So the news is abuzz about Bill Clinton calling the Affordable Care Act ‘the craziest thing in the world.’ Don’t for a minute think that Bill has gone overboard or off his rocker. The next step will be towards a more socialized model than Obamacare. Obamacare would be the first step. But it isn’t as if they’ll look for some other, private sector based solution to remedy the flaws of the current system. Those conservatives who are cheering Clinton’s words should take a breather, since this will likely be grounds for moving the system farther away from where conservatives would ever want it to be.
At least, however, he’s pointed out the obvious. My Mom was one who, according to the literature she received from her healthcare company, took a beating due to Obama’s legislation. Her coverage is through the pension plan my Dad received, and she still has it even after he passed away. For the longest time her out of pocket expenses were easy to calculate: there were none. A year after Obamacare, however, she received forms explaining that as a direct result of the legislation, she would see changes in her coverage and out of pocket expenses. True, they weren’t massive. But for an elderly woman living on a fixed income, they were bad enough.
Since its passage, when I have mentioned this, I’ve been met with either dismissive responses or outright put downs. More than once, even on Catholics sites, I was told some variation of ‘serves her right’ since she apparently was part of some vaguely defined elite who finally got what she had coming. While people oppressed by the system she and my Dad fed into struggled in poverty and fear, the playing fields were now being balanced. Those were the worst responses I received. Admittedly, most simply ignored the fact that I pointed out not everyone has benefited from Obamacare.
The worst part of Obamacare, in my view, was that it didn’t fix the ultimate problem with health insurance. The biggest problem with health insurance isn’t those who don’t have it or can’t afford it. The biggest problem is that apart from a few gold standard plans that only the wealthiest can afford, the increasing out of pocket expenses make insurance almost pointless to have. Most plans today have out of pocket limits in the thousands. For folks who can’t afford any better, they can’t afford that level of out of pocket expense. If you can’t afford a plan that doesn’t have a 5000.00 deductible, for instance, you can’t afford a 5000.00 deductible.
Even Obamcare’s supporters admit that Obamcare more or less follows the same thinking. The cheaper options aren’t that good, but if you get better plans, then the out of pocket expenses aren’t so bad. I have no clue if there are options that have no out of pocket expense. I just know that is the main problem. People I’ve worked with over the years have said that is their biggest problem. They pay for insurance, but unless they end up having major surgery some time in the year, the policy ends up paying nothing and they’re out thousands of dollars. Plus the ever increasing premiums. And for those who can’t afford any better, they can’t afford that much. That’s something that, according to Obamacare’s supporters, the legislation didn’t fix. It simply moved it from the private sector to the government.
Whether that issue will be addressed as Clinton attempts to move things forward remains to be seen. That’s why I cautioned Catholics who try to justify supporting candidates who advocate for sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance to make sure they’re not equating a policy or plan with a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance. Purposely trying to keep people in poverty, or denying them healthcare, or starving people is bad. Got it. But be careful that those you accuse are actually trying to do this. Make sure they simply don’t have conflicting ideas for how to solve a problem. Especially if you decide you’ll support those who do advocate an intrinsic evil – like abortion – only to wind up supporting ideas that ultimately do no better for people than the other side’s plans would have done, plus the intrinsic evil. If your only excuse for doing so is ‘those people are nasty evil types, even if they don’t actually advocate for grave evils’, then you might want to check your priority set and try again.