Friday, March 28, 2014

Obamacare is here to stay, so get over it ODS sufferers

Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) is here to stay, so why can't the GOP get over it?  It may not be the perfect fix for our ridiculous healthcare insurance now in place, but it is a good start.

Too many people just couldn't afford healthcare coverage under the old system, so something had to be done.  We do have a safety net for the very poor (Medicaid) and the elderly (Medicare,) but the working poor are shit out of luck.  Democrats have been trying for 60 plus years to get something done, only to be thwarted time and time again by the GOP.  And, the crazy part about it is the GOP has never proposed a realistic alternative.

The World Health Organization has ranked the United States 37th among nations of the world in overall health care quality, behind countries like Malta, Andorra, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Chile, despite spending more per capita than any other nation.  These countries all have universal healthcare systems.  The United States does not.

It's been said sarcastically that we do have universal healthcare in the United States:  it's called the emergency room.

The problem is not that we don't have some of the best hospitals, some of the best doctors, and certainly some of the best hi-tech equipment, procedures, and techniques.  The problem is that we have a great health system if you can afford to pay for it.  Everyone else is stuck in emergency rooms and health clinics.

When someone with healthcare insurance gets sick, they go the doctor's office.  When someone without healthcare insurance gets sick, they tough it out and only end up seeking care when the problem has worsened to the point of seeking care in the local emergency room.  Sometimes the tough it out path works, after all, whatever doesn't kill ya, makes ya stronger.  The problem is many illnesses can't be toughed out and do end up killing you, but usually only before involving a lot of expensive end of life medical procedures that cost a fortune.

Buzz and I have heard many times from our conservative friends that if we provided free healthcare coverage for everyone, all those "takers" in society would be filling up doctors' offices for unneeded treatments.  After all, if colonoscopies were free, who among us wouldn't be getting one a week, or who wouldn't be asking their doctor to perform invasive, exploratory surgery every time they had an ache or pain.  Come on, if you really like going to the doctor and been probed inside and out, we have a few websites to recommend.

Quite to the contrary, if healthcare were free to all, we would be a healthier nation as a whole.

We've also heard from our conservative brethren the "who's gonna pay for it" line.  Well Obama Derangement Sufferers, that's what Obamacare tries to fix.

While the program is not perfect, single payer is the real answer, it is a good start.  If you are poor and are fortunate enough to live in a state with an enlightened governor or legislature who have accepted the Medicaid expansion, the poorest of our citizens (133% of the poverty level) qualify for medicaid.  If you make less than 400 percent of the poverty level, you qualify for some kind of subsidy.  If you make more than that, guess what?  You can afford insurance and you should have it.

Healthcare costs and health insurance costs have skyrocketed in this country over the last 50 years, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that hospitals and healthcare providers have to charge more to make up the difference for those without health insurance and the fact that preventative care is a lot cheaper than last resort care.

A doctor's office visit may cost you a hundred bucks, and if you need a prescription a few dollars more, but emergency room care when your little problem has turned into a big one costs thousands.  And, if you don't have insurance, guess who pays for that?  The people with insurance.

So ODS sufferers, let's try to do what a majority of Americans want to do with Obamacare, keep it and make it better.

Buzz did not take part in the preparation of this column, he is in Harrisburg lobbying for medical marijuana use in Pennsylvania in hopes of curing his cannaphobia.

See an interesting article with a bunch of facts on the American healthcare system. Why change? The US has the 37th best health care system in the world.

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