Health Care Mandate (Obamacare)

Don't know how to post this short New Yorker piece and I generally don't read about the minutiae of this subject, but I was very surprised to read that Rs were in favor of this for 20 years - then reversed their position. Now, after a great deal of rollout, it's back at the Supreme Court. If it's reversed, it will be a crushing loss to many of our people and may greatly diminish their survival options. I pray it is not overturned and the "justices" will find the compassion for the individuals in our country who are unable to afford our extractionary insurance and medical costs that subsidize the rest of the world, where medical treatment is a right. Being alive shouldn't be a privilege because you are well off.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/06/25/120625fa_fact_klein

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Thats good stuff, Mary. Thanks for the post & link. I am scared TO DEATH what will happen if this healthcare goes backwards. Part of me is like; how can they even think about overturning this healthcare law when it helps so many American's? And the other part of me realizes: we are dealing with officials that are so incredibly out of touch with the plight of seniors, poor and folks like us with chronic illness. Plus they have been spoon fed for all of their lives and had every opportunity to rise into these powerfull positions deciding our fate. I say be afraid, be very afraid....we have cause to be. If this healthcare bill is voted down, you will see it ripple into our already fragile economy. To bad the powers-that-be don't see the writing on the wall!!
Makes me sick (or sicker), Ha, I made a funny. :)

Just saying, MC

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I pray it will be overturned. It's gone to the Supreme Court not to determined if it is "compassionate," but if it is constitutional.

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Well, I have two stents and have been diagnoised with a nerve degenerative disease within the past two years. I have been fortunate enough to have had healthcare coverage as a child while my dad worked at Monsanto. After I finished school, I maintained healthcare while working at DuPont. My husband and I have paid for healthcare through his employer for over 30 years. Unfortunately, our current insurance has a very low lifetime cap. The Affordable Health Care Act being considered by the Supreme Court will remove the lifetime limit. It will allow us to keep our children insured until age 26, and allow us to purchase insurance even if we have a pre-existing medical condition. I like so many other of my sisters require continued medical care to live. The unconstitutionality of the Affordable Health Care Act appears to be a negative tenent promoted by pundits and talking heads for political purposes. We already pay into a Social Security healthcare system and eagerly enjoy its rewards when we reach 65. Is this constitutional? What is wrong with compassion?

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This is an important conversation, especially for those of us with serious/chronic health issues - but really, for all of us. What I would love to see here (because it's so hard to find it in regular media/online coverage), is if we of differing views could share and reflect about this issue in a respectful, compassionate, thoughtful manner, using peaceful and kind words to explain our position and ask questions of one another. Wouldn't it be wonderful if women would lead the way in uplifting the quality and timbre of public discourse on such matters? The tendency to see as "the enemy," those who disagree with one's position, and the belief that our position is truly the right one and the only one, doesn't seem to me to be good for any individual's health, nor is it good for the collective health of our culture and people. So, we have an opportunity to do something different here, and I would love to see us take that opportunity... Respectfully, ShantiHeart aka Lynda

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My husband has a small business with 17 employees. Two years ago, there was an employee who had a difficult birth of twins, delivery was weeks too early, and the cost must have been over a million. Because of this large claim, he now has to pay 40% more for coverage for all the employees. It is just like auto insurance and home owner's insurance, in that if you have a claim, your costs go up. The insurance risks/costs are not really spread out over a large population......just those 17 employees. It is very hard on a small business owner. Just another fact in the medical insurance issue. Joyce

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Joyce, You raise such an important issue here - thank you! When I contemplate what your husband is faced with as a small business owner, the solution that comes to mind is doing healthcare more like Canada does it ... but many are wary of healthcare provided by government. Gosh, it's SO complex... how to find our way through to a better way seems like a real mystery...

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I can understand the problems small businesses face with our current health care insurance system -- but is this the pregnant employee's fault -- of course not. Is the extreme cost of her care her fault, the business owner's fault, our fault? Of course not. The positive effect of the mandate to have insurance is that it spreads the risk of coverage costs over the entire population...not just small businesses, not just those who are ill. Insurance companies will still probably charge an "arm and a leg" for premiums (I think there are fixes for that also which aren't being even discussed in Washington) but insurance co. risk (ie., cost of claims vs revenues) will lessen. I don't think a lot of folks understand the concept behind the mandate. You're right, the Reps were in favor of the mandate years ago and most were in favor of the healthcare system put into place when Romney was governor too..... go figure???
PS -- I don't understand the exclusionary idea constitutional = non compassionate. If compassion is a dirty word/sin these days, I gladly plead guilty! I personally hope for the best from the Courts but given recent decisions......
Hugs to all, laurali

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I realize that this issue is far too huge and complex for us to come up with answers and better options. There seems to be three approaches in the US centric world:

1) Completely unregulated "free market" for insurance (people's lives).

2) A "regulated" industry, such as airlines or energy in the past, because they are too central to our government's viability. This has been anathema to the IDEA of "free market capitalism", since Reagan, who started the deregulation rollout. First with airlines, on and on throughout all industries - telecommunications, etc. (Enron was the result of a deregulated energy market, BTW).

3) Governmental baseline safety net: so that all who choose to participate (and this follows the model of Medicare, of which there are already tens or hundreds of millions of people - and growing daily). This is how it's done in other countries, who feel that baseline care and survival are a right, not a financial luxury.

We know number one has proven to be unsustainable for people who don't have $20k extra in their lives for the average working American.

We know regulation is a fight that the two parties will never agree on until the criminal aspect is so egregious, that even the wealthy are destroyed. (Example - our financial situation with banking, housing, deriviatives, etc.) As you can see, our policy has gone in the direction of subsidizing the exploiters, and not enough criminal prosecutions because the "system will collapse" argument. (comment re: the Supreme Court - when the Citizens United decision gives paper corporations more rights than people (who the constitution was designed to protect and empower), something is wrong...(could it be money and ideology?)

We are left with the last option: do what other countries have done: assume that all humans have a right to medical care to a baseline level. And yes, I AM talking about the Kaiser type model which the legislation was modeled after - not talking about rare treatments with no financial or treatment caps).

Now, the Supreme Court has to decide if the Founding Fathers would mean that we all have a right to survive, or if "Freedom" means unfettered capitalism (profitability) where people die in the streets or quietly, in their homes, without care.

I will always put people above illusory corporate protections, and humanity above protecting egregious profits, such as the multi-millions the CEOS of Insurance Firms and Hospitals get paid, while people die without care.

One last comment. My friend who just came back from overseas, got some pain patches there (the same ones) for less than $20. Here in the US, they cost $300 for 8 of them. Our "free market" subsidizes the rest of the world, where their governments protect people's right to survive. Interesting.

Best, Mary

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Please don't start this "The Rs" - I assume that to mean Republicans. Obamacare will take us broke and is not what is required, nor what they told you it was. I am in Washington. I tried to read the legislation until it got over 1,500 pages. It is beginning to hit people in my office now. The "cadillac" plan that had a $250 deductible instead of $500 and over is going away - OBAMACARE WILL TAX MY COMPANY FOR OFFERING A CADILLAC PLAN. This is just one small example of the problems with this legislation. If the Supreme Court doesn't take it out, it will destroy the healthcare system that we do have. When the insurance companies, AARP, groups that would make money off of this legislation pulled their weight and got it passed, who do you think will win?

The insurance companies got what they wanted: "every person in the country, sick or well, mandated to buy insurance." So, a 20 year old who may not need "any" medical care for 50 years will be paying "MANDATORY" in a free country premiums. That is what the Supreme Court challenge is about -- CAN THE GOVERNMENT FORCE YOU TO BUY A PRODUCT?

They are hiring 15,000 new IRS agents to attach returns with fines and premiums. READ THE LEGISLATION IS YOU CAN.

By the way, people, there are panels in the legislation, that decide what will be paid for and what won't - however, these will be government bureaucrats paid by tax dollars, and the people who tell us what is covered right now are insurance companies. We will still not get care.

This is like COBRA - politicians love to taut COBRA - we supply people with the opportunity to buy insurance when they lose their job. COBRA premiums for everyone I've known are so expensive you can't keep the insurance / $700 a month for a mother and child - WHEN YOU'RE UNEMPLOYED. The sweet politicians giveth, but they don't control the insurance companies.

We are subsidizing every country in the world for insurance, drugs, name it, but that's because we have the best little Congress money can buy (REPUBLIC AND AND DEMOCRATS). Until you throw those bums out, nothing good will happen for people like us.

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Yatzchee - wait until you see what happens to your husband's business with Obamacare. Oh, I forgot, businesses will have the opportunity to cancel all of their employee's insurance and pay a small fine per employee. Now, people, if a company has to pay $15,000 a year per employee for insurance, and the government says, pay a small fine ($2,000), and you can cancel their insurance. What do you think they will do? Then, you will have to go a state exchange to get other coverage.

Obamacare is intended to destroy insurance paid by companies. You all need to read the legislation /

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Juice - I agree. Our politicians of both parties are bought and paid for by corporate interests. That leaves us with corporate regulation, but first, you must have educated and ethical politicians to craft it. It's a hell of state we're in.

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MarylG, I've been trying to hold political feet to the fire a long time/ I'm almost 70. Find me an ethical politician (Republican or Democrat). It's like Diogenes looking for a honest man.

Laurali, respectfully, if the federal government can mandate that you buy insurance, what else can they mandate that you buy. The comparison is often done with auto insurance. You hear the more liberal elements of society say, "Well, the government forces you to have auto insurance."

Yes, it does, but it doesn't force you to buy a car!

It also doesn't force you to cover yourself. It only forces you to have liability, to cover the damage you may do to someone else.

This is legislation, in my opinion, built by the insurance companies, few people know what is really in it or what it does, and the people where I work are already feeling some of the "bad effects." I truly believe that when 80% of the major & small businesses in this company opt to pay a "low" fee rather than have insurance, their bottom lines, investors, and owners will mandate what they have to do. They will drop insurance, and we will be thrown into state collectives, as I said.

Go look up if your state has already spent money on this to coerce the Supreme Court into leaving it whole because of the money already spent. Please, Please, if you are home, go to

thomas.gov

to find the legislation. I can't remember the House Bill number, but I will find and post.

We need universal coverage. We need for everyone to have access to good, inexpensive (key word) healthcare. If I had the answer, I wouldn't be sitting here working when I'm so tired all I want to do is sleep.

Luv Ya all, but learn, learn, learn,

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By the way, I cancelled my membership to the AARP because of their role in this debacle. They benefitted from this legislation!

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I agree. The healthcare mandate is about constitutional rights. If this passes, we are all in a world of hurt. To MANDATE that a small business, a hospital, a pharmacy, a doctor HAS TO provide abortions and birth control of all types to anyone who wants it FOR FREE is simply wrong. I pay an arm and leg for my insurance and I can't afford to pay any more. Who do you believe WILL be paying for those FREE abortions and birth control... those of us who already pay for health insurance, that's who.
The bill is wrong on many levels. Please don't get me wrong - health care in this country needs to be fixed but not on the backs of those who already pay. I'm not a millionaire or even close to it. In fact, anymore I push very low middle class. My husband worked long and hard for many years and we paid our way for everything. I was a wife and mother first and worked just long enough to get a small income from social security. I am now a widow. When my husband died, my income was cut in half. If I had died, his income would have stayed the same, except he would have gotten half of my small social security. I was penalized for being an at-home mom. A long hard look needs to be the insurance companies and the pharmacuicals (sp?) that can and do charge huge $$ for their products. It is a complicated issue and I wish I was wise enough to know the answers but the current healthcare bill before the Supreme Court is unconstitutional.

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HR 3200 - that's a House Resolution number, not a bill number, but if you look this up on

thomas.gov

you can find the correlative Senate and House bills for Obamacare.

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This is where I bow out of this thread, as it's starting to heat up, and several of you sound so sure you know what should be done, what is wrong, how to fix it, and that some of the others here don't know. As soon as one of us thinks we are right and others are wrong, it's no longer a conversation. How can any of us know what would work in such a complex world, a complex form of economics, a complex system? Why not start from a place of "Gosh, we all agree it needs to be improved; we have different ideas of how to do that. Where are the areas of common ground, of agreement and how might we start there?" That's a conversation I'd be interested in participating in. We can't go on as a country, I don't think, being so polarized and so unwilling to work things out in a kind, patient, friendly manner, and expect things to get better.

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Okay girls, enough already. For heavens sake, you are required to have Automobile Insurance, right. Why? For the same you should have to have health insurance. What gives a person without health insurance the right to get the same health care as one that pays for it? Uninsured people that go to the hospital ER for the sniffles just say sue me for the bill. I just can't pay it. You may say it is a matter of live or die. Well, so is it if you have an accident in your car. Banks require insurance on your home. This is a huge problem that costs us a ton of money as you know. Most young employees refuse the employer insurance programs because they don't want the money taken from their check & bingo, they get sick, go to the doctor & never pay the bill. I see nothing unconstitutional or unreasonable about requiring people to have Health Insurance & pay their way. What is the big deal. And as for the employer having to offer insurance by getting a better group rate, so what, the cost is paid by the employee anyway. Or if it isn't then the employer that's the employers fault. I had a group policy for my employees and a separate policy for my wife & I which was better & cheaper. As a former employer I understand the concerns but if EVERYONE had to pay their medical bills we HAVE to benefit in the long run. No one should expect to get free health care. NO ONE!!!! I don't care if they have to go through hell to pay for it. Anyway I know a lot of people from countries with national health care & they have great teeth & less health problems all around due to preventative measures. Meanwhile our people have NO DENTAL coverage to speak of which amazes me since we are judged so heavily on our smile. Rotten teeth mean no job, girlfriend or respect from those in society. Whats the deal!!!!
I gotta go before I have a heart attack. I am only 4 months out of quad bypass so can't get to excited. Thanks for listening to my rant & if you agree I will feel much better. LOL
David from Tennessee

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Social Security is a governmental mandate that serves as a social safety net for people 65 years old and older. At one time many said that this governmental aid was unconstitutional and amounted to welfare. It was the compassionate thing to do for our elders. Many would face a sad life. No extra money hanging around for heart caths, or mris, or open heart surgeries. Of course, citizens pay into the social security system, but many outlive and outspend their contributions. It is so popular, most compassionate and proud Americans would never try to end the program for the elderly. Maybe younger people could benefit from a balanced medical program.

Just as a mandate allows Social Security to suceed by requiring all citizens to contribute, a mandate requiring citizens to contribute to the AFC will insure its success. Instead of waiting until citizens become critically ill and incur huge medical bills, maybe they could benefit from affordable preventative care. Furthermore, It is not mandated that religious institutions be required to provide birth control. As far as abortions being provided by the AFC, it has been law for many years that no Federal dollars can be allocated to performing abortions.

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No where does it say that doctors must provide abortions, no where. No taxpayer money goes towards abortions, none. We are now getting much better coverage since the ACA went into effect. Why? Because more emphasis is being placed on prevention, which means I am now getting many of my test without any copays or deductibles. I can drive for 80 years and never have an accident while paying for auto insurance the whole time. It's the cost you pay for having it if/when you need it. I have a real problem with people saying young healthy people shouldn't have to get insurance, because if something does happen to them, then we all pay. It's not fair to everyone else if people wait until they are sick to then buy insurance. There is also help for people who can't afford the premiums. All in all I find it a good thing. It's a start. Lord knows no one on the opposing side has said what they will do instead. Seems as if their plan is survival of the fittest. That's not the kind of society I want to live in.

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Frontline documentary about health care in five capitalist countries.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/view/
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/sickaroundtheworld/countries/

People in the US are dying every day because they cannot afford to go to the hospital or the premiums for health insurance. I came so close to not having health insurance. Eight months ago I had open heart surgery to replace a valve. My aorta was nicked when my chest was cut open and I could have died. Before I had my surgery I had to pay my surgeon $1,700. What if I did not have any money to pay my surgeon? When you are recovering from an illness you should not have to fight with your insurance company to get them to pay the medical bills.
If the people in our country could seek medical care in the beginning stages of their illness we would not have as many people living on government disability checks.

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