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health care
You really think the government is worse than insurance companies?
(Image courtesy of CrazyColtrane)

Obamacare sucks.  But it’s not for the reasons you think.

Us lefties have been screaming “socialized medicine!” for as long as I can remember. Literally. And folks on the right continue to insist that “the market is better!” and “If we have socialized medicine, care will be rationed!”

You know what, righties? Care is already rationed.  It’s just that right now, it’s rationed based on what insurance companies–not doctors–think is reasonable treatment for you, and how much money you can spend.  So if you think having your care rationed by some bureaucrat at an insurance company whose goal under a capitalist system is profit–this is not a value judgement on my part; that’s what the goal of all companies is under capitalism–then you should be perfectly happy.  If you trust a government bureaucrat who, although often incompetent and slow is theoretically working for you and not to make more profits, then you should be screaming “socialized medicine!” (or “Medicare for all!”) just like us looney lefties.

And this is why Obamacare sucks.  NOT because it’s a giant government takeover of the healthcare system.  God, I wish that was the case.  No, it’s because it puts profit-seeking insurance companies between you and your health care.  And the incentive for profit-seeking insurance companies is to take in as much of your money in premiums as they can, and pay out as little as possible (i.e., limit the amount of health care you receive to the absolute bare minimum).  Again:  This is not a value judgement.  This is simply how companies work under a capitalist system.  The problem here is obvious:  Having profit-seeking companies between you and your health care is obviously a Bad Thing.

Now, Tea Partiers want you to believe that having the government between you and your health care is worse.  But I believe that, while it can be bloated and inefficient and often uncaring, the government is worthy of trust more than some mercenary insurance company.  At least it’s not the governments job to take as much of your money as possible; that is the job of businesses, and insurance companies are businesses.

Here’s just one example of what I mean:

I have chronic neck pain. I’m in pain basically all the time. Working with a pain care specialist, I have managed to reduce the level of pain.  One of the things that has helped enormously is regular chiropractic visits.  However, my insurance company has a “hard limit” of 10 visits per year to the chiropractor.  Ten.  Per year.  I need to see him about once a week.  So the insurance only pays for 20% of the visits I need, and even when they “pay”, my “co-pay” is actually $60 of the total $90 charge for the visit.  Doing the math, that means that the insurance pays for 7% of the health care that my doctor has said is critical, and that has been shown to be effective.  7%.

Don’t tell me that isn’t rationing care, you right-wing jerks; the awesome free-market that you love so much is paying for seven fucking percent of the care I need.  And if I don’t get that care, I’m in agonizing fucking pain.

So you’re right in a way: Obamacare sucks.  But the reason it sucks is because it puts a for-profit industry whose goal is to provide me with as little care as possible in between me and my health care.  And that does indeed suck.

Medicare for all.  The sooner the better; my neck really hurts.