[politics|cancer] The government shutdown and the ACA and me

When you get right down to it, I have never seen a rational basis for the conservative opposition to the Affordable Care Act. After all, the core of the ACA was a proposal originating from the Heritage Foundation, a deeply conservative think tank. The template for the ACA was a highly successful state-level implementation led by then-Republican governor and later GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The basic mechanism of the ACA is to swell the customer rolls of for-profit insurance companies competing on policy price and features, relying on the free market.

Why is this such a threat to American freedom? In all but name, the ACA is a conservative program implemented from conservative proposals rooted in conservative ideals.

And now the government shutdown. Which doesn’t even defund the ACA itself, just pretty much everything else. Are the Republicans so infuriated at the success of their own ideas that they must punish the entire country and economy. How does this make sense?

As for me personally, without the ACA I would be bankrupt or dead by now. Likely both. One of the first provisions of the ACA to come into effect was a ban on the lifetime spending caps most health insurance policies historically enforced. As a long-term cancer patient, I’m now about 25% over the spending cap my own insurance policy used to have. Without the ACA, my last year and more of treatment would have been completely uncovered. This would have required me to spend about $250,000 out of pocket, or go without treatment.

So opposition to the ACA is quite literally saying to me, “Go ahead and die already.”

As [info]ericjamesstone said to me a while back, anecdote makes bad law. (That’s not a precise quote, but I believe that’s the sense of what he told me.) My death would just be an anecdote, not a policy point. But my life is kind of important to me.

And in all the angry conservative rhetoric about the ACA, I have never seen any proposals that would keep me personally alive.

So this furious, unprecedented opposition to a piece of settled law — passed by Congress, signed by the president, litigated to the Supreme Court — that will benefit both me personally as well as tens of millions of other Americans, makes no sense to me either as a matter of policy or as a matter of my individual situation.

Does it make sense to you? Have you seen anywhere a fact-based explanation of why the ACA should be so vigorously opposed?

53 thoughts on “[politics|cancer] The government shutdown and the ACA and me

  1. Erica says:

    I’ve seen some anecdotal accounts by people who insist that they now have to cover their employees or pay a penalty, and they won’t be able to afford it without raising prices etc. But not any rational explanation of why it’s so wrong to ask people who can afford it to go to the exchanges and get lower cost health insurance. I thought people who were uninsured were terrified of getting sick. But I guess for some of them, going to the ER and having other peoples’ insurance subsidize their health care costs works just fine.

  2. It’s a widely held belief in conservative circles that Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and Civil Rights are the reason why the Democrats controlled congress for most of the last half of the 20th century. Their fear is if Obamacare is successful (which even with it’s glitches it looks like it will be), history will repeat. There goes any hope for the “permanent majority.”

  3. IIRC, one of the problems with the ACA was that the Supreme Court ruled that the bill couldn’t demand that the states expand their Medicaid programs, even if the federal government was footing the bill. And, well, some states didn’t. So you have people too poor for the tax subsidies — and, thus, not covered — but who still can’t get on Medicaid as they were expected to be able to.

    But that’s a problem that can be fixed by another bill adjusting the subsidies to better cover poor people; heck, I’d expect that the subsidies are designed to be adjusted based on ‘how much can people afford’. Or, you know, having the federal government pay for everyone’s health care if they want it, but that’s apparently Commie talk.

  4. First, I am not a “conservative opposition”; I pride myself in being an independent thinker who abhors BOTH parties’ penchant for blindly pulling their vote lever simply for the letter after the name. One reason it is difficult to detect rational opposition to ACA is because the 4th branch of government (the media) is failing to report without bias. For what is is worth, here are some very rational points against the ACA in its current form:
    1) Your point of ACA having foundations in conservative principles is true; however, the lefties took it too far by making it compulsatory. This is a totally unamerican concept, there is no need to FORCE people to participate in anything that is supposed to be good for them. (Also, you assert the litigation to the Supreme Court yet this aspect has not yet been ruled upon as it hasn’t taken effect yet. The Court said they would have to wait until there was an actual penalty for non-compliance assessed to make such a ruling.)
    2) The rules within ACA are a detriment to economic growth and job creation. Small businesses will cut their employees and re-create their jobs as independent contractors. Also, previously a part-time worker could pick up some extra hours from time to time – even overtime. Now, the limit of working 29 hours will be strictly adhered to. This is just 2 of many aspects of ACA which are counter-intuitive to sound economic principles.
    3) The POTUS outright lies about his fun little system (and again the 4th branch does not question it at all). He has recently told us that coverage can be had for less than a cell phone bill. When I pay my cell phone bill it is paid in full and requires no deductibles or co-pays to access my service further.
    4) This one should bother EVERYBODY on the ideological spectrum, but we have that 4th branch falling down on the job and the blind D followers just continuing on the same path. The ACA was forced thru without proper scrutiny and debate (which may have removed some of the current snags?). Nancy Pelosi: “We Have to Pass the Bill So That You Can Find Out What Is In It”. Really? Is that how we want decisions to be made in this country? Electric Company: “You have to pay your bill to find out what you used and whether it’s accurate”. Riiiight.
    I do understand how as a long-term cancer patient you can take it personally that there is opposition to a flawed law from which you benefit. I firmly believe had it been done correctly in the first place, with the cooperation of all points of view being heard, considered, and included with a reasonable effort to be truly beneficial for our society as a whole that your situation would still have been addressed adequately.

    1. Jay says:

      Larry, just a quick note. The compulsory mandate for the ACA was part of the original Heritage Foundation proposal. That’s been a core of the conservative idea all along. Blaming that on the left is simply wrong, on the place face of the facts.

      And as far as compulsory insurance goes, do you drive a car? Because if you do, you pay compulsory insurance. Likewise if you pay a mortgage, or pay rent to a landlord with a mortgage (admittedly indirectly in the rental situation). I’ve never seen any conservatives up in arms over automobile insurance or homeowner’s insurance.

  5. Alisa Russell says:

    I haven’t commented on a whole lot of these things, but I do have one frustration. My husband is insured through his company. (small business and his plan is deemed affordable) However, the family plan is not, and my children and I buy insurance on the individual market. (one income family) It is the worst insurance we have ever had and the most expensive. We are NOT eligible for any subsidies though because my husband’s company still offers the other plan. So, the ACA will cost our family more money.

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