Despite the monumental decision on the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, by the Supreme Court in a decision drafted by the uber conservative Republican Chief Justice, the media have again allowed the GOP to take the public into Wonderland as to what it means. Up is still down, right is still left and the media loves the circus that all comes with the Looking Glass.
The initial GOP shock (not only that Obamacare is deemed constitutional and by one of their own) has given way to screams about how this PROVES that Obama is addicted to taxing the American people. HUH! Taxes have NEVER been as low for most Americans as under Obama and the middle class have never seen so many TAX CUTS as under Obama yet the circus that is the media is still taking its cue from the clowns. Now, it is no longer that Obama stole “our freedom” and did something “clearly unconstitutional” (cue the he’s not even a legitimate President since some clown says he was born in Kenya–completely made up out of racist nowhere–I mean didn’t he win both the popular and electoral college vote and didn’t need a coup from the Supreme Court to seat him, see Bush, George W. 2000). It is now, Obamacare is a TAX and Chief Justice Roberts told us so.
Except he didn’t!
In fact the decision specifically states that the individual mandate to have health insurance or pay a fee is NOT A TAX. If it were a tax, by law, the Supreme Court could not have heard this case or made any decision because challenges to laws that are taxes must wait two years to be heard by any Federal Court. Chief Justice Roberts (R-UBERCONSERVATIVE) declares clearly that it is NOT a Tax. And that part of the decision wasn’t a controversy as it wasn’t split 5-4 but rather had everyone of the Justices on board. BUT NOW IT IS A TAX per Drudge, Rush, Fox–aka the brain dream team! And the media loves it since right now the Presidential race is between a brilliant, somewhat controversial, bold and likable man who’s biggest downside is appearing cool and diffident and not fixing an economy with a blink of an eye using what would normally require superpowers v. the most colorless man in America who has no ideas whatsoever, speaks in platitudinous pablum and was a corporate raider and job outsourcer. What kind of race is that? So now it is about Obama the tax-aholic. Except it isn’t true–even the craziest of conservative Judges says it isn’t a tax.
So, if it isn’t a tax what is it and why then did Chief Justice Roberts say the mandate is constitutional under the “tax power” of Congress?
First, what it is and is not. For the VAST majority of Americans who have health insurance (like 99%), this provision has NO EFFECT, NO IMPACT, NOTHING! Yet, the GOP and corporate media insist that we all need to be up in arms about OUR being “taxed” or a fee imposed on us. BUT IT IS NOT. There is NOTHING for those of us who have health insurance to do–we live our lives, we move forward, we keep our health care, our taxes actually are likely to go down (State and Local) since we no longer will have to pay the ridiculously (and artificially) high costs of emergency room treatment from those who CHOOSE or CAN’T get health insurance since they now will either have it or will pay a fee to help fund the emergency room care. If a person can’t afford it, then they will have to go through Medicaid or other programs to get covered. If they can but choose not to they pay a fine. It just happens that that fine (fee) will impact only THAT SMALL GROUP and NO ONE ELSE, i.e. 99% of us will see no fine, fee or otherwise.
Second, for that small group, the fine or fee can be avoided by buying health insurance (lower cost now through regulation and governmental assistance if you are poor and can’t afford). What you can’t do anymore is simply get free medical treatments and falsely high costs paid for by the taxpayers and amounting to rape of our pocketbooks due to the charges that hospitals charge knowing that insurers only pay a small portion of the bill. By this I mean, a hospital contracts with an insurer that the insurer pays 20% of the charge and then the hospital wipes away the rest. So $1000 nets the hospital $200 and they eat the rest IF the patient is insured (or they try to grab some part of the $800 from the patient if the patient’s health insurance stinks–and who’s doesn’t). But, if an uninsured person goes to the ER, they get the $1000 charge and then the hospital says it never gets any money and then seeks reimbursement of the full $1000 from the government and WE THEN PAY IT. All because the charges are inflated since insurance companies will only contract to pay a portion of the false, unrelated to reality medical bill.
So it is not a tax, nor is anyone forced to buy insurance. Someone can prefer to pay the SMALL fee and it is added to their tax bill as a way to collect it without adding another layer of governmental bureaucracy. THIS IS NOT A TAX.
Is it a good idea. Sure–come up with a better solution. Oh wait, we can–its Medicare for All. But, that is not a possible political solution in today’s world. So, Obamacare it is. No tax, no taking away of freedom. Only fundamental fairness and a minimal price.
While I am at it, let me address the benefits of Obamacare–benefits that because of the way the bill was passed haven’t kicked in yet. No wonder people don’ like the change–cuz they haven’t seen it yet. Basically, in addition to coverage that is portable, no pre-existing coverage denials and parents can insure kids until 26, what we HAVEN’T SEEN yet are states must offer health exchanges, so you can go on and pick your insurance EVEN when it is offered by your employer. MORE CHOICE, MORE OPTIONS, LOWER COSTS (its called capitalism). And the Health Insurers now MUST put 80% of the money they make into lowering costs and providing benefits and not to their overhead and profit. Government will regulate–but not regulate the consumer, nor the health care practitioner, e.g. Doctor or hospital, but regulate THE INSURANCE COMPANIES. Yes, someone lost their freedom here–the insurance companies which operated their own “death panels” and regulation of consumers from cubicles where salaries and bonuses relate to saying “no.”
So, Obamacare is not an attack on our (the American people) liberty or wallets. It is a carefully, yet imperfect, way to offer better medical choices at lower costs to all of us by better regulation OF INSURANCE COMPANIES and forcing them to give us all more options and choices. What’s not to like?