Health Care Reform Will Help Everyone

a guest post by Barbara O’Brien

Many Americans assume the new health care reform act will benefit mostly the poor and uninsured and hurt everyone else, according to polls. As Matt Yglesias wrote, “Basically, people see this as a bill that will take resources from people who have health insurance and give it to people who don’t have health insurance.” Those who still oppose the reform say that people ought to pay for their own health care.

We all believe in the virtues of hard work and self-reliance, but these days it’s a fantasy to think that anyone but the mega-wealthy will not, sooner or later, depend on help from others to pay medical bills. And that’s true no matter how hard you work, how much you love America, or how diligently you take care of yourself. The cost of medical care has so skyrocketed that breaking an arm or leg could cost as much as a new car. And if you get cancer or heart disease — which can happen even to people who live healthy lifestyles — forget about it. The disease will not only clean you out; it will leave a whopping debt for your survivors to pay.

And the truth is, we all pay for other peoples’ health care whether we know it or not. When people can’t pay their medical bills, the cost of their health care gets added to everyone else’s bills and insurance premiums. When poor people use emergency rooms as a doctor of last resort, their care is not “free.” You pay for it.

Another common fantasy about medical care is that the “free market” provides incentives for medical companies to develop innovative new drugs and treatments for disease without government subsidy. It’s true that private enterprise is very good at developing profitable health care products. But not all medical care can be made profitable.

For years, the U.S. government has been funding medical research that the big private companies don’t want to do because there is too much cost for the potential profit. This is especially true for diseases that are rare and expensive to treat. An example of a recent advance made possible by government grants include new guidelines for malignant pleural mesothelioma treatment developed by MD Anderson Cancer Center researchers. Another is a blood screening test for mesothelioma developed by thoracic surgeon Dr. Robert Taub. The health reform act provides for more dollars for such research, from which even many of the tea party protesters will benefit.

The biggest fantasy of all was that people who had insurance didn’t have to worry about health care costs. But the fact is that in recent years millions of Americans have been bankrupted by medical costs, and three-quarters of the medically bankrupt had health insurance. And yes, insurance companies even dumped hard-working, law-abiding patriots. But the health care reform act will put an end to that, and now America’s hard-working, law-abiding patriots are more financially secure, whether they like it or not.

9 Responses

  1. $500 billion in Medicare cuts.

    $500 billion in new taxes, fines, and fees.

    Taxpayer funded abortion.

    Sleazy political deals favoring Nebraska, Louisiana, Florida, Tennessee, North Dakota, and (of course) labor unions

    HHS reported (after the fact) that costs will increase, not decrease as the president promised.

    The Democratic Party’s version of health care reform is unpopular for a reason. It is too expensive, too intrusive, short-sighted, and is written to provide goodies to favored groups. My hope is that it will be repealed and replaced by sensible and affordable reforms.

  2. […] Health Care Reform Will Help Everyone « Nuke Gingrich […]

  3. Rising health costs will put tremendous pressure on the federal budget during the next few decades and beyond. In CBO’s judgment, the health legislation enacted earlier this year does not substantially diminish that pressure.

    CBO director Doug Elmendorf destroys key WH argument about “bending the cost curve down”

    too bad Mr. Elmendorf waited this long to bring forth this info… better late than never, I suppose.

  4. Nuke, I know that funding for abortion is not part of the bill so I really wonder where you are getting your information. Also, who gives a crap about predictions some guy is making. Look at how healthcare works in other countries. Most developed nations have “socialized” health care, and it’s cheaper than our system that doesn’t even insure everybody. Keeping a free market structure for health care is ridiculous, we should move beyond it. Health care isn’t a comodity and like it or not we already pay for everybody else.

    • There was an amendment to the House bill which stipulated that the provisions of the Hyde Amendment would remain in place in the health care bill. It was called the Stupak-Pitts Amendment.

      The Senate would not agree to the Stupak language, and as you recall, Stupak and the majority of the pro-life Dems caved.

      You claim that abortion is not part of the Bill, so I assume you’ve read it. I have only made it through several hundred pages, which, sadly, is more than a lot of our elected representatives have done.

      I appreciate your comments, but frankly, I’m just plain exhausted by the subject.

      ETA: Here is an interesting look at the UK system, from IBD

  5. I know that funding for abortion is not part of the bill

    President Barack Obama signed the pro-abortion government-run health care bill into law today but did not sign an executive order that would supposedly nullify the abortion funding.

    Most developed nations have “socialized” health care, and it’s cheaper than our system

    Greece required to privatize health care to get (IMF) bailout.

    Soaring costs force Canada to reassess health model.

    Sweden’s (and Uk’s and Canada’s) Government Health Care.

    Keeping a free market structure for health care is ridiculous, we should move beyond it.

    Now why do you claim it is ridiculous?
    What exactly does “move beyond it” mean?
    If you believe socialism is the path we should be taking, then there is no need to respond, I despise and loathe socialist.

    Health care isn’t a comodity

    Some would claim it is, but I consider it a service. It certainly isn’t a privilege or right. Check the constitution.

    The Constitution and the “Right to Health Care”

  6. pulls together all of the best evidence and analysis about the legislation, as well as relevant news items and commentary, in an accessible and searchable format for anyone to use as they need to. Our aim is to provide Americans with the facts so that they can hold those who sponsored and passed ObamaCare accountable for what they have done.”

    Newest information source on the internets.
    Go forth and read.

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