Kit Q&A: Obamacare

On some Saturdays I respond to reader questions on the blog.

Q: What do you think about the Affordable Care Act?

A: To almost everyone’s surprise, the Supreme Court did not strike down the entirety of the affordable care act. You can visit Healthcare.gov to get more information than you can absorb about ‘Obamacare.’ So what do I think?

A piggy bank and stethoscope listening to a stack of money

Photo: 401K 2012 / Flickr

I think the United States is backwards compared to the rest of the world, when it comes to health care. We have more uninsured people than any other ‘advanced’ country in the world. I think the ACA is a step in the right direction — opening up healthcare to the uninsured is a big deal; there are people for whom it literally makes the difference between life and death. Offering key health care services to women — contraception and screenings for diseases, help with domestic violence — are incredibly value services often lacking, and this is an important way to roll back the attacks on poor women’s reproductive health options (the so-called War on Women).

But for all the good this law does, I don’t think it’s nearly enough and it doesn’t fix our real problems. It continues to reinforce the insurance company/pharmaceutical industry/corporate hospital industrial complex, funneling money into groups whose first priority is the shareholder’s bottom line and not the well being and health of their patients. A peek at the health insurance selector shows a complicated morass of options. Most of them involve paying high monthly costs and then still having to meet a high deductible before the insurance starts covering anything. These options are great if you have a catastrophic emergency, but still very difficult for people who are “making a living” but still struggle to meet all their expenses. Today fewer jobs than ever provide insurance and more people than ever (including myself) are pushed into contract work where they have few protections. While the US government spends billions of our tax dollars bailing out big corporations and bombing the middle east with drones, we continue to put the burden of paying for medical care on the populace.

You can ask Kit questions through blog comments, on Twitter, or via the contact info on the top of this page.

 

Comment (1)

  1. Molly wrote:

    For what it’s worth, the Netherlands (where I live) has a very similar system to what Obamacare brings. I purchase my health insurance from a private insurance company and everyone who is a resident is required, by law, to have insurance. From what I have experienced and what the evidence says, the outcomes are very good. The Netherlands has better health outcomes than the US.

    I pay 104 euros per month for a plan which includes full perscription coverage and vision. There is no dental. (Prices for dental were regulated by the gov’t, now they aren’t, but it looks like they may go back. It’s complicated.) I’m also fully covered should anything happen to me if I travel outside the EU.

    That being said, there is much more help here for the poor and castotrophic medical injuries are payed for by a seperate gov’t system, similiar to SSI in the US.

    Saturday, August 18, 2012 at 4:00 pm #