Calhoun’s Cannons for March 29, 2012
All animals are created equal but some are more equal than others.
George Orwell, Animal Farm
I must fess up. I’m of two minds about the upcoming battle in the Supreme Court over whether Obamacare will stand or fall. Part of me wants to see the Affordable Healthcare Act pass constitutional muster and survive so it can be improved and expanded. After all, why shouldn’t we all end up with the same health care plan as former Veep Dick Cheney enjoys? For years, we’ve all been paying for his top of the line government paid health care, subsidizing the kind of taxpayer-financed “socialized medicine” that Dick’s political party has been moving heaven and earth to destroy. So, I see no reason why sauce for the goose can’t be sauce for all the rest of us ganders. Medicare for all and/or Congressional Health Care for all. That should do the trick.
But, part of me, the childishly evil part, wants to see the Supremes knock the Affordable Healthcare Act out of the park. Make it a total no-go. DOA. After all, polls show that nearly half of all Americans don’t like or don’t want the evil Obamacare. So, I’d like to see their wishes come true. Poof! Gone.
Within days, free of all price restraints, everyone’s health insurance premiums would spike as insurance company CEOs demanded higher bonuses because they needed more gold-plated toilet fixtures for their private offices. Millions of people who had some minor malady would get a letter in the mail notifying them that their major medical had been canceled and they couldn’t buy more because they were now considered to be uninsurable because of some “preexisting condition.” Other millions, right in the middle of cancer treatment, would be notified that their policies had been canceled. And for all those people who got their health insurance at work, those price hikes would force their employers to downsize, so they’d lose their jobs; no job, no money, no health-care and now totally uninsurable. That’s just the plucky, Republican Party, Ron-Paulian self-sufficient independence all these freedom-loving folks have been fighting for—no more evil creeping socialism and government rules meddling in their lives!
Then, by the millions, I want these hardy souls to get sick. Not lethal sick. After all, I’m childlishly evil, not mean. No, I want them just sick enough to really rack up humongous hospital bills, like, say, a two-week stay, plus some sort of surgery. That should do it. It’s unlikely the average person could pay that highly inflated hospital bill. And so they would lose their house and would end up sitting on the curb with their meager belongings, their kids stuffed into the station wagon, with the family dog tied on top.
And then I could drive by and sweetly inquire, “Are you happy now?”
But then I remember a friend of mine. She’s self-employed and healthy and, like most of us, has a very minor condition that has rendered her pre-existingly uninsurable. One minor accident, one illness, and she’d lose it all – her business, her home, everything. Under the new Obamacare mandates, for the first time, she was able to buy group insurance from a newly formed pool and now has the security of knowing she’s covered against a medically induced financial disaster. If Obamacare is defeated, my friend will be once again put in danger.
I don’t want that to happen. She’s my friend. She’s a hard working, responsible American. And I can’t imagine why nearly half of recently polled Americans just like her want to put her (and themselves) back into harm’s way again.
No matter which way the Supreme Court rules, that’s the one question that will remain unanswered. Whether Obamacare is still standing to be modified and improved, or shot down totally, the state of our health care system is profoundly sick and will remain a national problem. Many other advanced, democratic countries have figured out excellent ways to deliver cheaper, better health care to more of their citizens at a much lower cost than we do, and with better outcomes. There is nothing in the world preventing us from cherry-picking ideas from any of their plans and adapting them to our country. It’s not rocket science, but it does take some smarts, and a pragmatic rather than a rigid ideological mind-set.
And a willingness to keep asking and answering two key questions: Should basic, non-profit health care be a right for all citizens, or should it remain a high-profit luxury reserved only for the privileged few? And, Why is evil socialized government-administered medical insurance O.K. for our seniors, our vets, our congress and Dick Cheney, but not O.K. for the rest of us?