All about ideas…

Obamacare is Socialism?

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Obamacare is not seen as true socialism but as another program that politicians will raid while failing to tame heath care delivery costs in the USI live in a rural, Republican favored district so I’m something of an outlier. However, I’m always interested in what my neighbors and local businesses say about national policy and politics.

This afternoon, after getting my hair cut, I got into a discussion of Obamacare with my hairdresser after she remarked on the large rheumatoid arthritis caused lumps on my left wrist and hand. The truth is she wanted to know why I had not had them removed to which I replied that the reason why my right wrist looks like I’ve contracted some horribly disfiguring disease is because of money. The surgery could cost thousands…and since my right wrist causes no pain, the extraordinary cost of surgery is just not justified. I’d rather have surgery on the middle finger joint of my right hand where another major lump has appeared, pushing my middle finger to the right, and on my left wrist which continually aches.

In any case, we began discussing on health care costs…and Obamacare.

Using a disparaging tone that I’ve learned is common regarding President Obama in this neck of the Republican woods, she said Obamacare was socialism. So I mildly asked her did she not like Medicare or Social Security or Medicaid because they were certainly socialistic. Her reply was, “No, I don’t because they won’t be there for me.”

So, essentially, her argument against Obamacare was not, in reality, against socialism but in response to her belief that she will have paid into these systems for decades all for naught. That the federal government, as a result of self-absorbed, self-centered, self-greedy Congressional action, would bleed her of the hard-earned money she had made and contributed while giving nothing in return for her dollars.

My hairdresser is a hard-working sole proprietor. A mom with two kids in college and one graduating from high school. She needs to believe government won’t be taking advantage of her. But she doesn’t.

As we talked, I told her how much health care costs today – 17% of GDP – and if left alone how much health care is estimated to cost in 2025 – 25% of GDP. Her face sagged and took on an odd shade of gray as she absorbed those figures…and what they meant for her pocketbook. Like me, she admitted that this country must do something restrain and lower actual health care delivery costs.

I told her about the many provisions in Obamacare that seek to reduce costs and the numerous pilot programs across the country that ACA partially funds. She asked were those programs were actually working and where were they so I told her about TR Reid’s PBS program which discussed the many pilot programs across the country where doctors, insurers, Medicare, Medicaid, and company insurance programs came together to create programs that provided optimal health care at much lower costs.

The message across the board in TR Reid’s PBS program: healthy people, regardless of income and status, cost everyone less so everyone can pay less.

Providing quality health care at a lower cost when communities and health care providers come together can reduce costs and increase healthy outcomes. 27 provisions in Obamacare (aka ACA) provide funds for pilot programs and assist funding for new programs where the main objective is reducing delivery system costs while increasing healthy outcomes.

If this nation basically returns to the system that dominated the last 60 or so years, health care delivery costs will only continue to rise. Pushing those extraordinary, opaque, unknown costs onto patients, as Paul Ryan and the GOP advocate, will not reduce costs. It will only cause more bankruptcies.

Once my hairdresser grasped the overwhelming and nationally bankrupting costs we are paying for our health care delivery system which other nations are not, her opinion changed. She began to see the need to make a real change in health care before we all go broke.

Regardless, one thing is certain: returning to the same old “pay for service” system that dominated US health care for the last 60 years is a certain fiscal loser for the nation…moreover, the “socialism” argument among voters may have less to do with ideology than with the fear or belief, as my hairdresser stated, that Social Security and Medicare – and ACA – won’t be there in 20 years when needed because politicians will have given away yet another pot of taxpayer money to corporations or otherwise shifted their benefits’ money elsewhere in the budget. The real fear may be less about socialism and more about lack of political trust.


Written by Valerie Curl

April 26, 2012 at 10:34 AM

One Response

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  1. Howard Dean (democrat) says obalmycare is a bailout of the insurance companies in return for bribes (contributions) they paid out to BOTH democrats and republicans. That’s why republicans only put up token resistance to it.

    What industry wouldn’t want the government to force 50,000,000 people to become customers overnight?

    Of course, none of these “conservatives” bitched when auto insurance became mandatory. This is largely modeled after that.

    “People get the government they deserve.” – John Updike/Author



    October 22, 2013 at 9:02 PM

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