Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Response to Someone Who Thinks Trump is Great

If you don't like the ACA, too bad. Millions got insurance that didn't have it before. Insurance before the ACA was primarily for the healthy and when people needed it they found that their insurance was more like a coupon. Ever see bake sales to raise money to help someone with medical expenses? Ever hear of insurance companies denying benefits because the treatment was "experimental"? Or the insured suddenly lost their coverage when they needed it most because they did not disclose treatment for acne which occurred before the time they were asked about on their application? And hello, medical bankruptcies. Ever see hundreds of people lined up for a chance of getting treatment by doctors in animal stalls?

Obamacare was Romneycare, a product of the Heritage Foundation. It was a Republican plan. More than 170 changes were made to the ACA to please Republicans. Even the public option was dropped. In the end, no Republicans voted for their own plan. After passage, Republicans sued to get Expanded Medicaid optional. The expansion was supposed to cover people who did not make enough to qualify for the ACA. So millions in Red states were screwed out of health care coverage.

This is your for-profit health care system. Don't like it? Then do what most other western industrialized nations have done. Single-payer universal health care. Paid for by a flat tax rate. I would rather pay 15% of my income than go bankrupt or go without life-saving treatment. Or are you going to cry American Exceptionalism and tell us all about how those people in other countries have it worse than us and can't get treatment and have long waits and how the lower costs are somehow a bad deal?

Don't like the idea of the wealthy paying their fair share? You think poorer people are moochers, are lazy, are less worthy, and are victims of their own choices? Too bad. We don't think greed is a virtue. We are sick of people at the top sucking up the wealth and forcing workers to get government assistance. A worker on welfare is a company getting welfare. And people who can't get medical treatment are people who can't work.

So don't call the ACA shitty. At least it got millions insured. And if your premiums went up, guess what? That's how insurance is supposed to work. Health insurance is not just for the healthy. And because insurance companies actually had to cover some sick people, their expenses went up. But their administrative expenses also went up, because they wanted their 20% take.

One more thing. With the GOP hell-bent on getting rid of the already weakened Dodd-Frank reforms, it is probably only a matter of time before the toxic mix of commercial banking and investment banking (securities firms) creates another financial crisis. The Glass-Steagall Act was passed in response to the Great Depression to keep them separate. It worked until its repeal in 1999, following which critics predicted a crisis in 10 years. They were wrong. It was 9 years.

Now banks are bigger than ever. Price/earnings ratio for stocks (how much investors are willing to pay for stock earnings) are as high as just before the Great Depression, the internet bubble in the 90's, and the Great Recession. So if you are somehow equating your pension doing great with the rise in the stock market, good luck. And I hope your pension is not being invested by your broker with someone like Madoff.

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