How to Explain ObamaCare to Someone Upset With Costs
Explaining ObamaCare to the average person who is upset with costs is really hard, but an honest approach sends the right message..
To someone who wants to do research, i’d simply point them at the cost controlling measures and how they are working, the expansion of women’s rights, the expansion of Medicaid, the less than $100 a month most are paying with cost assistance, our cost page, the subsidies page, our facts page, and our summary of every provision in the PPACA. Spend a few hours with those and you’ll start to gasp the moving parts of the law, how they are working, and why they are important from a 3,000 foot view of American Democracy. You’ll also start to spot the sticking points that many supporters of healthcare reform know well.
You’ll get it, but you’ll be left with the same question as Hillary, Bernie, Obama, me, and the rest of us: “How do we boil a 1,000 pages of legislation, 1,000 days of it working, and 100,000 days fighting for reform into an honest talking point?”
This concept comes up, because on one hand, middle-class Americans really are struggling with costs (not a political thing, it is really happening), and on the other hand, due to a recent QA with Hillary Clinton about ObamaCare (as displayed in the following video).CNN Ohio Town Hall 3/13/16: Hillary Clinton asked about ACA Premiums.
As said by the woman in the video:
“Hello, I voted for Obama, but then my health insurance skyrocketed, from $490 a month to $1,081 a month, for a family of 4. I know Obama told us that we’d be paying a little more, but doubling…more than doubling our health insurance costs has not been a “little” more. It has been difficult to come up with that kind of payment every month. I would like to vote Democratic, but it’s cost me a lot of money, and I’m just wondering if Democrats really realize how difficult it’s been on working-class Americans to finance Obamacare.”
NOTE: This message is written from a Democrat to a Democrat, I would phrase it differently if talking to a conservative. Not that I’d change my views, but I’d likely focus on different issues such as how specific tax and regulatory mechanisms worked.
My personal explainer:
Some regions are more expensive than others for coverage, and many can get cost assistance or coverage for the first time due to preexisting conditions, but that aside, there is truly no justification for a family paying $1,000 plus a month, no justification aside the base cost of healthcare and ironing out the kinks in a relativity new law that gets so much right. This is a problem we face as a country, and this is a problem that we can solve with more healthcare reform solutions that build on what the foundation of the ACA.
ObamaCare fixed a lot about the healthcare system, but it didn’t fix everything, partially because of the way government works. So here is how government works, we (we being elected officials, working in tandem with and representing, we the people) can regulate, subsidize, and tax. In order to do that we have to pass laws through, and with the support of, Congress. Republicans in Congress and cooperations (you know, lobbyists, that is real, especially with our friends the Republicans pushing Citizens United) have fought healthcare reform since Johnson and FDR made the last two great updates. Despite opposition, we, under President Obama, finally passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ensuring healthcare for our all classes, not just for you, but for your children and their children.
The ACA fixed preexisting conditions (which if you know someone who has been sick in the past, is a BIG deal), addressed the lack of Medicaid eligibility (in states that didn’t reject Medicaid expansion at least), it fixed about 900 different things actually and that is part of the problem. The ACA is a really long and complex law, and 99% of the provisions are working and no one even talks about them. The ACA did a lot, but the one thing it didn’t do was tell insurers what they could charge, because America operates on (regulated) free-market principles.
But now we get to THE sticking point, what you don’t like about ObamaCare is “the amount of money private insurers are charging you” and “the fact that you can only buy insurance during open enrollment, meaning you have to keep it all year (which protects the insurers and tax payers from people cheating the system, by the way)”. You also don’t like that, at this price, you are asked to buy insurance or pay a fee, and that IS on ObamaCare. But at the end of the day, its not access to healthcare for your family, it is out-of-pocket and premium costs which now create an extra barrier to care. That is not OK.
We know Medicaid expansion and subsidies solve the sticking point for tens of millions, making their costs truly affordable, but for some of the middle class in that right tax bracket with other costs like child care, student loans, and mortgages, the ACA didn’t go far enough. The truth is, “fixing” healthcare, one of America’s biggest industries and one of America’s biggest annual debts, is going to take a village. The ACA fixed a lot of longterm spending issues, but there is more work to be done economically in regards to healthcare, both as a country and as individuals.
If you think the way to solve the new cost crisis is a repeal of access to healthcare and patient rights, vote Republican, if you want to see real change, give the Democrats the support they need. If there is one thing that is for sure, either Hillary or Bernie will be addressing premiums and out-of-pocket costs with fixes, this is the primary planck of the Democratic party in regards to healthcare: fix the ACA and make Obama’s namesake something all Americans can be proud of on every level. The Republicans will address our issues by dismantling assistance programs and related rights, times aren’t easy, and the middle class is struggling, but we can’t fix new problems by going backwards, we fix new problems by going forward. By making progress i.e. being progressive. That doesn’t mean helping our poorest at the expense of the middle class, that means helping all Americans, of all classes, at the expense only of those who stand in the way of America and progress.
My question to you reader: How do you explain to someone struggling with the costs of the ACA that it is worth sticking it out and supporting further reform? How do you show that Democrats don’t just care about the rich and poor, but also about the middle class and small business? Or, if you support Republican solutions, why is that the best solution for those with low incomes or who were sick in the past, and our longterm spending issues with healthcare?