Roots of opposition to the health care law

When I speak about the federal health law – as I was doing last weekend – after I talk about all the benefits like kids staying on their parents plans until age 26, cheaper drugs for seniors, reining in insurance company abuses and profits , small business tax credits, and so on someone always asks this question:  “Who could be opposed to all that?”

The truth is, people aren’t opposed to all these changes.  Poll after poll has found support for everything I’ve listed.  The one provision some people don’t like is the individual responsibility requirement that people who can afford coverage but don’t get it through their job need to buy it.  But people brighten up when I remind them that the health law requires members of Congress to buy coverage through the new health law too.

Given this, why this deep opposition among some?   Truth is, it’s more about opposing the politics of the President than anything else.  The details of the health law don’t matter to these hard-core opponents.  The law has simply become a proxy for their opposition to any ideas or changes proposed by the other party.

Drew Altman, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation president, has a great commentary this week looking at this issue:  “The ACA and Fluoridation: The Power of Political Symbols.”    It’s a  comparison of how the health law opposition mimics the years of political symbolism resulting from one of the great public health triumphs of the 20th century.



  1. Frank Burns

    March 15, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Cost is a big problem. Obama told us that the cost for administering the program would be $800 million over 10 years. Can we actually afford this plan? The latest from the CBO is $1.7 Trillion. All of the small print in that law also bothers me, who knows what other alligators are out there that will raise costs on business which gets passed on to consumers. It also bothers me that all of these exemptions were given to unions, what’s with that? Why should some states get a better deal in terms of relief from costs than others? The whole thing stinks! The other problem I have with it that it doesn’t address some of the reasons for cost increase for health care like lawyers suing for every hanging toenail!

  2. Adam Searing

    March 15, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Frank – I’m shocked you are opposed to “problems you can’t actually name, but are sure are there” and “lawyers suing” but not so shocked you aren’t opposed to all the benefits I mentioned. Could you make some more stuff up and prove my point even further?

  3. Frank Burns

    March 15, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    Adam, I hope that I didn’t hurt your feelings but you were asking what are the roots of opposition to Obamacare and I tried to list a few. Do you want to hear why people are opposed or not? One correction, Obama estimated the cost to be $800 billion. Now the CBO says it will cost $1.7 trillion. I also see an estimate from the CBO, that they estimate 20 million people will lose coverage due to the Obamacare. http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/216223-cbo-millions-of-americans-could-lose-their-employer-coverage

  4. Adam Searing

    March 15, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Thanks Frank – you are a model of exactly what I’m talking about. In fact, that’s the only reason I’m responding to you because you are proving my point – so keep at it, by all means!

    So readers, as you can see, It doesn’t matter what I say. I could say “the moon is about 238,000 miles from the earth” and Frank would be commenting that the moon is really made of green cheese and is only about 10 miles away. See how Frank’s ideological opposition to anything proposed by other than right-wing GOPers makes him avoid the real questions and delve into the latest distortions he can find. He’s opposed because Fox tells him to be opposed, not because he’s opposed to all the actual benefits and actual provisions in the law.

  5. SurferJoe

    March 15, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Adam, Frank mentioned several issues. You ignored that & attacked him. What about the cost?

  6. Frank Burns

    March 16, 2012 at 6:59 am

    Adam would rather live in the clouds, in never never land and assume everything is just great. If anyone dares to disagree, they are heretics and watch fox news. We should all just shut up and just all be nice and just show Obama all the love we can.

  7. Adam Searing

    March 16, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Frank doesn’t mention issues – he just makes stuff up. It would be like if I saw something that Frank had written criticizing the health law and said, “The latest is that the health law will actually lower everyone’s health premiums to $10 a month and cut in half our health care costs in this country within five years.” Now who could be opposed to that? Only Frank, who now needs to spend his time trying to refute my statement. If you want to argue about the actual elements of the health law, fine, but don’t just sit there and lie and expect anyone to respond. It isn’t worth it.

  8. Jeff S

    March 16, 2012 at 11:08 am

    I agree that the plan needs to go, but for completely different reasons than most Republican detractors.

    Insurance is the cause of the problem, not the solution. It masks the true costs of care, encourages unnecessary spending by some, and often denies coverage in a time of need. We should really stop calling the system “health care”, as profit, not wellness is the primary driver. Unfortunately, discussions of wellness threaten corporate profits all across the corporate world.

    Just look at recent legislation:
    – approval of tomato paste as a vegetable so we can continue to serve frozen pizza to our kids at school
    – pumping of unnamed chemicals into the ground to pollute our drinking water (in the name of industry and “energy independence”
    – slashing of environmental study, monitoring and regulation across the country
    – government policies to encourage sprawl and more time spent in cars
    – a FDA who cannot shut down a meat processing plant for any reason
    – foods with legally undisclosed ingredients

    The list goes on and on. Try to address any one of these and you have multiple industries immediately spending millions to stop you — not to mention a large segment of white america who seems intent on fighting for their right to stay uneducated, uninformed and unhealthy as long as it allows the to maintain their resentment of a largely brown-skin “them”.

  9. Alfred C Stokes

    March 16, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    I’m not here to argue, but I happen to have had 32 years experience in hospital financial management. I can tell you from experience the single most expensive aspect of our current healthcare system is not having a single-payer reimbursement system. The following are the major problems, all largely attributable to private insurance:

    1) The cost of administering multiple and often complex insurance plans requires an abundance of trained, well-paid staff on behalf of both the insurance companies and healthcare accounting departments. Guess who foots the bill.

    2) The number and complexity of the various plans often results in denial of payment or payment delay. Guess who foots the bill.

    3) The high rate of unpaid bills and write-offs due to indigent and/or uninsured patients (~18%) causes procedure rates to be higher than otherwise. Guess who foots this bill.

    Medicare is currently the most cost effective model for the reason it is a single payer plan with one set of rates per diagnosis. It is much simpler and more cost effective to administer and to receive timely reimbursment from one entity.

    Face the facts…it’s time we simplifiied our healthcare system by having a single-payer with one set of rules nationwide and with everyone covered. As an example, Medicare consistently receives high marks among its insured. It has been well-documented that other countrys’ single-payer plans consistently receive better ratings and outcomes than U.S. citizens under our current model. No country has ever dropped a single-payer plan. For those concerned about receiving immediate and more personalized attention, supplemental coverage could still be purchased by those who desire it and can afford it.

  10. John Clark

    March 19, 2012 at 9:04 pm

    Oh, my….lot’s to go around on the ACA…. But in the end the only real solution is a single-payer, Medicare for all system.

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