Robamneycare

Remember that one time, not too long ago, that here in the United States of America some crazy liberal passed a law reforming health care insurance coverage?  Remember how that socialist forced everyone to buy health insurance? Then, to top it off, remember how that left-wing nut used tax-payer money to subsidize health care insurance for the poor?

What was he thinking?  He actually forced American citizens to purchase a product from a private company!

Remember how this guy was Republican Presidential nominee, Mitt Romney?

Yes, if you didn’t already know, Mitt Romney actually passed a mini version of Obamacare during his tenure as Governor of Massachusetts.

Since its passage in 2006, the percentage of uninsured in Massachusetts has dropped from 6% to 1.9%.  But at a cost to tax-payers’ wallets right?  Well, three years after the law took effect, spending from the Health Safety Net Fund, the state-funded insurance program for residents who can’t afford insurance, dropped by 40%.

Probably the craziest part about it is that the program is actually very popular with Massachusetts residents, with only 33% of residents not liking it.

Since “Romneycare” was passed, the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare” was passed by Congress for the entire United States.  What’s interesting is how similar “Obamacare” and “Romneycare” are.  Both impose individual mandates and penalties for those who don’t purchase insurance.  Both provide government funds to help lower-income people purchase insurance.  In fact, now-former GOP Presidential nominee, Rick Santorum stated that, “Romneycare is the basis for Obamacare.”

Mitt once said,

“I… was able to put in place a plan that helped get health insurance premiums down, and gets all of our citizens insured. If we can do that nationally, we help not only Michigan and the auto industry, but the entire nation.”

He also said that Romneycare was “the ultimate conservative plan” because it requires individual responsibility, aka forces everyone to buy insurance.

Strangely, after making those statements, Romney said this:

“Obamacare is unconstitutional and as President I’ll repeal it.”

What exactly is unconstitutional about it?  The same individual mandate that Mitt enforced on the citizens of Massachusetts?  I’m no lawyer, but if the mandate is unconstitutional for the nation, shouldn’t that mean that it’s unconstitutional for all states as well?

So why exactly does Mitt so vehemently dislike Obamacare?  He can’t claim that the mandate is unconstitutional if he passed the same thing in his state.  Perhaps, a poll conducted in Massachusetts has the answer.  The poll finds that among residents:

“68% see former Gov. Mitt Romney’s opposition to the national law as an effort to win votes in his presidential campaign.”

To set the record straight, I like Romneycare.  I also like Obamacare.  I don’t like the idea of the government forcing me to pay for anything.  But the government actually does force us to purchase products from private companies, like car insurance if we drive.  Critics of the mandate argue that it this is different because we can choose to not drive, thus not being forced to buy insurance.

The difference is that people can choose to not drive and therefore do not participate in the drivers insurance market nor affect other drivers.  But everyone participates in the health care market sooner or later, which does affect other patients.

Justice Scalia questions the individual mandate.

Recently, this point was brought up in the Supreme Court hearings.  Justice Anton Scalia questioned this saying:

“Everybody has to buy food sooner or later, so you define the market as food, therefore, everybody is in the market; therefore, you can make people buy broccoli.”

What Justice Scalia and many others fail to recognize is the fact that if you go to the grocery store and tell the cashier that you don’t have any money, but you’re hungry and want some food, they don’t have to serve you.  Whereas, if you go to the ER and tell the doctor that you are sick, they are required by the Emergency Treatment and Labor Act to serve you regardless of your ability to pay.

As a former debt collector, I’ve seen my share of unpaid medical bills due to patients who had no health insurance.  Okay so that’s their problem right?  Wrong.  We all suffer because of poor people who don’t pay for their health care.  WAAAAYYY too many people don’t understand this.  See the formula below for a simple explanation:

Poor, uninsured people receive care

+

They don’t pay

=

Health care providers jack up rates to make up for their losses and everyone else pays more.

There are only two ways we can address the issue- Either don’t do anything and continue letting people receive services and letting prices soar.  Or we can make sure everyone gets insured, which, in turn makes sure providers get paid and prices lower.

All of this is probably moot however.  An ABC/Washington Post poll recently found that half the public thinks the U.S. Supreme Court will rule on the legislation on the basis of the justices’ partisan political views rather than the law.  I would have to agree with that opinion.  And with a 5-4 advantage for GOP judges, Obamacare looks doomed.

What are your thoughts?

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