This is the dawn of Obamacare’s second day. From what I read in The Herald this morning, Obamacare seems to be, if not a hit, well received. Despite the rabid frothings from some quarters, it seems people actually like it. So much so that Obamacare’s on-line servers were clobbered with what computer hackers call a Denial Of Service (DOS) attack. In this bit of mischief, hackers overwhelm servers to the point the servers cannot respond and the website goes down. In Obamacare’s case, it wasn’t hackers who crashed the servers, it was American people trying to sign up. Well, well; this seems to scotch the argument Americans so loath Obamacare we are ready to riot in the streets.
To Americans, anything that remotely smells like socialism is anathema and Obamacare, what with its call for government involvement, has that taint. And why shouldn’t we hate socialism? After all, socialism was the warp and woof of the Soviet Union, the Warsaw Pact, Cambodia and is the current ideology of Red China, and we know how those places have worked out.
As we know, the force militating for Obamacare was the steep rise in medical costs over the last umpteen years. Year-by-year, medical insurance policies became ever more expensive to the point of not being affordable for many and something needed to be done. People were carping and complaining, gnashing their teeth and pulling out their hair. But what? Let us look at two things here: The costs of medical care and employer-paid insurance – evils Obamacare is designed to correct.
About the costs. Let’s compare medical care to cars. When my dad died of cancer in 1959, cars were pretty primitive. Fuel injection? Faugh. Cars used carburetors having maybe a dozen parts. Ignition systems were understandable to, and reparable by, kids in middle school. There were no anti-lock brakes. No air bags. No crashworthiness. And most had two-speed automatic transmissions. Mileage? 8.6 for a Ford Thunderbird. Would anyone in his or her right mind expect a car made in 2013 to cost the same as one made in 1959, even when taking inflation into account? Of course not. So it is with medicine.
I’m alive today only because of medical advances. A test undreamed of in 1959 caught my cancer and surgical techniques never contemplated dug it out. Last month I had a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), which is a kind of stroke. In the case of a TIA, the blood clot that’s clogging an artery in the brain isn’t too large and your normal blood pressure unsticks the clot and pushes it out. In 1959, a TIA was the kiss of death for within two weeks you could expect the real thing and end up a basket case or a corpse. Today, I’m on a medication never contemplated in 1959 and will most likely never have a stroke — or if I do, and can get to the hospital in an hour or so, I’ll get a shot of another (new) medication that will clear the stroke and let me go on my way. These medicines and tests have prices that have contributed to the general rise in medical costs.
Employer-paid insurance is, in reality, a form of socialism isn’t it? Yes. Well, it’s chief problems are: 1). The boss can (and too often, does) buy ever-cheaper policies and there isn’t a blessed thing you can do about it. Being a benefit, employer-paid health insurance is considered part of your compensation so when the boss foists a cheap policy on you, it’s really a pay cut. If you’re unionized this probably wouldn’t happen to you, but most of us decided long ago to shoot our unions in the head, so . . . and; 2). You can’t take your employer-paid insurance with you if you quit, get canned or laid off. By having employers in control of your health insurance, you are at the mercy of the boss and locked into that job for the duration. The company has you by the short hairs and both you and the boss know it.
So, then, Obamacare? Next to Medicare For All, it’s the best thing going. And people know it.