The kids' ACA-Hoorah!

Dateline: Mon 09 Jul 2012

Sorry to be so slow; too much time with the takin'-ovah generation the last couple weeks (those are the 30-somethings).

One observation: their pride, or at least the pride expressed among the "kids" I know, in the Supremes' upholding of Obamacare was so profound that, over cigars and sipping beers, they insisted the health mandate be called the ACA -- the Affordable Care Act. Obamacare was not dignified enough, apparently, even for Saturday late-night chit chat.

It's a small enough bit of semantics, but their insistence seemed to indicate they appreciate the legitimizing of Obama's efforts and were savoring the sweet fruit of victory ... a first for that generation of voters, if you don't count the election of himself.

My own view of Obama is less-than these days -- thank you Maureen Dowd -- but the younger adults I know, who are libs, remain loyal if not antimated.

This health-care deal is their generation's equivalent of FDR's closing down the banks in 1929, "saving the country" (to hear my folks talk) and creating Social Security: that was HUGE in my parents' day, and those who didn't hate FDR with poisoned passion simply and plainly adored the man as their national savior.

We're not quite so sentimental today; don't say "savior" and "pol" in the same breath.

Still, as my 30-40-something neighbor -- successful, employed by a Fortune 500 company, but still a working stiff -- explained, "Now my wife and I are free to leave our jobs if we want because we can buy our own health insurance." Love is never having to say you work for the Man.

Lots more to come in terms of smoothing out Obamacare/ACA, and not all of it will be good for ordinary folks, but one sure result is that some of the kids are both proud -- and vested -- in their nation. How bad can that be?

Incidentally, these are the same kids who don't really worry about the deficit. Which is beyond me. But that's another story for another day....


hendy [Member] said:

My mom is lucky. My late father bought a long-term policy for her. She sits in a care facility with dementia. The payout so far: well over a million. Easy. She gets a small pension and social security. She worked on and off, maybe 20+ years of her life after raising seven children. Others aren't so lucky.

I have insurance but my eligibility for it expires next year. The last quote I got was $19,388 per year. I had hopes that Roberts might do what he did. Yes, this is huge. And it's really needed in a civilized world. Go travel anywhere in the first world, and you'll see what Americans are missing: affordable health care. The game is rigged here, like so many other games bought and paid for with K Street money. This one's a winner. You,too.

2012-07-09 12:13:05

BigPoppa [Member] said:

My wife and I are upper 30-somethings and passing the ACA meant a lot to us. My wife is diabetic thanks to genetics and my father, brother and uncle all passed away at 49 due to genetic heart conditions. Should we lose our jobs at any time and our coverage, I can't imagine trying to find an individual policy that didn't factor in those conditions.

As it stands now, through my employer (approx 30 employees), we pay $6500 annually for a high deductible ($6000) family plan. My wife is an RN at a local hospital, but we can't get a family plan through them since I'm employed with access to medical insurance. We meet our deductible by August every year through checkups, specialists, and prescriptions (the bulk of the expenses). This plan doesn't include much vision coverage (slight discounts) and no dental coverage. We all wear glasses/contacts and my son is a week away from braces. We are lucky enough to get some dental insurance through my wife's employer for an additional cost, but dental coverage doesn't cover much. I'm very thankful for what we have, but premiums are increasing 20% annually on my employer and they have no choice but to pass that on or raise the deductible.

Since insurance companies answer to shareholders, they need to maximize profits. Hospitals are obligated by law to care for everyone that walks through the door. Hospitals need to make money too. So who gets left holding the bag when people without insurance need healthcare? The hospitals have to raise their prices, which raises what the insurance company pays and then those costs get shuffled back to policy holders.

If you're against the ACA and you don't have insurance, then you're OK with a credit/income check being run every time you need healthcare. If you don't have the means, off you go and good luck. The ACA isn't perfect, but it is a start. It's a framework, hopefully, for something better. I'd love to see us get a single-payer model, but too may special interests involved to have that happen anytime soon.

As for the deficit, I care about the deficit and what it means for my son as he grows up and has a family of his own. However, I'm more concerned that he always has access to affordable healthcare because he's probably not holding a winning hand when it comes to genetic health issues. We can find other areas (there are many, many choices) to cut back and/or eliminate to be sure we take care of the health needs of our nation.

2012-07-09 13:25:23

JD [unverified] said:

If Obamacare stays, then we will eventually have full on national healthcare. I'm thinking about quitting my job, and letting others pay for my healthcare myself. Your neighbors think they will be able to buy healthcare, but they likely won't like the price. Since now all health companies have to cover everyone, prices will skyrocket.

The younger generation wants what I want: Someone else to pay for something in their life, so they can do whatever they want. Watch as hundreds of thousands of people leave their job and take jobs doing what they love, even if it pays a lot less.

The problem is: Will there be enough educated folks to fill those jobs that are left? Will people want to take a good paying job for $100K if we are likely to see tax hikes go through the roof? Also, if a company drops employee healthcare and decides to pay the taxes, there is no part of the law that mandates they give employees increases in wages.

The one thing I can't stand are these political dolled out exemptions. If Obamacare is so great, everyone should be part of exceptions, no exemptions.

2012-07-09 15:52:07

JD [unverified] said:

"As for the deficit, I care about the deficit and what it means for my son as he grows up and has a family of his own."

Your son, and many other young people, will have only a few options:

Option 1: Married with no kids. They will have a nice life, but unless they make good money, they won't be able to afford children.

Option 2: Married with one, maybe two kids. If your son and future spouse are lucky, they will have good paying jobs. They will be able to afford children, but barely.

Option 3: Married or not, one or two kids, maybe out-of-wedlock. Out of seeing how hard one has to work to make it, and how little the government will allow one to keep in the future, many "good kids" will grow up to be like those in low-income areas. Get a girl knocked up, or get married, have low paying jobs, and pop out kid after kid. Let Uncle Sam pick up a portion of the bill for rent, daycare, food, and healthcare.

Single payer is what we will have, and the debt will be so huge, there really won't be any way to pay for it. Government continues to grow. Will RNs, pharmacist, doctors, etc. take massive pay cuts? What about hospital administrators? This is why I want a huge, gigantic national single-payer system. Every hospital, doctor, RN, etc. a government employee. Only those at the very, very top make anything close to the president in terms of pay. This is the most fair way to do it.

Many of people with good jobs, who have saved much, are planning on becoming "loads" or "pure consumers" once single-payer arrives. There is no reason to work hard, make good money, to turn around and subsidize the healthcare for the masses. You may as well take a job doing what one loves even if it is minimum wage. Some folks are planning to not work at all. I know plenty of people who have the money to stop working, but only work due to healthcare. Thing is, many of these folks are consuming the bulk of the care given their age.

Not really sure what the future holds....will be interesting for sure.

2012-07-09 16:03:15

hendy [Member] said:

@JD, I have heard this false meme, almost word for word. I think it's BS. A lot of working people need the insurance, and aren't going to kick back to ride the contributions of others. It didn't happen in other countries that required insurance, and it won't happen here. Instead, you're repeating an often-heard false meme-- propaganda. No doubt, there will be systematic abusers. We need change the culture to get people to understand that cash doesn't grow on trees, and neither does health care. A few will get (perhaps needed) free rides. Most of us are happy to pay a reasonable amount, and right now, reason is NOT in the picture.

2012-07-09 16:10:09

Tell The Truth [Member] said:

Once again, Hendy is correct. And once again, Ruthie dear, you managed to put a spin on this I hadn't seen elsewhere. Lord, we need you writing at The Star again.

The AFA will sort out to be mostly-good, methinks. THe alternatives were astoundingly bad. And if it leads to national health care, be it. We shoulda done that long ago. Need any more proof than this? :

Our local health insurance giant, Wellpoint (what a sorry-assed name) today announced they were buying a managed care company for--hold onto your hats--$4.5 billion. In Cash. Why in the world a former mutual-insurance company has that kind of cash lying around is beyond me. They worship at the stockholder altar--alas, government regulates them so little in these post-Reagan days that their stock-in-trade seems to be denial of paid-for benefits, straight to the bottom line! Hoo-ray, huh?

To me, the single-biggest "under-reported" aspect of this case: Mr. Justice Thomas's wife, Ginny, received over $1.6 million in "consulting" fees from entities which filed amicus briefs or, more directly, financially supported those who had an interest in this case. And he didn't recuse.

The Supremes insist that federal judges adhere to a strict Code of Ethics, but they exempt themselves. Ain't that great?

2012-07-09 16:37:24

Christopher Lloyd [unverified] said:

Lol Ruth, pretty impressive for FDR to close down the banks in 1929 -- four years before he took office!

2012-07-09 18:19:58

VladTheInhaler [unverified] said:

@TTT RE: Justice Thomas' wife's work ...

Yep. Biggest single "under-reported" aspect of the case -- next to Justice Elana Kagan's previous role as Solicitor General, involved in ACA work.

No dobre comradski

2012-07-10 16:03:41

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Now this is an issue that can hike up my blood pressure, which isn't good for an old guy with kidney disease and diabetes.

My family's health care costs - WITH lousy HMO insurance through my wife- are literally threatening my wife's life and mine. Because of high deductibles and high-copays, we both often have to go WITHOUT prescribed medical testing and treatments.

In other words, we have to risk our lives.

I have a large tumor in my left shoulder that I am supposed to have an MRI on every six months to make sure it doesn't turn cancerous. No MRIs because we can't afford the $400 copays. I have kidney disease and ONE recent blood test and sonogram alone put me in debt with a hospital to the tune of $1,200. My doctor wants me to get a kidney scan but that can't happen until we pay off our current medical debt (whenever that is).

Our insurance only allows us to use a hospital system that is almost an hour's drive from our home. So, if I get chest pains, I have to be my own doctor and decide if these are "life threatening" before I can go to a close-by emergency room. If the insurance company, after the fact, determines that they weren't "life threatening" symptoms, I pay the full bill!

About 19 months ago, I nearly died on the 45-minute drive to get critical medical care (I had severe pneumonia and was gasping for breath and collapsed when I got there).

Don't talk to a man who nearly died because of our current insane and cruel health delivery system about deficit theories and how the world is going to end because of them.

Massive numbers of us need help and we need it now. The Republicans offer no relevant remedies for this travesty and shame on our country. Instead, they talk about the "deficit," wave the "I've Got Mine" banner and thumb their noses at families like mine. Well, the real "deficit" in the current wave of Republican conservatism is in basic human compassion.

Obamacare may not be a lot, but at least it's a step in the right direction. Single-payer is the only sane solution, but corporate greed and human heartlessness will prevent it.

Now, I need to take some deep breaths and get my blood pressure back down.

2012-07-11 00:48:05

Tom Greenacres [unverified] said:

WellPoint is now bigger thanks to a boatload of cash. How is this in any respect good for their insureds?

1. Medicare for everyone. Single payer, thereby reducing the insurance companies rakeoffs which drive up costs.
2. More doctors. Tell the AMA to get stuffed. Create more medical schools. And make it less expensive to become a doctor.
3. Malpractice reform. If docs weren't so afraid of being sued, they wouldn't run so many tests.
4. Social reform. Make people understand that filing lawsuits is not a sure road to free lunch.
5. Pharma reform. Ignore the BS about high pill costs being necessary to fund research. High salaries and high investor returns is more like it.

Rant endeth here.

2012-07-12 07:56:01

Whitebeard [unverified] said:

I like your rant, Mr. Greenacres.

2012-07-12 20:35:19

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