The Problem With the Problems With Obamacare

That’s not a typo you read. I want to talk about the problem with how we talk about the problems with Obamacare. I know this is a topic not directly tied to diabetes, but health insurance, and our rather precarious health-care system, certainly has a LARGE impact on all of us living with this preexisting condition. And so the debate on Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act as it’s actually called, is something I’ve tried my best to follow.


Here’s the issue: It seems like we are almost incapable of addressing the problems in any way that can lead to anything constructive. It seems to me that what we have is two bitterly entrenched “sides,” full of people who have minds ALREADY MADE UP long before encountering any of the facts. And so each side finds the facts, the statistics, the stories, that back up THEIR view of the situation, and they go to war against each other. And the biggest casualties of this war? US!

You see, when ideology trumps reason, trumps evidence, and prevents either side from taking an honest, unbiased look at the situation on the ground, there can be no real progress toward a solution. What we have is two sides more intent on WINNING AN ARGUMENT than on finding a reasonable solution to what nearly everyone agreed was a broken system. Remember the 2008 elections? There was broad consensus that our health-care system as it stood didn’t work for the people. We were tired of health insurance companies denying care to deathly ill patients. We were tired of people being turned away because they have preexisting conditions. We were tired of the whole mess.

And so we asked that our government DO SOMETHING about the problem. And it did. But not everyone agreed on how to do it. That’s to be expected. But instead of remaining rationale, calm, and objective, we ratcheted up the hysteria on both sides and went to war with each other. Hyperbole ensued — remember the roving “death panels” we heard so much about? Now, to be fair, I do have a dog in this fight, and I tend to lean towards the side of supporting the ACA, but I know it’s far from perfect. I think most of the politicians who support it know it’s not perfect. They know it has problems that need to be corrected. But those problems can’t be honestly addressed.

For those who support the law, problems have to be swept under the carpet, mitigated, and made to appear unimportant — because they know acknowledging ANY problem fuels the fires of the opposition intent on completely dismantling the ACA. For those who oppose the law, those problems have to be magnified, made catastrophic, and held up as evidence that the ENTIRE LAW has to be thrown away.

You know the old saying, “the first step is admitting there’s a problem”? Well, we’ve backed ourselves into a corner where we can’t admit to the problems! If the supporters admit the problems, the opponents will simply increase the intensity of their attack. And the detractors aren’t “admitting there’s a problem,” either. They’re so bent on winning that ANY issue is turned into a calamity — they bypass the real problem and dive into a world of fantasy. You can’t ADDRESS an issue unless you take an honest, unbiased look at it! That means we have to stop sweeping the problems under the carpet, AND we have to stop blowing them out of proportion and turning them into fuel for hysteria.

Like most issues in today’s political arena, emotional ideology seems to run the show. Ideology leads, and reason, fact, and objective analysis trail behind. It’s maddening to watch, particularly as someone who is so directly impacted by the outcome. If we could only drop the denial, hysteria, and vitriol and come together for a reasoned, focused, and outcome-oriented approach to health care, I KNOW we could solve our problems. We are more than capable of solving the problems that prompted the passage of the ACA in a manner that really works. But we’re too stubborn, too entrenched, and too angry to do it.

We don’t need to all agree on everything. We don’t need to all join one political party or another. We don’t need to sing “Kumbaya” around a giant campfire. We need to let clear, objective facts, data, and reason dictate our actions rather than dogged, unflinching ideology. The problems we face in the world today are complex, systemic problems that require a more evolved manner of thinking. I am reminded of Einstein’s brilliant quote: “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.” Yes we shall, Albert, yes we shall.

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  • William Boling

    I agree with a lot of what you had to say, however there were enough votes to pass the ACA into law. Granted it is not perfect, but it does address a large part of what was broken in our healthcare system previous to it.

    It was not until, 2010 and the Tea party republicans, that the repeal “Obamacare” 51 different times all without the hope of succeeding, by the way. Which shows it is not so much that they hate the Law as they hate Obama.

    Instead of passing changes to the ACA to continue to improve the ACA as any normally intelligent person would do, they are total focused on “anything you’re(Obama) are for, we are against”.

    Thanks for the good article, we just want a great healthcare system for the Americans everywhere….

  • Donna C

    I agree with Scott that if we really tried, we could come up with a solution to the problem of healthcare. However, Obamacare is NOT the solution. And my objection is to the law itself. Not to Obama himself. To answer William Boling, yes, there were enough votes to pass it (after all the bribery was done). But even that is not the real problem. The problem is that Obamacare is ruining the best healthcare system in the world in order to (supposedly) benefit the uninsured. If that had really been the objective, it would have been easy to pass a healthcare tax that would fix the problem. Instead, millions of people have already lost their health insurance and have to buy more at (mostly) higher prices. All this because the federal government has decided what we need and what we don’t need. Many more will lose their insurance when the law kicks in for bigger employers. This whole law was sold to the public with a lie: “Every family’s health insurance costs will drop by $2500 per year, and if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” If this had been a good law, there would be no need for the Unconstitutional delays that have been announced.

  • Phyllis E

    Donna, I am in complete agreement. Just another example of Big Government deciding that it knows what is better for us than we do ourselves and that we are not smart enough to make our own decisions. The country was lied to. Yes, most people agree that changes needed to be made, but they could have been made to address the individual problems without dismantling the whole system for everybody. The coverage for my diabetic care is decreasing as a result. It is another example of supposed “fairness and evening the playing field”. Taking away from one to give to another. There are other ways to fix the problems… but that really was not the intent. Redistribution was.

  • Philip

    See, you cannot reason with these people. When you call someone a liar, you end any reasonable solution or conversation.

  • Scott Coulter

    It looks like the comments reflect the passion surrounding this issue. And that’s interesting. Clearly, this is an issue that hits home, particularly for those of us who deal with the insurance and medical system every single day of our lives. We get passionate, and GENERALIZE. And I think this is a big part of the problem. To suggest that “they just wanted redistribution” is a vast generalization. “They” are a group of people, with a variety of motivations and values. There might be a few with bad intent, but most are simply trying to solve a problem in the way they think is best. You might not agree with them about what way is best, but to suggest “their intent” is malicious across the board is problematic. At the same time, the response mentioned “these people” in the same monolithic term, further widening the divide. What started as two people with differing views on how to solve the problem instantly turned into us versus them, side against side.

  • msheriff

    I have serious problems with the results of this law. It has had serious adverse effects on my ability to access the care I need and I have been spending huge amounts of time trying to sort through the mess that has been created by the law’s regulations. I had really good insurance in a system that had an extra level of advocacy which allowed care and treatment that the doctor wanted. Because of the regulations involved with the ACA the underwriters for my insurance decided to get out of the health insurance business because it wouldn’t make sense for them as a business. My choices for insurance then became very limited where I live. The problem with that is now I cant get the meds I need and they are making it next to impossible to even get a full month prescription for some of my meds The hoops I have to jump through are not funny. My medication costs have skyrocketed. I can only hope that those regulations don’t allow the insurance companies to dump all those extra costs onto the patient. Essentially what they have done is turn PPO plans into HMOs. They do not work well for people like me with serious chronic diseases that need to be managed. People like me don’t thrive when they can no longer access treatments and meds that work in favour of those the insurance company wants to sell. All of this is having a negative impact on my health and I am sure I am not the only one. In fact most of the type I diabetics I know are also having serious problems with healthcare access as a result of the bureaucracies built into this new healthcare format. I am not a happy camper. The government has no place getting between a doctor and a patient providing the best effective treatments possible.