Our insanely reactionary and activist Supreme Court is supposed to rule on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act some time this week. Or maybe they’ll put it off until after the election. I’ve heard both. And with the SCOTUS tossing hundreds of years of precedent out the window and legislating from the bench – hell, all bets are off. Perhaps we can count on Antonin Scalia to treat us to another loud and angry rant about how lazy and spoiled we Americans are, and how we need to pull up our bootstraps, etc. etc. (ad nauseum).
The Republicans are shrieking “UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!!!” about the individual mandate included in the ACA, but what’s so stupid about that is that the individual mandate was a REPUBLICAN idea. Yep. They’re the ones who demanded that individuals purchase insurance – because we all know how they are about anyone getting anything for free (unless it’s big bailouts and subsidies for giant banks and corporations). But now, because the individual mandate was included in a bill proposed and passed by a black President – and a Democrat to boot – the Republicans are now dead set against it, because now it’s socialism, it’s commie librul nanny-state voodoo and takes away our guns, dammit – praise Ayn Rand!!!
Do I sound a little angry? That’s probably because I am. I’m a lot angry.
You see, I’m one of the millions of Americans who is currently uninsured, and there’s no way I can afford to pay the astronomical premiums I would be forced to pay because of my age, my general health and my pre-existing conditions. At this point, if I get sick, I have two choices: ignore it and hope it will get better (prayer is not an option in my case; you see, I don’t believe in God) or I can go to a storefront urgent care center or the emergency room – for which I will end up with giant medical bills that in reality, I just can’t pay. Why? Because I’m also one of those Americans who is unemployed, and thus, I have no health insurance. But, sez Mitch McConnell, Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney et. al, I should pony up the $500-plus per month it would cost me to purchase the most bare-bones catastrophic insurance policy – and I might not even be able to get that, because I once had a brain tumor – eeek! A pre-existing condition!! And I’m 57 years old with borderline high blood pressure on top of that. Nope, sorry, honey, you’re too old to have insurance, because, you see, you might have to actually use it, and that cuts into our bottom line.
And those Republicans also tell us with earnest faces that because I (and a whole lot of my fellow Americans) got laid off from my job due to my company suffering an economic loss – somehow, it’s my fault, that I didn’t work hard enough, that I’m lazy and shiftless – and for that, I deserve to be punished by being deprived of basic medical care and treatment. The people who wear teabags on their hats are constantly screeching that they don’t want their tax money to be used to pay for someone else’s illness, but like almost everything else these people say, that’s just plain stupid – and wrong (BTW, these same teabaggers are just fine with subsidizing the fossil fuel industry or going to war against Iran). So, they say, because I’m unemployed, according to the GOP, that means that I should just be very careful not to get sick or get hit by a bus, because if I do, because I’m lazy and shiftless, I don’t deserve to have my illness/injuries treated – and shame on me for being lazy and shiftless in the first place!!
The stark, glaring reality is that we all pay for the uninsured in the end. Even if we have health insurance, we pay with overcrowded emergency rooms and frantically overburdened doctors who are treating very sick people who cannot pay. Frankly, aside from the fact that this means that the ER docs are sometimes far too busy to treat the genuine emergencies, this means that everyone gets diminished quality of care simply because the doctors cannot be in 42 places at once. Aside from the wretched inhumanity of all this, forcing the uninsured to use the emergency room as their sole means of medical treatment is criminally wasteful – because many of these very sick people could have been treated and cured at a far earlier stage for much less.
It also means hospitals folding under the burden of their crushing debt, which exacerbates the problem by leaving fewer and fewer hospitals, doctors and medical centers available for all Americans. Think about that. The next time you, Joe Teabagger, get sick, and you flash your insurance card, you very well may be forced to wait for treatment because your HMO doctor has 5,000 patients and you’ll end up waiting 3 weeks for an appointment, or maybe even months for any kind of elective surgery, because our medical system chews up and spits out doctors and hospitals and, because there are fewer doctors and hospitals providing treatment, is now so backlogged that you’re going to have to wait. And wait. And wait. And, when you do get your treatment, your HMO doctor will provide you the very barest minimum of treatment, because the way our system is set up, doctors are only rewarded if they do NOT provide treatment. Yep, you see, it’s called “profit” and that’s the glaringly obvious conflict of interest that’s built into our current healthcare system.
Well, I don’t buy it. I don’t believe it has to be this way. We should have Medicare Part “E” – for everyone. Medicare has the most efficient delivery system and the lowest overhead, and that ought to appeal to all these Republicans who are constantly screeching about high taxes and deficit spending. You’d think efficiency and low overhead would appeal to them. But no, business as usual, it’s all about the Benjamins.
Republicans are so fond of quoting Jesus, but when the hell did Jesus ever turn away a sick person or tell that person that he or deserved to die because he was lazy…?