On the failures of Obamacare

October 30, 2013 | By | 2 Replies More

I’m reading a lot about the recent problems with Obamacare. For everyone complaining about this new program, however, I would ask “You say Obamacare is bad, but compared to what?”

I’m on COBRA, having left a job a few months ago. I shopped around on the open market PRE-Obamacare. The prices were already high, even for high-deductible coverage. My wife, who walks briskly every day and who is in very good health was deemed uninsurable because of four separate reasons, all of which were total bullshit (one was that she broke her ankle last year, and it had substantially healed by the time we applied for coverage). The for-profit insurance companies have been out there cherry-picking and leaving families in desperate straights. I know of one family that has been paying almost $40,000/ year because two children are fighting depression and the husband has some physical injuries (though he is working). This is all PRE-Obamacare. For all of those people who want to blame Obamacare I would like to remind them that things were terrible before Obamacare. Coverage was shrinking and prices sky-rocketing BEFORE Obamacare.

Not that I’m a big fan of Obamacare–we need Medicare for all–some reasonable level of care for all Americans, combined with many of the strategies offered by “Bitter Pill,” the blockbuster Time Magazine article published a few months ago. We were lucky to get anything at all accomplished in Congress given the abject corruption. There are many aspects of the so-called health care system that need immense rehab, and Congress is not up to the task. Half of Congress wants to destroy Obamacare and replace it with “Fend for yourself, and good luck not getting fleeced by huge profit-driven companies, including all of those huge “non-profit” hospitals who are gobbling up your favorite doctor’s medical practices.”

I fear for many people out there. Too bad ordinary folks can’t afford lobbyists. If they did, we could bring some sanity to the prices charged by many providers and Big Pharma. Finally, as Dylan Ratigan has written, we also need to reconceptualize health care as “Help me, my family and friends live long and prosper” instead of “Don’t let me or anyone I know die.” We need to have courage to face our deaths with dignity in order to reset our priorities in a meaningful way, but there is no sign that this is likely.


Category: Health Care Reform

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (2)

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  1. Fee Berry says:

    I’m always amazed by the reaction of Americans to the NHS. They seem to read the occasional horror stories of sub-standard care and assume that the whole system is awful. It isn’t. Many, many people get a wonderful standard of care from the NHS, and they don’t have to bankrupt themselves to do it. Access is universal and not dependent on income or arranging cover or pre-existing conditions. It could be improved, of course. But the US is spending FAR MORE per person on health care, and not covering millions for things regarded as routine here.

    It seems ridiculous that your country spends more than the rest of the world combined on the military machine, and still can’t look after its own people’s health. For a so-called Christian country, it has very skewed priorities.

  2. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    I run into people all the time who recite Fox propaganda and pretend they are being harmed by the ACA.
    One complained about how the ACA was going to force him to lay off his employees so his business could afford the mandated coverage, and expected me to believe a teenager, resplendent in his fast food restaurant uniform while sweeping was the proprietor of a business and employed 50 or more workers. Beyond bizarre.
    Today, I somehow found myself in a conversation with a true winger, who referred to Rush Limbaugh as a genius and a great American. Claimed his insurance was being canceled because of Obamacare, yet I had reason to believe he had no insurance at all to be canceled.

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