A few people have emailed/messaged me based on a facebook post I wrote today concerning my support of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act asking if I’d expand on it. Since I’m eating lunch and putting off doing some other writing, anyway, I figured I’d go ahead and do it.
Before I begin, I’d like you to know that I’m not going to be giving you any facts, quoting statistics, etc; I know you are all perfectly capable of googling all of that stuff, so I’m not going to waste my time with it. Also, I feel like quoting facts and/or presenting rational, logical arguments based on those facts has become increasingly useless in the debate of political issues, so I’ve decided that I’m purely going to write my opinion based on my experiences. So if you hate that, here’s a bucket of kittens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UfWezxCQ5M …Now go away.
For the rest of you, here’s where I’m coming from:
As some of my friends reading this probably know, I’ve been a super pro-Capitalism fiscal conservative for a long time. In a lot of ways, I still am. I’ve always believed heavily in personal responsibility and accountability. When the housing market collapsed, there were a ton of people I really didn’t feel too bad for. Especially that guy I met in 2005 who had just bought a house off his RED ROBIN SALARY(!!!). I now feel that there were plenty of people who got taken for a ride during the whole housing bubble, but I still don’t feel bad for the jerks like Red Robin Guy who should have known a $250/month adjustable rate mortgage was too good to be true and then walked away when the shit hit the fan. I’ve never gone on unemployment because I’ve always believed that it should be completely reserved for people who ABSOLUTELY need it, to the point where I once worked for a man I consider to be a quack chiropractor (yes, I did look into his qualifications…somehow he’s licensed…). And I’ve always, ALWAYS had health insurance. The day I couldn’t be on my parents’ plan anymore, I plunked myself down in front of my computer, went to ehealthinsurance.com and got myself the best plan I could afford, which I believe was called the HealthNet Oh-My-God-This-is-Useless-Unless-My-Internal-Organs-Spontaneously-Combust-oh-Wait-No-That’s-Not-Covered Plan. Think of Lisa’s braces sans dental plan.
When I spoke to my uninsured friends, I could not believe that they’d so blatantly blow off something so important. I mean, my craptastic emergency plan WAS only $60/month or something, and something told me they could spare that, as we all sat discussing this at a BAR WHERE WE WERE PAYING TO DRINK. And, I was right, part of the time. I did have friends who, like Red Robin Guy, were being straight up irresponsible.
But I’d never had a lapse in coverage. I have had a preexisting condition most of my life, but when you’re continuously covered and you change to a different plan, somehow you skirt the whole ‘rejection’ bit most of the time. So none of the arguments against the insurance companies affected me; I figured, as a big proponent of Laissez-Faire capitalism, that making responsible, informed decisions kept me safe. I didn’t pay attention to how much the insurance lobbies were investing in making sure they didn’t have to cover people with preexisting conditions, maximizing profits, etc. because, to be honest, it didn’t really affect me. I was the insurance company poster child.
That is, until I booked a job for a year-and-a-half in the Netherlands. When I got there, I had to get Dutch health insurance, as it’s mandated BUT PRIVATIZED. I still had to go through and apply for plans, just like I did here. The only difference is that they can’t reject you based on preexisting conditions. And holy crap, the whole thing was easy. Getting in to see the doctor, emergency services, diagnostics were all cheap and/or free and FAST! Anyway, so since I was insured by a private company, I cancelled my American plan. When I returned to the USA! USA! USA!, I once again immediately got online and applied for a plan.
…and I got rejected.
Oh, ok. Um, I’ll just look for more expensive plans. I can tighten my belt a little.
I was rejected by every company, every plan, every price. Nobody would take me. And without telling you too much about my life, you should know that my preexisting condition is about as common and severe as seasonal allergies.
What? I called an insurance broker for help (see how responsible I was being, guys?!). She told me that I wasn’t approved because of my preexisting condition THAT A CAJILLION PEOPLE HAVE and “a lapse in coverage”. You see, even though my Dutch insurance was PRIVATE, you know, from a PRIVATE COMPANY, the good ol’ ego-centric U.S. of A. just considers THE COUNTRY OF EUROPE to have “Universal Health Care”, and they don’t consider that coverage.
As I had an audible heart attack-stroke over the phone, the very nice insurance broker informed me that because I was in CA, I was eligible for something called the PCIP. It’s a plan as a result of a 2-year bridge act to basically be the Affordable Care Act in California until it takes place on a federal level in 2014. Schwarzenegger signed it into action, so lay off the man (P.S. my spell check completely accepts Schwarzenegger as a legit word). The requirements are a 6-month lapse in coverage and a preexisting condition. So I was immediately eligible! I didn’t have to wait! And my available plan was $30 cheaper than the original private plan I was trying to get. Suck on that, EVERY COMPANY I TRIED TO APPLY TO.
So the Affordable Care Act won me over. The End.
But wait, hadn’t I been Little Miss Capitalism and Personal Accountability?
I’d been a responsible capitalist. I’d done everything right; I embraced the private sector and saw the public sector as my enemy, to the point that I was willing to pay hundreds of dollars more for the original plan I applied for just to avoid leaning on Uncle Sam. But the private sector, my BFF, locked me out. Ugh, 7th grade all over again.
Oh my god, am I a Socialist?!?!?!?!?!
I started to think. It seems like every time I watch the news, people who back the Affordable Care Act are just talking about how good it is, rather than shutting down the people calling it a Socialist agenda. So is it a Socialist agenda?
To the Econ Bookmobile!
Upon realizing I had no such thing, I went back through my old Econ books. And I found the tenets of Capitalism that are necessary for it to exist and to function, and I noticed that in the case of our health insurance industry, we are missing quite a few, but I’m just going to get into Consumer Sovereignty and Laissez-Faire because I told you I’m not going to quote stuff. Consumer Sovereignty is basically the idea that you can buy something or take your money elsewhere for the same good or service. Welp, that’s obviously not happening here. And Laissez-Faire is generally the idea that we need to leave the market to its own devices and the market will parse it all out. The government should only regulate when either a) Warren G. is present, or b) to prevent coercion or theft. Considering that the market is supposed to be composed of sellers AND buyers, and in the case of the insurance industry, we pretty much only have one side of the equation, I’d say, yes, this is a PRIME example of a time when the government should come in to regulate (see you all at the East Side Motel). Plus, coercion? Theft? Bitch, please. They’ve been bribing lawmakers to fix it so they can steal from us for a loooong time.
And here’s the extra kick-in-the-face: this affront the health insurance industry is waging is hitting Capitalism right in its heart: Entrepreneurs. The whole reason I’ve been taking care of my own health insurance all this time is that I’m an independent contractor. And so are a lot of my other friends. We’re writers, actors, web designers, tutors, editors, consultants, etc.—y’know, like Mark Zuckerberg was a few years ago WHEN HE WAS ON HIS COLLEGE HEALTHCARE PLAN. But when insurance companies reject us and we get into accidents and therefore, ridiculous amounts of debt, we can’t be entrepreneurs, and we can’t make this country awesome for the future (you know, how we’ve done in the past?).
So what I’m trying to say is, yes, I am still Little Miss Capitalism, so HA! :) And yes, a good Capitalist can support the Affordable Care Act, because the other option is—holy shit—Socialism. Miiiiiind fuuuuuuck.
Therefore, good Capitalists can also support government intervention!!!!, and you can’t call me a lazy actor/writer who should just get a job in the comments because I already told you I tried to be responsible. So there.