$938 billion over the next 10 years. We have all heard the screams and read the headlines and felt the shudder deep down inside us where our democracy bone lives, but do we really know what all the fuss is about? Do we really understand what (the dreaded and/or beloved) Obamacare actually is? Some say this is a total overhaul of everything we believe in, others say that it is simply a total overhaul of the health care system, and even more others say it won’t make the tiniest difference to most people. So, basically, WHAT THE FUCK, MAINSTREAM MEDIA?
Way to fail completely, as usual, and leave us all in the dark. Again.
Because clearly, this is more than just a “difference of opinions.” Opinions aren’t just differing because the merits are questionable; no, they’re actually disagreeing on what the legislation itself entails. All 1,000+ pages of it. In tiny print. Which no one has bothered to read. To summarize: no one knows what the hell is happening.
So let me break it down.
Until 2014, this is what will be happening:
- To help cover the cost, insurers will be limited in how they spend our premium dollars. If they use too much for administrative costs or profits, they’ll be forced to give some of it back through rebates.
- Some services will become free in all new private insurance policies and Medicaid, preventive care like screenings and vaccinations, for example.
- People on Medicare, because they’re 65 or older or disabled, will receive benefits to help cover their drug costs.
- Young people, who are having a harder and harder time getting employed and out of debt after high school and university, will be able to stay on their parent’s insurance plans until the age of 26, giving them more time to save money and get on their feet.
- Some small businesses will also get tax breaks to help pay for employee health insurance.
- There will be no more lifetime limits on health insurance, whether you buy it yourself or get it from your employer.
- Insurance companies will no longer be able to turn kids away for “pre-existing” conditions like asthma, diabetes, or cancer, etc.
- Some adults will still be turned away for stupid reasons, but those who do can enter what is known as a “high-risk pool” run by the government. This sounds terrifying, but the “high-risk” part applies to the insurers, not us. It’s really nothing more than a government aid policy that helps to cover the costs of the sickest uninsured people – the riskiest ones for insurance companies (the ones who are more likely to die, and therefore less likely to pay back what they borrowed). Many believe these pools are what will cost the American taxpayers the most money, since government coverage has to come from somewhere.
After 2014, this is what will be happening:
- Medicaid will be expanded to cover all low-income individuals and families in every state.
- Depending on your income, if you lose your job or your employer doesn’t provide decent coverage, you may get a health insurance tax credit.
- The vast majority of us will continue to get health insurance through work (just like now, which is why so many say this doesn’t make that huge a difference), but if you don’t have that option, you’ll be able to buy coverage in what’s called an “exchange.”
- Also, insurers will no longer be able to turn people down or charge them more for being sick. We’ll come back to this in a minute.
This is what the “exchange” is:
Based on where you live, you’ll get an easy-to-understand menu of coverage plans from which you can choose what is best for you by comparing and contrasting the different offers. In the exchange, insurance companies are basically forced to compete fairly under strict rules. Human lives should not be chips to be gambled away at a virtual casino the way they are now, and a person’s value is not determined by their physical condition. The exchange would ensure that our health care system reflects these truths. The idea is that by giving consumers good information, a fair playing field, and access to lots of choices, insurers will be forced to keep rates competitive and not grossly and dramatically exaggerated… Now if only we could apply such a concept to our consolidated media empires.
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that not only was the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (more commonly, first derisively, and then finally proudly known as “Obamacare”) constitutional, but that the individual mandate was perfectly legit as well, only as a tax. And Republicans everywhere renounced their man crushes on Chief Justice John Roberts.
This is what the “individual mandate” is:
After 2014, as mentioned before, health insurance companies lose their right to say “no.” To protect insurance companies from people who might try to take advantage of such a system, (by waiting until they break an arm to buy health insurance, etc.,) with few exceptions, people will be required to either buy health insurance or pay a special tax. Same with larger businesses who will pay fines if they don’t insure their workers. This is the individual mandate.
Aside from also being “constitutional,” the mandate is the part of Obamacare that everyone was really pissed off about. The part that is now considered a “tax,” as if “mandate” wasn’t bad enough. The part that forces a hard-working, law-abiding, God-fearing, already-tax-paying American citizen to fork over more money from his own wallet – that he paid for!! – to help pay for a costly new system, regardless of the benefits he is receiving therefrom. You see, helping the poor and healing the sick *sounds* all well and good in theory, but the truth is, it costs money. And most people don’t want to give it. Because the economy sucks and they have families. But also because they hate, hate more than anything, being told that they have to do something.
Some hate the idea of paying for illegal immigrants; these people have a fundamental misunderstanding of Obamacare, which only provides care for citizens (sadly still leaving many without care).
Some hate the idea of paying for anyone besides themselves; these people forget that they will no longer be paying insurance companies as much and that some services will now be free, which means they will be paying less overall, so it kind of balances out. The idea of “paying for others” seems like it would intuitively mean “paying more,” but that is not necessarily true, especially when so many are contributing at once.
Some hate the idea of government being so omnipresent in their lives; these people clearly don’t know how much regulation already goes into the health care system, and how political it already is. The reason the private pharmaceutical companies have so much power is because they have so much of our money, which they use to buy congressmen who keep the system in place. This is why drugs are so expensive, why so many are turned down by insurance companies, why hospitals charge so much: it’s all about profit. Take away the profit motive, and you have no reason not to share. Pharmaceuticals and health care in general will become much cheaper because those companies can no longer demand such a high price for the goods/services they supply. In this case, both devils = big government, but “the devil you know” is why we’re in this mess. Make sense now?
Some people hate the idea of Obama killing the insurance companies, and putting all who work for them out of their jobs; these people are stupid. The insurance companies aren’t going anywhere.
Watch as those who so vehemently oppose Obamacare become more and more silent as time goes on, and they realize that their fears were just that: fears, not predictions.
This is what a “death panel” is:
A shadowy group of unnamed, unaccountable cloaked (possibly hooded) figures acting as a buffer between you and your doctor. These are the men and women, many of them reformed ninja-assassins, who determine whether your life is worth enough money in the long run to keep paying for you in the short run. They are the harbingers of death, the bringers of the end times. …Also known as “insurance companies,” they exist today and are not a part of the Obamacare package – at least, not in “death panel” form.
And let’s try and remember that $938 billion is only 2% of the federal budget. The DOD has more expensive toothpicks.
– THE DUEL CITIZEN