Recently, at a dinner gathering, I took part in a discussion about the healthcare issue. One of the participants was shaking his head in bemusement over the ACA, and all that nonsense about healthcare being a right. Sure, he said, there was a healthcare crisis, but ACA was not the way to deal with it.
Naturally we asked for his solution, and he began talking about tax credits and percentages and refunds, plunging into a level of number intensive wonkery calculated to suck every bit of air out of the conservation.
“Wait a minute,” Someone asked, after almost a minute of this. “Just tell us how this would be applied. Let’s say I’m really, really sick with a debilitating illness. I don’t have insurance, can’t work, and can’t afford to pay for my badly needed medication and treatment out of pocket. How would your system help me?”
The other guy explained that what would happen, see, was that after the sick person had paid for his or her medical care, they could get a refund for the amount…
“So, in fact, a sick person would still have to somehow manage to raise the money to pay for the care first?” someone asked.
“Yeah, but they’d get it all back…”
Right. That’s the big issue in American Medical care. “I paid over million dollars for my hospital care, brain surgery and rehab and didn’t get any of that money back.”
This little incident serves as an object lesson in cutting through the crap. The minute someone opposedto healthcare reform descends into long, zestful disquisitions on tax credits etc., your bullsh*t meter should go off. They know that actually describing the effects of their policies on human beings would shoot their own arguments down, so they strive to make the discussion as abstract as humanly possible.
Here’s a good, NONabstract argument from Salon
for the merits of the ACA or (as it’s increasingly being called ) Obamacare.
During our first three weeks of hospitalization Mason racked up $1.1 million in medical bills. I worried about butting up against the $5 million lifetime limit on Mason’s health insurance policy. We had a good policy with a good company. We always paid our premiums on time and in full. But Mason wasn’t getting out of the hospital at any time soon, and there were months of rehab ahead. My then 13-year-old son would have reached his lifetime limit of health insurance had such limits not been eliminated by Obamacare on April 1, 2011. That date felt like a birthday or anniversary, something to be celebrated, when it finally arrived and we weren’t yet dropped by our health insurance company.
These accounts resonate, not just because they are harrowing in their illustration of what’s at stake, but because they ring true. Many, many Americans who don’t qualify for Medicaid or Medicare and who’ve had to grapple with a serious illness or injury can tell similar stories.