Friday, September 05, 2014

Yet Another Blog Post About Obamacare

Yesterday at work, I heard someone talking about his future plans for retirement.  I don't know how old he was, but probably about 60.  He commented that he would like to retire at 62 and a half, but it depends on the cost of insurance.  If Obamacare makes his insurance too expensive, he stated, he'd work until 65 when he could get full Medicare, but he'd be "one pissed off guy."

Since I couldn't tell the guy off in person, let me go ahead and do it now.

First of all, Obamacare isn't the reason your insurance premium may or may not go up.  Insurance premiums have been steadily increasing since the mid-1990's.  In fact, one of the primary goals in reforming healthcare in the United States was to help stabilize out-of-control insurance costs.  If your for-profit, private insurer uses Obamacare as an excuse to raise your premiums, then what was their excuse every year before Obamacare was enacted?

The point, of course, is that Obamacare has nothing to do with whether or not your for-profit, private insurer raises their premiums.  Obamacare is just the latest fashionable scapegoat.

Secondly, if you want to retire at 62, but don't want to pay high insurance costs, maybe you should just not have insurance for 3 years.  Then you'd know what it feels like for the 25% of Americans who, before Obamacare, were uninsured because they couldn't afford it.  After three years, you can then go ahead and start drawing your government welfare entitlement for health care services, otherwise known as Medicare.

And don't give me any bullshit about how you worked your whole life and made good financial decisions so you could retire at 62, implying that somehow those without insurance haven't done the same thing.  Millions of people without insurance work full-time.

Before healthcare reform, millions couldn't afford health insurance.  Now they can.  If that causes your own personal costs to go up some, sorry about your luck.  First world problems, pal.

Finally, anyone who criticizes Obamacare is automatically making one of two implicit statements: either the way we had it before was better, or the Republicans would have come up with a better reform alternative.  I've got a statement for each of those implications.

First, if you think it was better before, you're ignorant and uninformed.  Virtually everyone, conservatives included, agreed that our old system was broken and in dire need of repair.

Second, if you think Republicans could have done better, my simple question is "Why didn't they?"  The Republicans were in power for 8 years, including 6 years with control over the White House, BOTH chambers of congress, AND a conservative majority on the Supreme Court.  Where was healthcare reform?  Nowhere to be seen, because they were too busy spending TRILLIONS of dollars on a foreign war against the wrong country.

Ancient history, I know.  But it's important to keep in mind when conservative mouthpieces start mouthing off about Obamacare, demonizing a man and a party who were trying to make healthcare more affordable and more accessible to more people, while having been complicit for years in an immoral war that costs thousands of people their lives and countless hundreds of thousands their homes and livelihoods.  And boy, hasn't it turned out just grand for those who survived?  Hashtag ISIS.

Get your priorities straight, jack, and then go ahead and shut the fuck up.      

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