“It’s all about money. They just don’t want to give more.” With these words, a woman I had just met explained to me why some people oppose Obamacare. The unspoken words I heard were, “People who oppose the Affordable Care Act are selfish. They don’t want other people to have good healthcare because their taxes will be raised to afford it.”
Leaving aside for the moment that I believe that the state of health care in this country will diminish and more people will receive worse care, I was still struck by the arrogance of her attitude.
Recently, my daughter and son-in-law were notified that they needed to find new health insurance. The insurance that my son-in-law’s workplace had provided, with which they were happy, was no longer going to be available. Due to the health care law, the premiums had gone up so much that the company was not able to offer that policy.
Thanks to Obamacare, my daughter’s family needed to sign up for new insurance. The only option they had was to pay more money for a different policy, less suited to their needs. The pediatrician and internist they have happily been seeing for years are not on the new policy, necessitating finding new doctors that, incidentally, are only available a substantially further distance from their home than the old ones were.
However, let’s say that they could have kept their doctors and the specific types of treatment they wanted. Let’s say that the only difference Obamacare made was that their premiums would go up. Let’s say that the new law was going to provide good coverage to those who had been without it, not from choice but because they couldn’t afford insurance. Surely, any warm-hearted person would be happy to pay more so that other people could benefit. I do believe my acquaintance pictured this type of rosy scenario.
Even if this utopian vision was closer to reality than the actual disaster that is taking place, she is lacking understanding. Higher premiums mean an increase in expenses. Since families, unlike the government, must live within a budget, this leaves my daughter with two choices. She and her husband can increase their income by working more hours with the result that they spend less time focusing on their marriage, children or community activities. At a certain point, each of these may very well make more people in need of government assistance rather than contributors to society. Alternatively, they can reduce expenses. While this woman may be picturing the lifestyles of the rich and famous, for this young family like for many others, reducing expenses means cutting back on very basic items.
“It’s all about money,” can condescendingly be said by someone who is more than comfortable. While the woman with whom I was talking can handle a tax increase without losing her jaunts to Europe and Hawaii, she is completely out of touch with the majority of working people. Similarly, those who live off the public dole (whether through welfare, as elected politicians, or via another path) often get routine increases tied to the cost of living. The real world doesn’t operate like that.
Most people I know work hard for their money. In doing so, they support a vital, functioning society. As we move in the direction of punishing people for working and being responsible with their earnings, more than health care will suffer. As people such as my conversationalist continue to blithely and ignorantly vote based on foolish platitudes, they will find civilization around them crumbling until they too meet the real world, in which what we do with our money actually matters.
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