Shouldn’t We All Be Able to Get Affordable Health Care?

A quick addendum to an earlier post.

I’m one of many Americans who is glad the Trump/Ryan American Health Care Act (AHCA or TrumpCare) failed to come to a vote. I didn’t think it was in the best interest for people like me and I really believe it would be catastrophic for folks in lower income situations who are struggling to afford health care.

Recently, I’ve come to realize that the people who support a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA or ObamaCare) are those who don’t benefit from it. These are people with decent incomes who, most likely, get health insurance from their employers. In their mind, they shouldn’t be “subsidizing” health care for those who don’t get it from their employers — mostly because they think these people are unemployed or otherwise sponging off the system.

That isn’t true. Millions of people who benefit from the ACA are hardworking people who don’t have insurance benefits through an employer — including self-employed individuals like me.

While people who work for big companies can get health insurance as easily as filling out a form and handing it in to their employer’s Human Resources department, the rest of us have to literally shop for insurance to find policies that meet our needs with a premium we can afford. Then we have to fill out forms and submit them for approval. In the old days, we might have to connect insurance companies with our doctors so they could look through health records. That’s how I got denied insurance coverage for a “pre-existing condition” that didn’t exist, as I blogged last week.

ACA LogoThe ACA made it easier to shop for insurance by setting up a marketplace. It prevented insurers from denying coverage or setting unreasonable rates for people with pre-existing conditions. It required insurers to provide a list of basic coverages that a person might need. It covered, at no additional cost to insured people, annual well-care visits to help prevent illnesses or to catch them before they became serious problems. It required more employers to offer health care benefits to employees. It encouraged everyone to get health insurance coverage to increase the pool of insured individuals, thus reducing the overall cost of coverage for each of us. It prevented insurers from taking obscene profits on healthcare coverage by setting maximum profit levels that actually refunded premiums to customers. These are all benefits that help those of us who don’t work for big companies that offer health insurance in a benefits package.

The people who think the provisions of the ACA aren’t needed are either mistaken, ignorant, or just plain selfish.

Why should only those people who sign up with a big employer get affordable health care insurance? Why shouldn’t small business owners like me be able to get it? Why shouldn’t the 58-year-old former banker with a BBA who’s lucky to have a part-time job as an aircraft refueler at the local airport be able to get it? Why shouldn’t the single mother cleaning offices on the night shift be able to get it?

What pissed me off this morning was a Trump supporter named Linda Caudill who, when interviewed by NPR, said:

Frankly, health care is not a constitutional right. But I really would like personally that government get our of health care altogether and let the free market take care of it.

Wow. Just wow.

Health care might not be a “constitutional right,” but isn’t it a human right? Shouldn’t we all be able to get the care we need to stay healthy, productive, and happy?

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness isn’t in the Constitution either, but our country’s existence was based on those “unalienable rights” for all of us. Isn’t the ability to get affordable health care part of this?

I’d love to hear how this woman’s song would change if she or her husband suddenly lost the job that’s obviously providing them with the health care they need. No one in the middle class who has to buy health insurance on the open market would share her point of view. No one.

What these people need is a dose of reality. How about a health care plan that does not allow employers to offer health insurance plans? One that forces everyone to be on the same playing field, buying insurance on the open market. Then we’ll see how Trump supporters feel about “free market” insurance.

Until then, I’m glad the ACA has survived to help me get the insurance I need for my health and and peace of mind.

6 thoughts on “Shouldn’t We All Be Able to Get Affordable Health Care?

  1. I agree that health care is a human right, and in a country as wealthy as the United States there needs to be at least a certain minimum level of care that is guaranteed. We will always have a societal obligation to care for those who are unable to care for themselves, and it will always come at a cost. As you note however, there seem to be plenty of people who consider themselves “good Christians” yet are somehow willing to literally let poor people die of preventable medical issues solely for the sake of their wallets. The issue of charity and how a person judges another persons “worthiness” for that charity is one that seems to bring out the ugliness in people, especially religious people. It exposes the true nature of their character, which is often anything but admirable.

    Linking health care to employment is harmful to our economy in many ways. It forces people to take jobs that they hate or that they are overqualified for solely because they need the insurance that a particular company offers. It forces people to remain working for companies long after the point where they would have otherwise quit to follow other, better opportunities. If forces people to work when their health doesn’t really allow it, or do jobs that they shouldn’t be doing because of health reasons, and makes them less healthy as a result. It limits what kind of jobs people can consider, and limits the risks they can take in the job market, especially if they have a family. Most of all, it favors big business over small business, which just can’t compete in health-care coverage because of it’s exorbitant cost to the employer.

    It’s long past time to free employers from their involvement in the health care system. It’s a burden that shouldn’t have been placed on their shoulders in the first place. A single-payer system is the only logical way to go.

    • I agree. I think there should be a single payer system for basic health services, including maternity, mental health, and catastrophic (think cancer or heart) health problems, funded through our taxes for all. People who don’t like the service included in the program can get their own doctors.

  2. So often legislators and others suddenly discover that something is important when it affects their own family — they discover their child is gay, their wife or daughter needs an abortion, etc.. And allowing insurance companies to trade across state lines will not cause competition; it will cause all the insurance companies to flee to the state with the laws that best benefit the insurance companies. This will not keep the government from getting between me and my doctor; it will KEEP the insurance company between me and my doctor.
    Universal, single payer Medicare for all!

  3. Agree with all of the above.
    I have never had to suffer under the dollar-driven system of health ‘care’ profit making you endure, but I recently came across a very old book which both US and UK medical students regard as seminal and authentic. A book they recommend to each other as a sound preparation for internship and early training into the practical side of medical culture in the US.

    It is ‘The House of God’ by Samuel Shem. It is a revelation. It was written in 1978 but has an enduring authenticity.
    In this book you will get the inside track on how American medicine works. How well-insured LOLs in NAD (little old ladies in no apparent distress) are put through amazingly complex and irrelevant biochemical tests just to milk funds from their health-care providers.
    Patients with depression put through full GI work ups because they once mentioned the word flatulence!

    Awful. True then, true now. Read it, and be very worried about how your old age savings will be sucked away.
    Watch out for the GOMERS! Never be one, please.

  4. So agree with this. It seems those who complain about the ACA are those who are not on it or will never think they need it. I can always shut down any argument with them asking what parts of the ACA they didn’t like when they were covered under it. The responses I get are a lot of “well, It’s just my taxes that I don’t like paying to cover others”

    Obviously those who don’t understand how insurance works in the first place. And selfish.

    While I’ve not used it, my daughter works for a company that doesn’t provide healthcare so she’s able to be covered by the ACA.