Sickness and the government

I am not feeling particularly well. Something with my lungs, the doctors haven’t figured it out, and I don’t know when they will. Maybe they won’t. Maybe it will go away on it’s own. Maybe this will be an ongoing saga of me going to various doctors and doing research on my own until we figure out what’s wrong. Initial tests show nothing.

It’s the beginning of May now, and the next appointment to see the specialist I need to see is at the end of June, but I already had one with him for early July … so I kept that one. The horrors of waiting for appointments in a capitalist system of healthcare. Supply of doctors is kept artificially low by 1) lack of medical college slots and b) prohibitive expense of training. The result: doctor’s wages are very high, and you can’t get in to see the right one when you need to.

And then there’s my government, which seems to be working really hard to make me a pre-existing condition.  Well, since I’m female I already was. Now I have this thing, which may be nothing and may not be, and I’m sure down the line the Republicans in Congress will decide to make unknown pre-existing conditions subject to penalties as well. Because it’s not cost-effective if health insurance actually covers any of the diseases people actually have.

Although, to be fair, everyone hated this bill, insurance companies included. Doctors, nurses, health insurance companies (which have been thriving quite nicely under ACA, thank you very much), many religious communities, patients, constituents, governors, hospitals …. all hated it. So who was the intended audience? Crazy people? (and by crazy people I do not mean the mentally ill, who as far as I know also hated this bill since it cut their coverage for needed services as well).

I think the unintended consequence — one the insurance companies could foresee as well as anyone else — will be a huge push for a single-payer system. Medicare for all. Universal health care. Socialized medicine. All of it. And the insurance companies will be cut right out of the pie, and all because of Republicans in Congress who let greed overcome their common sense.

And maybe they felt backed into a corner: they had to repeal the ACA because they had said they were going to and they had tried so many times before. They spent so much time on their talking points about how evil it was they believed it themselves.

But the reaction of people back home should have been a tell. People are rising up, defending the ACA. People need to have pre-existing conditions covered. People need to have no caps on medical care. People like being able to keep their kids on their health insurance. There are many things people really like about the ACA, despite it’s faults. They want it fixed, not repealed.

They also didn’t want it replaced with a bill that is going to make their healthcare awful. They don’t want it replaced with something that is going to cause more deaths. They don’t want to go into bankruptcy just to pay for their health care.

The Republicans are severely underestimating the anger that is out there. The ACA isn’t perfect. Many people still can’t afford insurance. The premiums on the marketplace are still to high for many people, who fall in a gap between making enough money to afford it and making too much money to qualify for subsidies. But it made life a lot easier for a lot of people. A lot of the things that don’t work in the plan were trade-offs put in to appease Republicans, who then didn’t vote for it. Others were parts that the courts struck down, making the system much clunkier than designed.

What it isn’t, is universal health care. What it doesn’t fix is the problem of having a middle man between you and your health care, an insurance company who needs to make a profit off of denying health care to people who need it.

And the Republicans just took a step in pushing us toward it at a faster rate. Democrats who are looking to move up are talking about moving toward a universal health care/single payer system.  Democrats who are entrenched, who aren’t thinking about moving up the ladder, are resistant to the calls for single-payer — but Democrats who are ambitious have noticed declaring support for single-payer is an applause line.

Good luck with that healthcare bill you just passed and hung around your necks for the next election cycle, Republicans. You’re already afraid of your constituents in town halls — and really, finding people waving red cards at you threatening is beyond cowardly.

Stuck in your own bubble, what will you do when it bursts? Oh, right. You’ll be out of a job.

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