The article I wrote on the Affordable Care Act last week, quoting liberally from information provided by the Kaiser Family Foundation, generated about the most response I’ve gotten on anything I have written on this blog. It’s an issue that brings out strong passions, yet it remains one of the least-understood pieces of Legislation ever written.
This morning, driving to the golf course, I heard on the news that the U.S. House of Representatives will vote for something like the 30th time to repeal it in its entirety. That’s just so blatant and partisan of the Republicans, such a bad reflection on our government, it almost makes me ashamed to be an American. House leaders know that there is not going to be a repeal of this landmark legislation, no matter how often they play this game. But their pandering to their fellow conservatives continues to stoke the flames of anger among the uninformed electorate who they hope will vote against Liberals/Democrats/Progressives this fall. It makes me sad to see them misusing what should be our country’s most truly representative and important institution, the U.S. House of Representatives, for such an openly political purpose. That is not how the Founding Fathers, whom the conservatives love to invoke, intended our Legislative body to be used. They are just going to keep putting Democrats “on the record in favor of socialized medicine” right up until Election Day. It is going to be a long four months.
Yesterday a woman named Judy who reads my blog wasted a good bit of my time with a silly rant about the evils of “government health insurance.” I felt the need to respond because the purpose of what I wrote was to give myself and readers facts to combat the misinformation being spread by the anti-Obama crowd. Her rant was about the government only allowing women to have a pap smear every 5 years. Let me try to summarize our discussion in a “fair and balanced” way.
She started by saying that “because of Obamacare, a woman can only have a pap smear every 5 years!!!!! And a man cannot have a PSA test at all. How long will it be before a woman cannot have a mammogram every year?”
I wrote back that is nonsense. Pap smears and PSA tests can be had as often as a person wants. Who pays for it is between the patient and the insurance company. And besides, 20 million new women will be covered under Obamacare.
Judy wrote back that “after a certain age” (What age would that be, Judy?) women should have a pap smear every year. And those 20 million women will only be able to get one every 5 years.
“Every woman knows that to prevent cervical cancer it is wise to have a pap smear every year,” she continued. “With government insurance this will not be the case for a lot of women.”
Okay, first of all, I don’t know where this 5-year thing came from. I don’t see any reference to it in the Affordable Care Act. It looks like it comes from a story making the rounds on the Internet that a panel created by Ronald Reagan called the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is recommending that women can go from 3-5 years without a pap smear. Judy just changed the facts some and reported that the government will only allow a pap smear every 5 years. When I questioned her on it, she said the “government insurance” will only pay for a pap smear every 5 years. I also don’t know about preventing cancer by having a smear EVERY year. I don’t think that is true. Looks like doctors say every 3-5 years now too. And I don’t know about this “government insurance” thing either. Medicare? Medicaid? It wasn’t clear to me if she was on either one or both of those. I suppose I should have asked her if she wanted the government to pay for a pap smear for every woman in America every year and a PSA test for every man, and where the money for that was going to come from. One of the biggest criticisms of Obamacare is that it is too costly. Well, imagine paying for a couple hundred million unnecessary pap smears every year. But enough of this foolish debate, I finally said, and I just quit responding to her idiotic comments.
But you see the problem here. There are a few million Judy’s who blindly follow these anti-Obama leaders and just make stuff up as they go along. And they’re so hypocritical: arguing against “government health care” (whatever that is) while at the same time arguing that the government should provide more health care. They just don’t seem to get it. And many, many more millions of people, like me before I started reading some of this stuff, hear this stuff, assume it is fact, and buy into it. There is a real chance that the anti-Obama folks can continue to ply this crap they’re dealing out right through Election Day, and enough people will buy into it to elect Mitt Romney. And then what? Sheesh.
So what’s the answer? Well, what is being implemented under the Affordable Care Act is a start, but it is so confusing and so inadequate that all it is going to do is fan the political flames. I wish I could snap my fingers and voila!, we’d have single payer, universal health care for all Americans. Like most other civilized countries in the world. But as long as there are insurance company lobbyists, that is not going to happen. Heaven help us.