Bad example, maybe. Cruel example. This woman doesn’t seem like a bad person. She’s just mind-blowingly naive. And the thing is, she’s exactly like most of the people on her side of the health care debate. She doesn’t know a lot, but she knows what she’s heard. And she doesn’t like it. And, frankly, if I didn’t know better, and I’d heard that the Government was going to come in and force me to buy into their health plan and kill my grandparents and make my mentally challenged son stand before a “death panel” and that it was going to turn us into a Socialist state, I’d be pretty freaked out. I’d certainly make a stand, and it would be an honorable and noble thing to do. Unfortunately, it would have been a stand based entirely on things that are patently untrue and wrong.
Someone who doesn’t like the proposed health plan – someone big, with a lot of power – keeps running these ads all the time on TV saying that “Obamacare” is going to force Grandma into a secret death camp and give free healthcare to illegal gay Mexicans and take it away from OUR NATION’S CHILDREN, more or less. I’ve seen so many damn ads on TV about this, it’s ridiculous. And every time I see it, I want to scream at how untrue it is. People who are barely paying attention – in the other room, fixing a snack, before their show comes back on – hear this stuff, and they hear it a LOT. That’s how you tell a lie. You repeat it and repeat it and repeat it.
No one likes to believe they’ve been had. That’s why these people are so stubborn. No one likes to believe that their righteous, American, populist rage isn’t helpin’ the little guy, it’s helpin’ the big greedy companies. The government’s not perfect, and our government’s done plenty of things I’m not proud of. But they’re not the only big and powerful enemy around here – it’s just that big business has better PR.
So, the President has a plan where there is an affordable, public option for people who need it. Great idea. A lot of people like their insurance, and a lot of people get it from their employers. But a lot of people don’t realize how bad their insurance is until after they get sick. And a lot of people don’t have enough insurance. And a lot of people don’t get insurance from their employers. Ahem. AHEM.
This particular topic gets me really angry, because of my own experiences with private insurers. I was hired by CBS Radio just after they stopped offering benefits to part-time DJs. Every other job I’ve had has been seasonal, term, temporary, or part time. Sure, I’ve basically worked full-time for most of my adult life, but it’s usually been from several different jobs. I’m not lazy. I didn’t choose not to have insurance. In fact, I chose to make sure that I had health care, no matter what.
Well, the plan I had that covered pretty much everything decided to up its premiums. And by “up”, I mean “they DOUBLED in a span of two years.” Doubled. I wasn’t doing anything differently. I understand that costs increase, but if your monthly premium doubles in that short amount of time due to no fault of your own, what are you supposed to do?
Well, you go straight into our amazing free market and you get yourself a cheaper health plan, that’s what you do! So I went with Mid-West Life. I’ve already talked about those fools here, but the plan I had barely covered routine doctor visits, covered almost no dental visits, and didn’t cover the only prescription I was on. But it was cheap. At first. Then they started raising their monthly premiums to more per month than I was paying for the good plan back in the good old days of… 2005 or so.
The state of Massachusetts requires all citizens to get some kind of health insurance, so I kept my plan. But I dreaded getting sick. I dreaded accidents and having to go to the hospital. The vaguely cheap insurance I had promised to pay for up to a certain amount in the event of an emergency room visit, but what if it was more than that? It probably would cost more than they were willing to cover. I had no money. What do I do?
Then, in January of this year, the state decided that the insurance I had didn’t qualify as insurance, and that I had to go elsewhere. Me, and all my big bucks, had to go off into our wonderful free market again, looking for a relatively cheap plan that the state recognized. You know, one that cost the same as buying a 27″ HDTV every month instead of a 54″ HDTV every month.
So: I was one of the millions of Americans who don’t get insurance from their employer, who don’t make enough money to realistically afford a good health plan on their own, but who make too much money to qualify for welfare. I guarantee you the woman in the video has never been in this situation. Of course not. Her husband takes care of everything.
Finally, I got onto Commonwealth Care, which the state offers to those who fall between the cracks. It took six bloody months, but I got there. It’s actually the same as my old plan, at a fraction of the cost, I sleep a lot better at night. And that’s what the President’s health plan basically is.
So, let’s take this one at a time:
1) You’re not going to be forced onto this plan.
On one side of the argument, the government insists that if you get private insurance through your employer, or if you like your health plan, you can keep it. The President even said it’s like the Post Office vs. FedEx. Both have their place, and both can exist. On the other side of the argument, the anti-health care folks insist that BLARGH-GRARGH OOPI DOOPY DOOO! Which simply isn’t true.
2) It’s not going to force old people to die.
Really. The plan covers the end-of-life discussion, which doesn’t mean the government’s going to tell old Aunt Millie that she has to die. It’s the discussion everyone should have when they’re terminally ill – it’s about living wills, how long do you keep someone on life support, etc. There are some who say that they don’t want the government involved with this, which is weird – it’s like they’re picturing Joe Biden hovering in the doorway while the doctor describes their options. For heaven’s sake, people, the government isn’t getting involved with this. They just want to cover that particular doctor’s visit. THAT’S ALL. It’s still between you and your Doctor. Hopefully, your insurer covers this visit too.
Anyone who actually reads this provision and thinks it’s a death panel….. didn’t read this provision. Oh I know, you’re busy.
3) It’s not communism.
It’s not. Again, no one’s forcing the private insurers out of business. No one’s forcing you to get government-sponsored care. In fact, I’ll bet they don’t want everyone to get government sponsored care, because seriously how are we going to afford that? And anyone who thinks it’s a slippery slope between letting poor people see a doctor without going bankrupt, and the days of Stalin…. I don’t even know what to say to you. Except this: if the government controlling all industry and services is called “communism”,well, there’s a word for ultimate corporate control of government and services with no democracy and no civil discourse, and that word is “fascism.” Which is like SOOOOO much better, you guys….
In the day since I wrote this, I’ve learned that the “end-of-life” care provisions (or, if you’re brain-meltingly stupid, “teh DETH PANEL!!1!”) was taken out of the bill. So, now, there’s a chance that people who can’t afford it will have to face these decisions terminally ill and alone. All because a few loudmouths got it wrong. This country is still full of idiots, and I’m still moving to Peru.