In keeping with my attitude of “I don’t invite Ebola into my house, so why treat the USSA gov any differently?”, I tend to explore its doings only to the depth of the headlines on the Google News page. However, with the current “shutdown” continuing, discussion of it and the reasons behind it have seeped into a lot of usually less-political commentary I regularly peruse. As a result, I’ve encountered a particular line of reasoning—truly, only for very large values of same—for which I cannot contain my ire any longer.
The argument typically goes like this:
Whether you like it or not, Obamacare was made law and has withstood challenges both in Congress and with the Robed Nazgul. So sit down, shut up, and take it.
For political partisans, I honestly expect nothing better than this kind of response. It’s finding this argument (huge eyeroll) put forth by others whom I had come to consider more intellectual that is so disturbing. Perhaps it reveals nothing more than those individuals’ political persuasion; but even so, that isn’t a reason to ease up on thinking about the issues involved. If anything, one should be more critical and probing of the ideas with which one agrees. That’s the best way to find logical faults, inconsistencies, etc.
But that isn’t my point. What I find utterly baffling in this situation is how these otherwise intellectually engaged writers are able to overlook how fundamentally different this piece of legislative excrement is. It mandates that US citizens purchase a product that they may not want, need, and/or may not be able to afford. (The fact that it doesn’t provide the services it’s claimed to is standard operating procedure for federal law.) This huge insinuation of the federal government directly into each American’s life is apparently not an issue at all ... perhaps because the goal is so laudable?
Well, I take issue with that too. As I have written before (and I’d link to it if the gorram search function here worked—sigh), health insurance ≠ health care. A moment’s reflection on what the concept of “insuring” health means should be sufficient to highlight how risible it is. It’s a waste of money to “insure” against what is a fact of living. Health insurance is not necessary to get health care. The only party that is served by its insertion in the healthcare process is the insurance sector—and it’s precisely that sector that has so bloated healthcare costs in this country.
Anyone who wants to try to persuade me that Obamacare—or any other legislation of its ilk—can actually improve the utterly pathetic state of getting medical care in this country needs to take his argument up a few levels. At a minimum, I want to know specifically how and why a third-party-payer structure is superior at delivering actual care. Also, I want evidence that it reduces costs without decreasing quality and quantity of services rendered. Most important: justify its provision mandating that the insurance policy contains certain kinds of coverage that not all individuals need (seriously, I need maternity coverage like I need more mosquitos in my life) for every person—even when said person is barely earning enough money to cover his current obligations.
How does it benefit a healthy adult to pay for health insurance instead of rent, or nutritious food, for example? The bit of investigating I’ve done on proposed health insurance costs for me would put me precisely in that position. I don’t have disposable income to cover my estimated insurance costs. Therefore, the onus is on proponents of this kind of law to convince me that it’s in my best interest to divert money from such luxuries as feeding, clothing, and sheltering myself and my children to a service of dubious quality that I do not need nor want.
With the issues thus laid bare, anyone who wants to try—and despite the semi-ranting nature of this piece, I am serious: I will give my full attention and consideration to a rebuttal that addresses my concerns detailed above—had better not even start down the “It’s the law!” path. At this point, all that’s missing from those statements is the “Neener, neener, you can suck it!” type stuff kids used to tack on. It’s an extremely weak, morally stunted, and intellectually indefensible argument; if it’s in your repertoire, you can sit down and shut the fuck up right now.
And if this really is indicative of the level of moral development at which American adults max out, we are so hosed that it isn’t even funny.