With the efforts of Senator Ted Cruz and his Tea Party friends to defeat Obamacare, I have been interested in how someone and some group could be so against a law designed to help tens of millions of uninsured people gain access to affordable healthcare insurance. In particular, with Cruz’s state of Texas ranking dead last by having the highest percentage of uninsured as reported by the Commonwealth Fund and per the Dallas Morning News, by the US census, it is ironic and sad that Cruz is on this crusade. When I did a search to see what Texans were saying about this, I found the article in the Dallas paper online. Yet, what I found of interest was the reaction of some of the commenters. The one that stuck with me is “Why should I care if they don’t have insurance. Let them go buy it like I did mine.”
This comment is an example of what several bloggers and I have been talking about the past several months. I call it the “Haves” and the “Have-nots” and have made dozens of references to different subjects related to our poverty problem in the US and our two Americas. In short, people who have cannot fathom why you cannot do what they did until, it hits them as well. As reported in the documentary film “American Winter” people who never believed they would be needing help were seeking shelter from the storm of losing their home and/ or not being able to buy food. Attached is a link to a post I wrote on this film a few months ago. https://musingsofanoldfart.wordpress.com/2013/03/23/american-winter-clearly-defines-that-what-poverty-looks-like/ .
Getting back to the above comment, in my previous position, I have done a lot of consulting work with retail and restaurant clients. In this predominant minimum wage environment, many folks could not afford the healthcare coverage offered. In one extreme case, one of my clients had just under 20% of its employees sign up for healthcare insurance. I have seen another retailer where 20% of its employees were on Medicaid. Minimum wage jobs perpetuate poverty and the reason this industry is hit so hard by the cost of Obamacare, is they have gotten away with as low a cost model as they can. Now, I know of some retailers who get it. They want their employees covered as they learned from their own data, that employees who signed up for benefits tended to stay employed with them longer. So, the productivity and customer service gains exceeded the cost of additional coverage. However, these retailers are in the minority.
But, I digress. This issue of “I have mine, go get yours” is a very unhealthy and cold-hearted view. Per the movie “I AM” which I referenced in my previous post, we are wired to help each other. That is the big punch line. When we do, society benefits and, yes even our economy, as more people are out spending money. This mindset that has infested some where “I have mine, go get yours” is poor form. To illustrate, let me offer a few paraphrased quotes:
– My job is not to worry about the 47%. My job is to worry about people like you (donors). The government will take care of the rest. Mitt Romney
– If you are out of work, go borrow $20,000 from your parents to start a business. Mitt Romney
– Defeating Obamacare is like standing up to Hitler when he invaded France and Poland. Ted Cruz
– Get a job! as sung by Bruce Hornsby in “That’s Just the Way it Is” to illustrate what some said to folks standing in an unemployment line.
– Let them eat cake. Marie Antoinette when told the people in poverty could not afford to make bread.
The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is an imperfect law. It is complex. Yet, it moves the ball forward in a significant way to get people access to affordable health care. Please do not lose sight of that mission. And, for those who air commercials who take liberties with the truth (funded by some very significant “Haves”), for those who say Obamacare is communism (it is not and actually has some very capitalistic features), for those who equate it with Nazism (sometimes the same people saying it is communism, which is a different system – it is neither), and for those who want to defeat it as it is Obama’s signature piece of legislation (that does a disservice to the pawns, in an ugly political game), I would ask that you find some better arguments. I would ask that you help make it better rather trying to waylay it.
People need help in our country. We have a huge poverty problem. We have a great number of folks who are one paycheck away from poverty. A key factor in poverty is the absence of healthcare insurance. According to the Journal of Medicine, 62% of personal bankruptcies are due to the absence of healthcare insurance or low levels of insurance. Let’s move this ball forward and stop holding people hostage.