a platform aside from “I’ll do the opposite of what Obama does?”

With half of our country’s political leaders telling the people that everything the president does is bad, it’s no wonder that many people seem to oppose the ACA purely because of it’s nickname.

Maybe Obama should have pushed for the ACA to be nicknamed “Reagancare.” I bet Republicans would have been all about it then! Or perhaps he should have just let Mitt Romney win the 2012 election and institute his near-identical plan. Then just about everyone would have been happy.

Obamacare is not perfect

The health care issue is nothing that Twilight Sparkle couldn't handle! (Image source)

The health care issue is nothing that Twilight Sparkle couldn’t handle! (Image source)

If someone could figure out a health care system that would work perfectly for everyone, that person would likely be very rich. Either that, or they’d be disillusioned because by the time their perfect system made it through the gauntlet that is our nation’s political process, it would probably be unrecognizable.

I actually did come up a brilliant plan that would work for everyone. Unfortunately, the plan relies heavily on the healing properties of a unicorn’s horn, so there may be some problem with implementation.

Speaking of implementation…

Implementation of the law has not been without incident

There have been some issues with the ACA, and that really shouldn’t surprise anyone. Did anyone really think that the United States could perform an overhaul on its entire health care system, and there wouldn’t be at least a few problems? It seems like some people expected the president would press a button and Obamacare would magically take effect across the land.

And no, this is not a condemnation of “big government.” This is a realization that this is a nation of over 300 million people, and enacting a law that affects just about all of them in some way is not going to be a simple task.

Obamacare doesn’t benefit everyone

Remember how I said the United States has over 300 million citizens? Chances are, if you enact a law that affects the entire population, not every one of those citizens is going to benefit.

I may love his pizza, but it seems that Papa John is a huge a**hole.

I may love his pizza, but it seems that Papa John is a huge a**hole.

Perhaps you’ve heard the stories about companies needing to lay off employees or raise prices because of the higher costs that Obamacare has forced upon them? I’m sure there have been some small businesses that have been negatively affected and forced to make tough decisions. (On the other hand, it seems that Obamacare is also being used as a convenient excuse for a**hole business leaders to cut costs.)

But has it been disastrous to the American people? It certainly doesn’t appear that way. The “horror stories” which were supposed to result from the ACA haven’t really happened. (More on this later.)

On a personal note, I have not personally benefitted from the law. My insurance and health care costs have gone up over the past two years, and I’m sure that others have met with a similar fate.

The reason for this seems relatively simple: Now that insurance companies are forced to cover higher risk customers, their operating costs are going to increase. Those costs are then passed on to other customers like myself.

Some people find this to be terribly unfair, and wish they didn’t have to help pay for others. Which shows that…

People want to help the poor…but let “someone else” pay for it

If you took a survey and asked, “Are you in favor of all citizens having health care coverage?” I believe most people would respond affirmatively. If you followed up that question by telling them that their health care costs would rise as a result, I suspect that they might re-think their answer.

For example, take a look at the results of this Gallup poll.

Apparently most Americans think that the government should absolutely help the poor. But they need to do it without raising taxes…or adding to the national debt.

So it should be no surprise that most people are fully in favor of everyone getting health insurance. But they’d like someone else to foot the bill if that’s okay.

People would rather have something that doesn’t work as long as it’s cheaper

When touting the law, Obama definitely shouldn’t have said, “You can keep your insurance policy.” That was a half-truth along the lines of “Darth Vader betrayed and killed your father.”

Since the implementation of Obamacare, the insurance companies have indeed cancelled many policies. In some cases, the policies have been replaced by a different policy that was equivalent. In other cases, the policies were cancelled because they didn’t provide coverage to the minimum level required by the ACA.

Back in the day, many people had insurance policies which didn’t really provide much assistance if the holder actually required medical care. They were more like “insurance” policies, and were the equivalent of carrying around a note from your parents saying, “I have health insurance.” Sure, it might make you feel safe and sound, but good luck trying to actually use it when you need it.

Instead of asking for Obamacare horror stories, maybe Cathy McMorris Rodgers should have asked for horror stories of people who had inadequate coverage before the ACA went into effect.

People don’t understand how insurance works

I’m astounded when people make statements like, “Why am I forced to get insurance?  I’m young and healthy!” These people apparently have no idea how the basic concept of insurance works.

Yes, you are young and healthy NOW.  The point of insurance is that you will be able to receive health care in case you some day are not quite so young and healthy.

BOOM! Now you need insurance. (Image source)

BOOM! Now you need insurance. (Image source)

For instance, tomorrow morning, you could step off the curb and get hit by a bus.  Or you might be handling your junk and feel a lump down there.  I have a feeling that you’d be very thankful for that insurance, and you’d certainly be happy to not have to worry about the term “pre-existing condition.”

And if you end up staying healthy throughout the rest of your life?  I suppose that in a manner of speaking, you lose. That’s how insurance works.

But if that happens, then what the hell do you really have to complain about?  You’ve lived a healthy life!

This has been an enlightening experience for me, and I hope you’ve learned some things as well. Chances are, we’ll all have further opportunity to learn even more over the coming years. Because despite what the ACA’s opponents would like, it doesn’t appear as if Obamacare is going anywhere.

This post has been part of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. In case you couldn’t tell, today’s letter was O, and the topic was “Obamacare.”

About The Cutter

I am the Cutter. I write some stuff. You might like it, you might not. Please decide for yourself.
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5 Responses to Lessons Learned from Obamacare

  1. List of X says:

    Actually, the health insurance premiums have been going up every year before Obamacare. And one of the reasons premiums were high is that any unpaid healthcare bills for treating the uninsured were translated into higher prices for those who have health insurance. So we’re going from paying for medical bills for the uninsured to subsidizing their premiums (those you call high-risk), which should pretty much be a wash.

  2. A very down to earth analysis of the whole Obamacare story. Loved it.

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