Home > mood > For healthcare freedom, it’s time to move to Somalia*

For healthcare freedom, it’s time to move to Somalia*

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Some freedom-loving Americans have threatened that they’ll move to Canada to escape this stunning disappearance of healthcare freedom.

Unfortunately —

Orange colored countries are freedom-hating countries that provide healthcare to all their citizens. Yellow colored countries are thinking about destroying the freedom of the citizens to die from lack of healthcare. Brown colored countries get healthcare because of US war funds. But the big gray expanse is composed of countries that love freedom.

So, shit, that means all of us freedom-loving Americans are going to need to move to places like China, although that seems to have some big government problems of its own. Perhaps the place for freedom-seeking Americans to go is the already recognized libertarian paradise of Somalia*. In Somalia*, you won’t have government infringing on your healthcare freedom, plus you realize that Somalia* doesn’t have a job-killing Environmental Protection Agency.

All right, more serious time. It was with a fair amount of trepidation and unease that I waited upon yesterday’s SC decision. While I think the PPACA isn’t as progressive as I’d like it to be, it will do 2 huge things — bring healthcare insurance to nearly everyone in the United States and implement regulations and procedures to finally clamp down on the escalating healthcare costs. That latter part is just as important as the first part, because any realistic examination of the evidence shows that America’s 65 year experiment with patchwork insurance coverage has led to where the system was rapidly closing in on collapsing itself into a state where regular healthcare would become available to only the well-to-do and those with the genetic luck to not have suffered something that insurance companies would classify as a pre-existing condition.

So holy fuck, the United States has finally decided to join the rest of the developed first-world nations. So holy fuck, those with pre-existing and chronic conditions that can cost a lot of money from month-to-month will eventually have more avenues to having insurance coverage other than employee-sponsored healthcare. Holy fuck, they might be able to take a chance on leaving a job and looking for others without fear of being unable to get needed supplies to treat themselves. Fuck, they might enjoy a little more freedom in their lives. I guess not so much freedom as they would have in Somalia, but sometimes you have to give up a little something to get a little other something.

But I suppose if one thing the 5-4 Supreme Court decision makes very clear is that it is more important than ever that Obama is re-elected in November. Ginsburg is over 80 years old and if she needs to be replaced, it is vital that she is replaced with a justice who is progressive. Plus there might be some chance that Scalia will vacate the court, (perhaps retire if there were a Republican in the White House, but I’m pretty sure he would never retire if Obama is still president), and if Scalia goes, it would be a chance to reverse the slide towards the right-wing the court has taken with Republicans holding the presidency 20 of the last 32 years.

To those of us who have more progressive and liberal inclinations, Obama has sometimes been frustrating and infuriating, but we should make no mistake about it. He’s way way better than anything crawling out of the Republican party. Sure, Obama’s policies have been more centrist than progressive, but centrist right now beats the hell out of the rightward beating that America and its middle class has been taking.

Because the secret dream of some on the right is not to have to move to Somalia* to have their freedom, but to turn America into Somalia* over the next 50 years.

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* — Let me just add that I hope in time Somalia’s situation improves, that effective and necessary government displaces the freedom of crime and warlords and brings a genuine quality of life to the Somalian peoples.

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By the way, here are 11 things that are already effective because of Obamacare, things that Mitt Romney would want to take away —

1) Insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime coverage limits on your insurance. Never again will you face the risk of getting really sick and then, a few months in, having your insurer tell you, “Sorry, you’ve ‘run out’ of coverage.” Almost everyone I’ve met knows someone who had insurance but got really, really sick (or had a kid get really sick) and ran into a lifetime cap.

2) If you don’t know someone who has run into a lifetime cap, you probably know someone who has run into an annual cap. The use of these will be sharply limited. (They’ll be eliminated entirely in 2014.)

3) Insurers can no longer tell kids with preexisting conditions that they’ll insure them “except for” the preexisting condition. That’s called preexisting condition exclusion, and it’s out the window.

4) A special, temporary program will help adults with preexisting conditions get coverage. It expires in 2014, when the health insurance exchanges—basically big “pools” of businesses and individuals—come on-line. That’s when all insurers will have to cover everyone, preexisting condition or not.

5) Insurance companies can’t drop you when you get sick, either—this plan means the end of “rescissions.”

6) You can stay on your parents’ insurance until you’re 26.

7) Seniors get $250 towards closing the “doughnut hole” in their prescription drug coverage. Currently, prescription drug coverage ends once you’ve spent $2,700 on drugs and it doesn’t kick in again until you’ve spent nearly $6,200. James Ridgeway wrote about the problems with the doughnut hole for Mother Jones in the September/October 2008 issue. Eventually, the health care reform bill will close the donut hole entirely. The AARP has more on immediate health care benefits for seniors. Next year (i.e., in nine months), 50 percent of the doughnut hole will be covered.

8) Medicare’s preventive benefits now come with a free visit with your primary care doctor every year to plan out your prevention services. And there are no more co-pays for preventative services in Medicare.

9) This is a big one: Small businesses get big tax credits—up to 50 percent of premium costs—for offering health insurance to their workers.

10) Insurers with unusually high administrative costs have to offer rebates to their customers, and every insurance company has to reveal how much it spends on overhead.

11) Free birth control and other preventative services for women, unless you work for a faith-based organization that opposes birth control.

So basically, voting for Romney would be voting for children and people with pre-existing conditions being denied healthcare. Voting for Romney is a way of saying “Fuck you” to people in need of help to be healthy. Remember, people that are healthy are people who can contribute to society. People who are less than healthy can’t contribute as much or end up dying.

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