Healthcare and Health Insurance are not the same thing, but for some reason, people use them interchangeably. The assertion most often heard is that a change or removal in the ACA/Obamacare, even though it’s imploding all on its own since every insurance company ditched it, will mean people will DIE. The problem with that assertion is that you can get healthcare without insurance. Kind of like how you can go to a Dentist or an Optometrist without a dental or vision plan from your employer.
But it’s so expensive and people will have to chose between food or medicine! Well fuck! Good thing there are payment plan, debt consolidation agencies, and other services where you can have your costs forgiven if you happen to be that damned poor… But they don’t tell you about that do they? They don’t make it easy, either. In fact, it’s almost like hospitals and doctors and pharmaceutical companies are actively antagonistic towards citizens.
All insurance does, in a really simply reductive sense, is take little bits of money from you in advance, and on a regular basis, adds them to one large pool, and then allows you to use a bit of that money to pay off otherwise insanely high costs that a hospital visit or prescription drug will cost you, assuming you meet some specific criteria, and even then it’s only going to pay for some of the treatment, regardless of how much or how little you’ve paid into your insurance policy.
The reason people believe they will die without Obamacare comes from a misguided belief that they won’t be able to afford their medications or treatments without insurance.. But let’s back the fuck up and identify the real problem. It’s not that people need insurance. The problem is that healthcare is grossly overpriced. It’s that a single ambulance ride and one night a hospital where they’ll give you some aspirin, a saline drip, and a shitty bed to sleep on can cost $10,000 or more. It’s that some medications can cost hundreds of dollars per pill.
While insurance companies do create a wide variety of problems that need to be addressed and rectified, there’s a more concerning issue to be addressed in the reality that we’ve become complacent with the idea that the healthcare industry is fucking broken, overpriced, and just plain fucked up, and now we’re squabbling over what kind of band-aid we want to put on it.
The reality is that strict Government regulations and licensing systems have contributed to the hyperinflation of the healthcare system. It’s become infinitely harder for people to become Doctors and it’s arbitrary limitations that keep Doctors from other countries to practice medicine in the United States. Likewise, pharmaceutical companies apply absurd costs in part because of heavy regulatory restrictions hindering the research and production of certain medications, and partly because they know that they can drain huge amounts of money from insurance companies if they overprice their medication.
This isn’t entirely unlike the problem with the minimum wage.People have begun demanding more money, but they aren’t backing up and asking why everything is so goddamned expensive in the first place. They don’t ask why so much of their paycheck is going to taxes, or why there’s so many different fees and licenses and stickers and tolls and more taxes. Why are homes so overpriced, even when the buildings are half a century old and haven’t been renovated once since they were built? Why are landlords overcharging for shitty one-room apartments?
People have given up and accepted that this is just how things have to be, but at the same time, they go ahead and complain that the city isn’t using their money right. They tax and tax and tax, but the schools are always underfunded, the roads are always falling apart, the underlying infrastructure of the entire city is fucking toxic, and the solution people have been tricked into obsessing over is that they just need more money from other people so they can afford to throw away their money to a broken system that made them poor in the first place.
Perhaps it’s just that people don’t know any better. “Fight for 15″ is just so much catchier, and saying “Trump is literally killing me!” carries so much more weight and impact than saying, “We’ve let bureaucratic corruption and wide-ranging regulatory incompetence deeply damage our economy, our housing market, and our healthcare system!” but none of that changes the fact that the current discussions being had and being promoted by the same politicians who helped fuck everything up in the first place, and regardless of which side scores the most imaginary victory points, the problems of hyperinflated costs, taxes, and fees will persist.