The Shame Game..

So, here we are on the brink of a partial government shutdown, all because a certain element of Congress doesn’t like the idea of offering affordable, comprehensive medical insurance to poorer Americans, those with pre-existing conditions, uncovered children, those who don’t want to face financial ruin and bankruptcy over medical debt, or those who don’t want to be chained to their current jobs indefinitely because they need their insurance.  Is the Affordable Care Act, nicknamed ObamaCare, flawed?  Of course it is.  Will it cost tax money to implement?  Absolutely.  Has the opposition offered up an alternative plan that comes close to accomplishing the things the Affordable Care Act would?  Absolutely not.  Instead, they spent a huge amount of money to run ads that were designed to convince young people that they don’t need medical insurance or even preventive medical care.  Really?  I guess it never occurred to them that even young adults are just one accident or cancer diagnosis away from a lifetime of financial ruin without insurance.

The element that’s holding our government hostage has tried to claim that ObamaCare shouldn’t be implemented because it’s expensive but they are seemingly unconcerned about the fact that shutting down the government is also tremendously expensive, especially when you factor in the harm to the economy.   Or maybe they have considered that, but it’s far more important to them to completely undermine President Obama’s signature legislation than it is to acknowledge the good that might come out of implementation.  The opposition claims Americans don’t want ObamaCare, but I suggest that instead of getting positive reenforcement from their wealthy social circles, they try listening to the part of America that doesn’t live in a privileged bubble.

So, now we are in a situation where as of 1 October 2013, troops may get paid in IOUs, hundreds of thousands of federal workers will be furloughed, and government services to the neediest elements of our society risk being shuttered, while the members of Congress who created this crisis will continue to get paid.  They truly have no shame.

 

 

 

About Kathleen Johnson

Vice President and past military director for American Atheists

  • Mommiest

    We had to go into the individual market following my husband’s job loss a couple of years ago when we decided it was time to start our own business. We have never needed health insurance for free, but if we had not spent decades living below our means, this “free market” could have bankrupted us. After we had been paying $1200 per month for our family under COBRA, we were offered the chance to continue the same coverage for $4200 per month when that ran out. The effect, and I guess the intent, was to force us into medical underwriting. We probably ended up with one policy for my husband and another for the kids and me, over $9K in total deductions, and $1500 per month for the insurance policies themselves. We were refused insurance by one company that cited my husbands hiatal hernia and acid reflux.

    We already know, based on published prices, that we will save between $400 and $500 per month for slightly better insurance, and we will be able to put our entire family on one policy again.

    I’ve lived in a country that has universal coverage and visited several. All of them have one thing in common: they all have tons of Mom & Pop businesses everywhere. And yes, I’ve had experience with the health care systems in those countries, including childbirth. They were about as convenient as ours overall.

    • UWIR

      I don’t really understand how the health system in this country works (or is supposed to work) but it seems to me that we’ve managed to combine the worst of both worlds of government health insurance and the private market. We have massive involvement in the health industry by the government, and millions of uninsured people.

      • Mommiest

        Up until now, most of the government involvement was to protect those in group plans working for large employers. Politically speaking, their interests were severed from the interests of the unemployed, self-employed, or small businesses. That’s exactly why this shameful system has been allowed to exist for so long. Most people thought the system was working fine because they had insurance, and there was a perception that if you didn’t have it, it was because you didn’t work hard enough.

        • Stev84

          The massive involvement and power of employers over insurance plans is by far the biggest flaw in the American system.

          That nonsense started during WWII, when wages were capped but side benefits weren’t. It made sense then and was popular, but it should have been replaced by a proper health care system long ago.

        • UWIR

          My understanding is that insurance companies use their buying power to bargain down prices, meaning they mostly pay for the marginal cost, while the overhead gets amortized over people without insurance,

          The government is also involved in requiring ERs to treat everyone, and giving people in prison health care, which is hardly the most efficient intervention.

  • Miss_Beara

    Absolutely shameful.

  • B-Lar

    I was under the impression that Military bills were still going to be paid (although services for vets are going to suffer horribly). Is this not true?

    • Kathleen Duncan Johnson

      As of last night, but not as of the time I wrote the post, active duty troops will get paid. Civilian DOD employees won’t.

      • UWIR

        They were seriously considering not paying soldiers? Given that soldiers don’t have a right to quit their jobs, it’s rather unfair for the government to claim the right to decide not to pay them (and I take it the soldiers are still expected to work regardless of whether they are getting paid?)

        And you don’t get “mod” by your name?

        • Chuck Farley

          You gotta read that fine print in the contract. I’m not even sure it says that you get paid at all.

  • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

    Wait, the members of Congress are still getting paid? if they can’t do their damn job, their salaries should be the first to go. I would have thought Republicans, with all their rhetoric about not supporting “freeloaders”, would be on board with that.

    Unless, of course, the Republican himself is the freeloader. Naturally, he’s a special exception.

    • http://benny-cemoli.myopenid.com/ Benny Cemoli

      Article 27 of the Constitution of the United States:

      No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

      History: Proposed by the First Congress on Sept. 25, 1789 and was declared by the Archivist of the United States on May 18, 1992 to have been ratified.

      In other words, even if they were to pass legislation effectively cutting off their salaries it wouldn’t be effective until after the next general election of Representatives. A good example of the unintended consequences of legislation.

      And don’t forget while were bashing politicians that Mr. Obama still gets to collect his $400,000 per year salary while this debacle runs its course. Not sure under what authority this happens but there you are.

      Benny

      • http://abb3w.livejournal.com/ abb3w

        However, some members of Congress are voluntarily not collecting their salaries in the interim. Still, it would be nice and entirely practical to pass a law making this mandatory and universal for the 114th Congress on; it would also seem appropriate, as “the power of the purse” is traditionally (EG: Federalist 58) regarded as resting with the Legislature, and thus the blame for any failure.

        The President still gets paid, under the authority of Article II, Section 1, paragraph seven:

        The President shall, at stated times, receive for his services, a compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that period any other emolument from the United States, or any of them.

        The President’s continuing to get paid is a deliberate and intentional limitation on the Congressional “power of the purse”. (Judges have a similar shield, from Article III.)

    • Paul Loebe

      Their pay is protected by the Constitution, as is the POTUS.

  • busterggi

    “Has the opposition offered up an alternative plan that comes close to accomplishing the things the Affordable Care Act would?”

    Why yes, they have! In fact it was the conservative Heritage Foundation that came up with the plan that was later adopted for Romneycare upon which the ACA is based. Its only because a black Democrat used their idea that they now oppose it.

  • Ted Thompson

    Remember folks, you have the right to life, not the right to a comfortable life.

    • gimpi1

      I suppose, but why shouldn’t the richest nation on earth use it’s wealth to make the lives of poor and sick people more bearable? Really, making life work better is a big part what a government is for.

      If we don’t want the government to work to make life more fair, reasonable and yes, comfortable, why even bother. Just go to dog-eat-dog, and be done with it.

      • Ted Thompson

        I keep making that argument, and it sails right over the heads of my conservative friends. Sometimes it’s like talking to my cat. I know what I’m saying makes sense, but she’s just going to meow and then go piss in my flowerbed anyway.


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