I’ve noticed a certain sentiment appearing in so-called “progressive” blogs about Obamacare that I find particularly awful. It’s that people who are desperate for healthcare will be so grateful for something better than the Republican sharp stick in the eye that they will put up with endless amounts of indignities to get it. Yep, those truly sick or with relatives who are truly sick will gladly spend hours and hours of frustration in front of a hot display trying to log in and get their information correct so they can see the exchange plans.
There’s an underlying heartlessness about this sentiment. It’s like, well, what did they expect?? They’re poor and they’re sick. They should be happy we’re doing anything for them at all. This strikes me as just a hair better than the “let ’em all die!” attitudes of the Tea Party people.
But that’s not why I think Obamacare will eventually come to be loathed by anyone forced to jump through hoops and face indignity after indignity before they even get to see what their options are.
No, I think the biggest problem with Obamacare that will make people loathe it is the lack of the employer mandate.
See, it’s a little like getting on an airplane and finding out the guy in the seat next to you paid a LOT less for his flight. If you have employer provided insurance, you probably have a policy that doesn’t cost you the equivalent of a couple new car payments. You health insurance payments are your benefits, not an added expense. It’s like you’re getting a bonus every month. You can go on vacation and if you get a severe case of tourista or break your arm, you won’t come back home with a huge bill to pay off for treatment. (Note to self: vacation in Canada)
And this is a problem because there is a lot more temporary work these days. A lot more people who were formerly covered by their employers suddenly aren’t anymore. I met a lot of people like that in New Jersey. They couldn’t afford their insurance anymore because they were part time employed or unemployed or self-employed or employed by contract. Those numbers are growing all of the time in this Little Depression.
So, many of them go without treatment, like the lovely, elegant blonde woman in her fifties I met. She and her husband both lost their jobs and tried to pay their mortgage on what work they could get. She let her dental care lapse. And now she has a mouth full of rotting teeth. Rotting front teeth.
Or the guy I met at the bar of a local restaurant where I was waiting for my car to be fixed who kept bugging me about signing up for his financial services company. I finally had to be rude to him and tell him to leave me alone (I had been laid off about a week before). He got quiet and despondent and said very softly, “I wish I had health insurance again”. Then I noticed how thin and pale he looked.
How would these so-called “progressives” like it if they had to pay for their health insurance by nagging equally poor women at bars for business? You can only avoid bars for so long. Or New Jersey, where the problem is lurking in plain sight.
This administration and its party thought all they had to do was pass the bill and then celebrate. Implementation would take care of itself apparently. And if the employer mandate didn’t happen or the deductibles weren’t capped, it was no big deal because it was only the poorest and sickest of the poor who would suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. It’s like all of DC has been living in a glass dome for 5 years and has no idea how segments of the formerly well cared for middle class has fallen through the floor caused by the chronic unemployment they have left festering while they allowed the Republicans to control the message.
They have created a new tier of second class citizens. Oh sure, the employer mandate will come, maybe. We’ll see. In the meantime, there will be resentment and seething and anger. The costs still come out of our pockets or our income tax returns and now, we’ll have no choice to be shaken down by the private insurance market. We will be captives to it.
Not all of us. Just those of us unlucky enough to lose our jobs in the name of “shareholder value”.