Not such a bitter pill

Whenever I think about health care reform, I am reminded of the song from the film Marry Poppins that goes “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” You would think from the way Conservatives are always blathering on about the moral fiber of America breaking down because no one takes responsibility for their actions anymore, they could use a spoon full of fiber rather than sugar. They warn about the dangers of the “nanny state”, and “socialist ideas.” At the end of the day, so the conservatives say, it’s a matter of personal responsibility and personal choice.

I couldn’t agree more. It really comes down to the choice between a thick glass of Metamucil or a smooth glass of sweet tea. Which would you prefer?

Having everyone take responsibility for their own health care started as a Republican idea. And by and large, Americans agree. But a new poll out yesterday showed many Americans still have  a long way to go in understanding what the new healthcare actually does, particularly on the “individual mandate” portion and in the face of continued right-wing attacks on health reform.

Simply stated, the new health care law makes sure everyone takes charge of their own care and gets affordable insurance, because when people without it get sick, the costs get passed down to the rest of us. For health insurance to work, it’s necessary to include people who are healthy to help pay for those are sick. Under the ACA, you can keep the coverage you have, or if you don’t like your plan, or don’t have one, you can pick an affordable insurance option to take personal responsibility for yourself and your family.

We have a choice: Everyone can take charge of their own care, or the rest of us can keep paying more when people with no health insurance get sick. It’s that simple. And since nearly 90 million Americans took advantage of the new health law’s prevention benefits last year, it seems the many have made their decision.

Nearly 3 million seniors with Medicare saved $1.5 billion on their medicines, and 24 million took advantage of the new preventive care benefit last year. Nearly 4 million small businesses can now claim tax credits for providing health coverage to their employees, up to 17 million children with pre-existing conditions now cannot be denied coverage and 2.5 million more young adults who are now covered through their parents’ health insurance as they finish school or look for a job. I think Julie Andrews herself would sing for joy.

Over 60% of Americans support the individual responsibility provision after they are informed most Americans would still get their health coverage through their employers, and thus wouldn’t be affected by the mandate. People understand that without it, people might wait until they are seriously ill to obtain coverage, driving up insurance costs for everyone, or that insurers could refuse to cover sick people.

So maybe the next time some blowhard is complaining about Obama forcing healthcare down our throats, you can tell him we do have a choice – Obamacare, or a pill that is even more bitter to swallow.

This is a cross-post from the Action NC blog.

12 Comments

  1. Frank Burns

    February 28, 2012 at 9:47 am

    Obamacare is a tad more complicated than you portray it. How many pages were included in the legislation? It was like a world atlas. As I understand it there is also the constitutional problem with this bill with regards to the mandate. There is also the problem of cost. Apparantly the rosy projections made by Team Obama were not realistic so affordability is a valid concern.

    The song that comes to my mind with regards to Obamacare is the one by the Temptations, “Ball of Confusion”.

  2. Kevin Rogers

    February 28, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Hey Frank – yes, you are of course correct that the bill (906 pages to be exact) is more complex than the scope of my brief post, but I doubt you or almost anyone else wants to read about the details – my job is make this incredibly complex stuff easy to understand. There have been questions raised as to the mandate portion, but we will have a Supreme Court decision this summer to settle those questions once and for all, and most people, including myself, expect that ACA to be affirmed by the Court. As to the “cost problem” you allude to, I’m not sure specifically what you are addressing. Cost containment is addressed by the ACA in a substantive way, and the cost to administer the program is paid for by offsetting cuts and cost savings, though I will agree in the short-term the price tag will be more than we anticipated. The ACA is certainly complex, but I no one need be confused. Good song, though.

  3. jlp75

    February 28, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Who needs the Supreme Court? Frank has already made a ruling on the constitutionality of ACA. He is smarter than everyone in the country and knows everything. I have yet to find a field that he does not have an expert level of knowledge in. His mental abilities are nothing short of breathtaking. I say we just abolish all three branches of government at the federal and state levels and just let Frank be in charge of everything. His overwhelming brilliance clearly overshadows the rest of us simpletons.

  4. Frank Burns

    February 28, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    JLP,
    Why the venom directed at me? Is it my crime that we disagree? Are you a nattering nabob of negativity or is this an example of what we call the intolerant left? Where’s the beef?

  5. jlp75

    February 28, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Because you constantly spout off about things that you know nothing about. We are all entitled to opinions, however you espouse yours in a manner that we are supposed to just sit back and take as fact. I wasn’t aware that you were a Supreme Court justice. I could be wrong though.

  6. david esmay

    February 28, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    jlp, conservatives like to spout off about personal responsibility, but support it only when other people make choices they agree with– and only when it doesn’t apply to them. Another tactic they love to implement when facts don’t support their rhetoric, is make up data or lie.

  7. Frank Burns

    February 28, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    JLP, I reckon your judgement of what I know or don’t know is of no consequence. I’m not sure what your purpose is in saying that, maybe you think you can cow me into silence. I’ve never made any statement that only my opinions are correct. The process of debating helps both sides to learn. Neither side of the spectrum has all the answers.

  8. jlp75

    February 28, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    So true David. Most of the anger these days seems to eminate from your friends on the right Frank. I would consider my little missive sarcastic satire but hey we are all entitled to our opinions.

  9. Alex

    February 29, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Bullying should not be tolerated on the site ! Just the facts fellas !

  10. jlp75

    February 29, 2012 at 10:56 am

    If Frank would come here with FACTS, I would not have any beef with him. Presenting opinion as fact should annoy us all.

  11. [...] Kevin J. Rogers, JD is the Policy and Public Affairs Director at Action NC, a state-wide community organizing and advocacy organization. He works extensively in the area of health policy implementation and advocates on behalf consumer access and protection. This post originally appeared on Action NC and the Progressive Pulse. [...]

  12. Not Such a Bitter Pill | Health Chatter

    March 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    [...] Kevin J. Rogers, JD is the Policy and Public Affairs Director at Action NC, a state-wide community organizing and advocacy organization. He works extensively in the area of health policy implementation and advocates on behalf consumer access and protection. This post originally appeared on Action NC and the Progressive Pulse. [...]