This post has been rattling around in my head for days, keeping me up at night. It took a Canadian to give me the courage to finally put it all in writing.
One year of debate. Over 200 of their amendments added to the bill. 1,003 changes overall. And yet the GOP still cries that this bill was “shoved down their throats” or “pushed through too quickly”. Shouts of “You Lie!” and “Baby Killer” during speeches. 10 states spent tax-payer money in preparation of suing the government before the bill passed into law even though almost all Constitutional lawyers have said those lawsuits will fail.
Like it or not, this is how our government works, and for 8 years half of the country sat, feeling as hopeless as you do now, watching our government get bigger and bigger while we felt our civil liberties were whittled away. I understand where you are coming from, I really do. But grow up already. The pendulum swings back and forth, so the GOP will get its chance to go back to eroding basic liberties, making the rich richer and messing with the economy again in the future.
Yes, I am liberal; an independent liberal. I vote on issues and platforms, not party…shocking, I know. I research, I think, I question. And I believe my grandfather, a lifetime politician and proud member of the GOP, would be ashamed of what is said and done in the name of his party today.
No, I am not a church-goer. But, I was raised in a conservative, politically-active, church-going family so I have been on both sides of the aisle. I lived in great neighborhoods, attended fantastic public schools, and never had a need go unmet. As far as I know, my parents never lived in abject fear that a slip, accident or unwelcome diagnosis would derail their children’s future.
As an adult I now realize that I was born armed to the teeth with privilege. Wealth, even moderate wealth, brings privilege in the US. Yes, my parents and grandparents and great-grandparents worked very, very hard to provide the next generation with a boost up the ladder of life. Not everyone starts out on the same rung and no matter how hard they work they might not ever reach a comfortable lifestyle. And for all of you shaking your fists and yelling “I pulled myself up by my bootstraps!” I shake and yell back “bullshit! Someone, somewhere gave you a boost along the way”. I am willing to give up a tiny little bit of my privilege to give someone else a boost.
And for all the name calling being thrown around: “Socialism”, “Communism”, “Totalitarian Regime” – I think people need to get out their dictionaries and return to civics class.
We are a long, long way from joining the rest of the industrialized world with universal health care. And if you look at the law itself, and not listen to all the talking heads, you will realize that this law does little to healthcare itself and is aimed mostly at regulating the insurance industry. NOTHING in this law as far as I can tell (other then the abortion language, but that’s a whole other post) specifically directs what a doctor can and cannot do. Don’t worry – insurance companies already do that for you. It doesn’t say who you can see or what for.
What it does is make it accessible and affordable for everyone to have health insurance so that those of us with coverage already will pay less for those who don’t. Because in case you didn’t know it, every hospital has a huge budget set aside for “uncompensated care” and those who have insurance or can afford to pay out of pocket are the ones who feed that budget. More insured = less uncompensated care *should*= less cost for all.
And if you don’t want to opt in? Fine, pay you share into the system and then do your own thing (just like we all do for education).
This law is not perfect. It’s not complete. But it’s a step in the right direction. Sure, I would love it if we lived in a world where “helping each other out when things go wrong because we’re human and we’re all in this together” was the norm. But we don’t so our government is giving us a collective shove in that direction. We live in a big, scary world where one second you’re a young, healthy person in an aerobics class and the next you are not. But now, there is hope that if you survive a crazy incident you won’t be financially ruined as well.