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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Obamacare (cue the Halloween/scary music)

The Supreme Court is hearing arguments on the Affordable Health Care Act, or Obamacare as Republicans call it.

They oppose the individual mandate by calling it socialism. The funny thing is that it was their idea in the '90s and it was all good- a way to protect small businesses--- then. What was that other thing they call socialist? Oh. Taxes. I'm sure there are more.

Making everyone opt in is not a new concept. Car insurance is the same. You are required to have this if you have a car. I realize this is regulated by the states and not federal, so this may make all the difference to a Republican, but it is the same concept to me. Everyone pays who may have to use it at some point to cover the costs of those that do. If you choose to go without and then have an accident, no one is required to cover your cost, unlike in a medical situation where doctors are required to treat you, so the need for the individual mandate seems to be greatest in this case. Why so little complaint about car insurance and so much about everyone being required to have health insurance, something that you'll probably use more than car insurance and for something you're guaranteed service for?

Republicans are against welfare and other social programs because it is a free ride. They have no problem with people who don't get insurance while they're healthy or apparently healthy, then go when the problems can't be ignored and have ballooned into something uncontrollable at everyone else's expense because- hey- I didn't see this coming- I'm healthy- I can't afford this- I need help. Is that not the point of insurance, to pay into it before you need it? Take for example life insurance or car insurance. (Yes, I realize life insurance is totally optional and car insurance is regulated by the state, but I'm talking about the allegedly strange new socialist concept of pooling resources.) I would think Republicans would be for something that prevents people from gaming the system and getting services they never intended to pay for (either because they couldn't or because they thought they didn't need it just yet).

Or maybe I have it wrong and Republicans would like to do away with the concept of doctors helping those who can't pay. I admit I don't know their position on that. I'd be curious to find that out.

Or I wonder if the individual mandate gets struck down if people who opt out could carry a card that says- I waive my right/wish to be treated- so the cost wouldn't be incurred. I'm pretty sure that wouldn't affect the doctors' responsibility to treat people, though. Besides it makes me feel kind of horrible just writing that. I definitely believe those who can't afford it should be subsidized and treated, but those who opt out because they're feeling fine now or oppose it ideologically or opt out for another reason than financial need...maybe I don't feel that bad writing it.

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