It has been more than 3 years since Obamacare was passed through Congress & signed into law. It’s been more than a year since the Supreme Court upheld it as valid. So why are Americans still upset over Obamacare & why does that anger seem to be growing now more than ever?
To explain the situation, I’m going to tell you a story:
Imagine, for the sake of argument, that you are a 25 year old, single male living in a big city. You live in a nice apartment with a great view, you workout 5 days a week, you eat well, & you live well. Now imagine you’ve just got a big promotion at work and with it a big pay raise. With this new pay increase you decide the time has come to buy a brand new car. What kind of car should you buy? After some careful thought you come up with a list of needs your new car should fulfill. First, it should look really cool; you’re young & single and a flashy new car might just help you impress the ladies as well as your coworkers. Part of what makes a car flashy and sexy is it being fast; your new car needs to be fast and powerful. Since you’re single you don’t really care about things like gas mileage, so the more horsepower, the better. Next, it needs to be somewhat small and sporty; you live in the big city so you don’t want a big vehicle, plus you have no kids to tote around so a two seater is perfect. The next thing it needs is an awesome sound system. Nothing is better than cruising through the city while blasting your favorite music through a top of the line sound system. Lastly, it needs to be relatively inexpensive, under $40K would be best; you got a raise but you’re not rich. So now that you have identified your dream sports car, you’re off to the dealership to find it.
You arrive at the first car dealership excited to find your new car, but the excitement quickly fades when you arrive and find nothing but a sea of crossover SUVs. Not a single sports car to be found. So you jump back on the road and head to the next dealership, but you get there, it’s the same thing, not a single sports car. So you head off to another dealership only to find the same story. It’s the same at every dealership you visit, no one is selling anything but crossover SUVs.
Finally in desperation you ask a sales woman what happened to all the sports cars? She tells you that they are no longer allowed to sell sports cars because a law was passed that deemed all sports cars to be “substandard” because they do not meet the needs of the consumer. “But this crossover SUV is great”, she says. “You’ll love it. It has everything you need and nothing you don’t. It’s nice, big, and able to seat up to 8 people. It has a lot of cargo space for all your groceries, luggage, soccer gear, toys for the kids, and anything else you need on those long trips. It’s extremely safe with dual front airbags and side impact airbags. It has all wheel drive and automatic traction control. It has multiple climate control zones for all your passengers. It has a roof rack, under the seat storage and DVD player in the back for the kids. It has 150 horsepower, 4 cylinder engine that gets 35 miles per gallon, and for added safety, it’s electronically limited to 85 miles per hour. It has everything you need and at only $55,000, it’s a great bargain.”
You try to tell her that you don’t need any of that. You’re a single man with no kids so you don’t want a big vehicle with seating for 8 and multiple climate control zones. You live in the city, so you don’t need all wheel drive with traction control and a DVD player. You don’t have toys or soccer gear so you don’t care about cargo space. You’re a young, eligible bachelor and you want a sleek, fast, sexy car to impress people; not an ugly behemoth that plods around the city like a wounded elephant. And most of all, you can’t possibly afford $55K for a car that fits none of your needs. Unfortunately, there is nothing she can do for you. The standard is the standard and the only thing available is this ridiculous beast of a vehicle with an equally ridiculous price tag. So what are you to do? It’s either this or no car at all. What choice do you have?
Unfortunately this is the exact scenario millions of Americans are faced with today, the difference is it’s health insurance and not cars at the center of it all. Under Obamacare, healthcare plans once enjoyed by millions of Americans have now been deemed “substandard” because they don’t provide services such as maternity and OBG/YN or geriatric care. Over the last two months millions of people have received notices from their insurance providers that their policies are being cancelled in favor of new “comprehensive” policies.
The problem is that for many people these new policies include services they do not need nor want at prices they cannot afford. You see, when you force a product to include certain features as standard, the price of the product increases. That’s why a car with heated leather seats and wood trim costs more than the model car without those features. The result is that these new “comprehensive” health plans cost much more than the plans people had previously. Indeed many people are finding that not only are their premiums increasing but their deductibles are increasing as well. This is where the anger comes from; people are being forced to buy a more expensive product that includes services they may not need. The reason there is such anger now where there was less before is that Americans were not told about this new “standard” when the bill was signed into law. In fact, we were told the exact opposite. Everyone remembers President Obama looking into the camera and assuring us that “If you like your health insurance you can keep your health insurance, period.” It turns out that you can only keep your insurance if it meets the new standard. And who exactly determined this new standard? Congress set the standard when they drafted the bill. Once again, we find ourselves being told what is best for us by a group of career politicians who do not live in the same America as the rest of us.
In these times I find myself asking the question, “Is this how the Founders intended it to be?”
photo credit: Thomas Hawk