Questions for Conservatives About Healthcare Reform

As a freedom-loving pro-lifer, I want to know why my conservative friends don't seem to care about women like me when it comes to healthcare reform.

On Sunday evening as I was relaxing after dinner, my gallbladder violently rebelled against the meal (scrambled eggs and sautéed zucchini). This would not be worth writing about, except that, for the first time in my adult life, I don’t have health insurance. When, late last year, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey informed me that my $600+ per month individual plan rate would increase to $753 (just for me), I knew I was done. My husband is retired with a work-related medical disability, you see, and we were fast approaching financial insolvency as we awaited the resolution of his decade-old workers’ compensation case. (That’s a story worth telling about the kinds of people who can outlast insurance companies in court, but one for another day.)

As I was doubled over in pain and retching in my bathroom, I begged God for relief so that I wouldn’t have to go to the emergency room and possibly have a surgery that would plunge my family into thousands of dollars worth of debt. I thought about the millions of people who have lived this reality for years and felt ashamed of myself for having been so indifferent to their plight for so long. God answered my prayer eventually, but I woke up Monday morning dry heaving from the taste of bile rising in my throat.

I made an appointment with my primary care physician, hoping he would give me the green light to delay the surgery that had been recommended last year until August, when I’ll be eligible for NJ Protect, a federally subsidized health insurance plan for New Jersey residents who have pre-existing conditions, but who haven’t had health insurance for at least six consecutive months. The doctor did give me the green light to wait, along with dietary and homeopathic recommendations and a prescription in case I have another attack. For this, I paid $100.

Do Economic Conservatives Believe Small Business Owners Will Be a Drain on the Economy?

Before he came into the room, however, I told his nurse that I would need him to fill out a form for NJ Protect affirming that I have a pre-existing condition. She began grilling me about my situation. “Can’t you get a job?” she asked. “I have a job. I’m an independent journalist,” I said. She wanted to know how I get paid. God only knows why I submitted to this inquest, but I told her I have contracts for steady work, but given the state of journalism (especially since fall 2008 when I moved from California back to New Jersey and began job hunting), it doesn’t matter how hard or much I work, I will never be able to afford $753-a-month for health insurance. I didn’t bother telling her about my supplementary work in catering or substitute teaching, and I didn’t tell her that I’d just been tapped for a coveted vocational school teaching job that I had to decline because of the kind of senseless bureaucratic regulations that many, including me, fear “Obamacare” will usher in.

Her rudeness got me thinking though. What is it, I wonder, about my free-market loving friends that makes them willing to suggest, even by default, that entrepreneurs and small business owners like me will be a drain on our national resources or that we have some sort of moral obligation to take corporate jobs in order to be deserving of affordable health care? I’m not speaking of her, of course, but of the plethora of conservative pundits who rail incessantly against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the name of freedom. I don’t get it. Are they saying I shouldn’t be free to choose the kind of work that best suits me, my God-given temperament, and the needs of my family? Or that if I do, tough luck when I get sick? If it weren’t for the exorbitant cost of health care, I’d be earning enough income right now to meet my family’s modest financial needs. We can even manage the subsidized plan at $369-a-month now that my husband’s case has settled, but that’s a function of the ACA, so they’d like to deny me that.

Do Family Values Conservatives Think Mothers Reentering the Work Force Are Undeserving of Health Care?

On Tuesday, someone asked me what I thought of the Supreme Court ruling on the ACA. I took a deep breath and said I was glad it wasn’t struck down, because I need affordable health insurance sooner rather than later and the ACA is the engine that will give it to me.

I probably would have opposed it a decade ago when my husband was earning a six-figure income in home improvement sales and we were owners of an apartment building in addition to our own home. But then my husband’s back gave out and he spent several years trying to do other kinds of work before he was forced to retire at age 47. He now lives in crippling pain every day and takes care of the house. His medical expenses will be covered for the rest of his life through Medicare, a supplementary plan that we pay for, and workers’ comp. He’s eligible, in part, for these benefits because he worked outside the home and was injured at work, while I mostly stayed home and raised children for 20 years.

So, what I’d also like to know is why the family values crowd thinks it’s okay to abandon women like me, who bought into their message and eschewed careers, but then had to re-enter the workforce because of death, divorce, or disability without the benefit of a strong work history? Is this really how they want to repay us?  You know, the uninsured mothers who serve as teachers’ aides in their children’s classrooms, or bring them their salad at The Cheesecake Factory, or wipe their aging parents’ bottoms so they don’t have to?

Does Pro-Life Concern for Women Only Extend to Their Utility as Symbols for a Cause?

And, what about my fellow pro-lifers? All they seem concerned about when it comes to the ACA is the contraception mandate. Don’t they care about women like me who dropped out of college to have our babies instead of aborting them because we heard and believed their message, but then are forever playing catch up career-wise? Don’t they owe us some level of fidelity for living out what they merely preach? Or did we only matter to them when our stories affirmed their cost-free convictions?

These are serious questions, not accusations. A freedom-loving, family values, pro-life writer is asking them.

Now, I understand that one reason an individual health insurance plan is so expensive in New Jersey is because insurers here are not permitted to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and insuring everybody drives up costs. But, I thank God New Jersey is ahead of the curve in this regard. In California, I could not purchase insurance for my son after he was routinely kicked off our family plan as a young adult and then diagnosed with a debilitating, uninsurable condition.

He eventually got well with the help of a generous doctor who treated him on the cheap and a county health service that he still uses because so few specialists take his lousy $190-a-month individual plan. You see, he works for a non-profit organization as a warehouse supervisor, but like many employers, his employer hires most of its workforce for just under the number of hours at which employer-delivered health insurance is mandatory. I know what “government” care looks like and it isn’t pretty, but it’s something and I thank God for it.

I frequently hear insured people say that if the ACA survives, it will mean they won’t have access to timely medical care. This tells me they not only believe they have a right to health care, but that they have a right to the prompt delivery thereof. And yet, they don’t seem to think people like me and my son have any right to it at all. Well, I disagree with them. I need heathcare reform and I think I deserve it, not from “the government,” but from the society that my family and I have contributed to and served for most of our lives. I’m not saying Obamacare is the answer. I’m only saying that we need to solve this problem and the uncaring rhetoric of my conservative friends is speaking so loudly that I’m finding it difficult to hear anything else they’re saying about healthcare reform.

*Please note: an editorial change has been made to this article.

About the author, Christine A. Scheller

Christine A. Scheller is a widely published journalist and essayist, and an editor-at-large at UrbanFaith. She lives with her husband at the Jersey Shore and in Washington, DC, where she helps facilitate dialogue between scientific and religious communities.
  1. Pingback: Questions for Conservatives About Healthcare Reform – UrbanFaith | Life Insurance Press

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  3. I agree with you that health care coverage should be available to all citizens. The problem with federally mandated coverage is that it destroys the very system it is trying to regulate and protect. For the past 30 years, Medicare has paid 30 cents on the dollar it is billed, and it takes up to 3 years for them to pay claims, forcing private practices to either stop accepting Medicare patients or go out of business. This has also driven health costs sky high as larger medical providers such as hospitals and group practices have had to charge private insurers inflated prices to make up for Medicare’s low/late and oftentimes non-payment practices. The ACA threatens to make this problem even larger. To become a physician, you typically spend 10-16 years in school, accruing $400,000-1 million in school debt. Now, many physicians are facing a salary that is 5 figures instead of 6, taking decades to pay back their student loans. Those who become physicians today are truly doing so because they love the type of work they are going to do, not because they are going to get rich doing it.

    I myself have a PhD in nursing science, and I am a university professor teaching nursing students. My husband is a nurse as well. I owe almost 200,000 in student loans for my doctoral degree, and I don’t even make 100,000 year as a professor. It will take me a decade to pay back my debt. We are still paying on my husband’s student loans as well. We do this work because we love it. Even though we both work in healthcare, we pay over $800 a month in insurance premiums for family coverage, and pay an additional $15,000 a year in copays and coinsurance because we have a daughter with a pre-existing condition that requires lots of care and therapy throughout the year and I have had a 4 year battle with cancer. We definitely understand that healthcare is very expensive in this country. In fact, healthcare costs are what keep us living paycheck-to-paycheck and have made the difference between living comfortably and just barely scraping by.

    However, we are both opposed to the ACA because it is NOT the solution. It will continue to drive up the cost of healthcare and slow down healthcare delivery. It will further discourage our brightest young people from becoming doctors, nurses, radiologists, surgeons. If I had lived in Canada at the time I was diagnosed with cancer, I would not have received timely treatment that saved my life. Yes, it is expensive. But we are still free to go and pay for it.

    We need to provide insurance for the needy at the state level, where budgets are balanceable, and we aren’t carrying trillions of dollars in debt. We need to reduce Medicare programming and insist through legislation that they pay for the services they supposedly “provide” to those who are eligible for this federal service. And yes, those with pre-existing health problems may have to take jobs in the corporate sector in order to have insurance, or choose to buy high-risk, high-deductible health plans and have a Health Savings Account.

    If we are truly in favor of freedom, as you say you are, we must also be in favor of personal responsibility. And that sometimes means making hard choices. Choices we don’t necessarily like. There is no quick fix for the health care problems in our nation. Increased involvement by the federal government is the surest way to make healthcare more expensive, poorer quality and slower and harder to access.

    • And, not to mention, the author mentions being freedom-loving. That would 86 the mandate, especially when it;s unConstitutional.

      • To add to that, this has nothing to do with “not caring about women.” Obamacare is an unConstitutional plan that will affect everyone for the worst. Not paying for women’s contraceptives doesn’t make us “anti-woman” somehow.

  4. Apparently, we all agree at least in principle that health care should be available to all Americans. Unfortunately, Genevieve and I disagree on just about everything else, especially Medicare, a form of federally-sponsored health care insurance a great many Americans, including myself, know and love.

    That’s because, certainly from the recipient’s point of view, Medicare works, and quite efficiently too. From the moment I qualified, I’ve received nothing but friendly service and prompt statements regarding claims, a pleasant experience far removed from what I’d grown accustomed after the many years my husband and I and our two children fought the good fight as Americans suffering bouts of serious illness in a country that’s only grudgingly dealt with the health needs of its citizens, and then only partially via employer-based insurance plans, government-funded insurance being reserved for those who’ve already managed to live to age 65.

    Genevieve talks about the discrepancy between what providers charge and what Medicare pays. But the fact is no private plan pays what providers charge either. How much gets paid depends on negotiations between the companies and major providers, all of which is covered in contractural agreements, which patients have no say over, of course. Insurance companies pay what they’ve agreed to pay, and when providers nonetheless go ahead and charge more (as they so often do), the insurance companies simply designate that portion of the bill “over and above the customary” and refuse to pay. And who gets stuck with the remaining charge? The patient, who else? That, I think, was the first thing I noticed about Medicare statements: No “over and above customary” designations, and no extra charges to the patient beyond the standard portion patients always pay. The government has made better deals with providers than any private insurer can, no doubt, but I have to admit, after decades of getting hit with all those “over and above” charges providers pawn off on the unsuspecting public, I don’t feel all that bad about the shoe being put on the other foot…so to speak.

    Everybody sees things from their own perspective, and I’m sure many health care providers feel they’ve been short-changed in the Medicare give-and-take. For years, every medical association, including the AMA, opposed any and all attempts to reform the health care system, but not so today. Of the doctors, nurses and health care workers I know, several are familiar enough with the new law to say they support it, while others say they’re waiting to find out exactly how it will affect them. I’ve certainly heard no one claim it will, as Genevieve puts it, destroy “the very system it is trying to regulate and protect.” But then, every one of my doctors, past and present, accepts Medicare and assures me he/she will continue to do so in the future as well.

    As for “hard choices,” whenever politicans start using that phrase, it’s an easy bet they’re getting ready to cut spending on something they hate and somebody else can’t live without. In other words, we choose to spend money on what we value most.

    So what about Christine? What about the needs of uninsured Americans who get sick? Is their desire for the same access to affordable health care the rest of us have worth spending our treasure on, or not? I think the problem is many fear extending health care coverage will mean losing a little of their own in the process. Ronald Reagan once warned that Americans would lose their freedom if Medicare passed Congress and became law. But he was wrong. It was FDR who noted that if you’re sick and can’t afford a doctor, you’re not really free. Medicare freed a lot of people….older Americans who’d been having to choose between buying groceries or medications and younger family members who’d fallen deep into debt helping pay Mom and Dad’s medical bills. Now, it’s time — long past time, really — to extend that freedom. We can’t afford to do anything less.

  5. Thank you for the great thoughts here. I too would be in the same predicaments with child family members bring dropped from our plan for existing conditions if the ACA was not upheld.
    I especially find it curious that we ask women to to spare the life of the unborn child and yet want to deny them the means by which to afford child birth, a mother\’s care while in the hospital, and the costs to insure a child there after. In the end I wonder what is truly valued in the prolife Christian community, money or life.

  6. Powerful piece. And crucial questions. The answer, I fear, is that so many Christians have bought into a reactionary anti-government economic philosophy that they can\’t see straight when it comes to this issue. People\’s lives and health are at stake, and all conservatives can fall back on is pat ideological catchphrases that have nothing to do with the very real problems out there like those raised above. Without some form of government involvement, the only people who could access reasonable health insurance would be those who don\’t need it.

    It saddens me how much credibility this issue has cost Christians in the larger debate.

  7. My sentiments exactly!

  8. I appreciate your thoughts and your questions, and I certainly appreciate your need for health care. But with all due respect, Christine, you make an awful lot of assumptions. Should the question really be \”Why do you want to deny me this or that?\” as if those who disagree with you have deep-seated grudges against you personally? Or could it be that your ideological opponents are afraid that the ACA will result in substandard health care for all — for you, as well as for themselves?

    That\’s certainly what my argument would be, and has been. The way to fix a broken system is not to break it still further, and for even more people, as many of us fear this legislation will do. You yourself admit to concerns about the ACA. Can you not give your friends credit for sharing some of the very same concerns that you have?

  9. If you care to watch, Congressman Ron Paul addresses the problem and solutions to fix high health care costs in this short video…

  10. When I read this article, what I hear is, \”Thank goodness the Supreme Court is going to make other people pay for my medical care, because I, unlike much of the rest of the world, don\’t want to give up my choice of career to make enough money to cover my own bills.\” That seems naive and selfish in the extreme, and I\’m not sure why the author is surprised that \”other people\” who will now have to pay more, so that she can continue to pay less, are not happy about that.

    What if everyone in our society thought that way? Perhaps I should follow my heart, take jobs that do not pay enough to cover medical expenses, and expect the ACA to make other taxpayers finance my freedom of expression. If everybody did this, who will be left to pay everybody else\’s bills? If the author truly feels she \”deserves\” health care reform from a society to which she has contributed and has served for most of her life, what of people incapable of so serving and contributing? But–if all those who HAVE served, and those who have NOT served, will together have their bills paid by \’someone else,\’ who is left to pay?

    The author does imply the right question: \”What should we do about the fact that health care in our society is so cripplingly expensive?\” But she, along with the ACA, comes to the wrong answer: \”Easy: make \’someone else\’ pay for it!\”

    • I’m confused by this response. Isn’t the mandate just the thing that makes everyone pay? But I take it from your response that you were against the ACA. It seems to me that if the author had health insurance, she would treat her illness in an effective and efficient way, maybe she would have some costs to bear but it wouldn’t bankrupt her. However, if she can’t get that care and ends up in the emergency room, she will be treated at a much higher cost. And if she can’t pay the bill, we will. That’s the problem here, and why I think the ACA is not perfect, but a step in the right direction. When conservatives thought up the mandate it was in an effort to get the freeloaders to pay. I agreed with it then, and I don’t disagree with it now just because I don’t like that it happened under a democrat. Health care will NEVER operate as a free market, because in an emergency neither the consumer, nor the provider will treat it that way. Would the author just forgo emergency surgery because she can’t afford it? Do we want a hospital that would turn her away because she can’t? Neither of those options work. When life or death decisions are being made, market forces go out the window.

      • ” Isn’t the mandate just the thing that makes everyone pay?” No, the mandate is just the thing that makes everyone pay insurance companies. Why we are content to see 25 to 30 cents of every health care dollar go to insurance company overhead boggles the mind. It’s like a stupid tax. Are you stupid? Are you spending a dollar? OK, you get 70 cents worth of service. At least with ACA insurance companies will be required to show that they spend a more favorable percentage on actual benefits. But imagine if our porviders didn’t have to employ an army of people to interface with the insurance companies?

    • Admirer – you seem to be confusing several key points. For one “other people” are already paying for the medical care of the uninsured. The thing is, we are paying for expensive emergency care for seriously ailments which may have been prevented by inexpensive preventive care. This certainly doesn’t help the sick (who are now sicker) and provides no cost savings.

      As for your comment about people taking jobs that don’t pay enough to cover medical expenses, what’s your plan? Perhaps only those covered under their married spouse’s health plans should be allowed to work in food service, art, literature, and the like. Everyone else should be forced to participate in the corporate lifestyle to make sure most Americans have health coverage.

      I, for one, think the ACA is a step in the right direction. Is it the end-all be-all solution? No, I really don’t think so. But it’s a start, it’s reasonable, and it is something that provides a balanced solution across all classes.

    • No I do not hear that she wants wvwrybody else to pay for her healthcare. I hear that she does not want to be discriminated against because she is self employed and has a pre-existing condition. Individual policies are so bad with regard to what they cover and they are expensive. My husband and I pay &730 per month for a policy that has a $5,000 per incident deductible, does not cover prescriptions and has a 20% copay. I have a penalty tacked on because I am a woman. Their excuse is that women live longer than men on average therefore have larger lifetime healthcare costs. Well that might be ok except that they will not be insuring me while I am enjoying all those extra “golden years”. Medicare will. Obamacare will end that penalty. When my husband broke his leg, the hospital bill was over $50,000. The negotiated rate for the insurance company was $15,000 or 1/4 of the bill. That is less than reimbursement by medicare would be. Had I not had insurance though,I would be expected to pay the entire bill. The fact is that I am paying ridiculous premiums for someone to negotiate rates for me. If the hospital just billed everybody the same rate, I could pay my bill with the money I spend on insurance and just have catastrophic health insurance for things like cancer. Our system makes no sense. We get B- care at A+ charges.

  11. The problems is not that there are not ways to increase access to care and improve quality and lower costs it is that government regulations have so warped our system and prevented consumers from controlling their own lives. Employer based group insurance is what creates the problem of preexisting conditions (lack of portability, etc.) and mandates prevent plans that adress specific issues and instead must offer exactly what the state says they must offer. Third party payment systems make it nearly impossible for insurance companies to devise markets for sick people and instead have incentives to enroll healthy people and provide sub-par care for the sick. The ACA will increase costs, lower access and hurt quality – it is not an answer to any of your questions.

    • How does getting rid of employer based systems fix an insurance company’s incentive to keep people with pre-existing conditions off their rolls?

      And “plans that address specific issues” makes no sense. You have no idea what health care services you’re going to need in the future, and no insurance company in the world could offer a meaningful “you have cancer” plan. The premiums would, by their nature, have to pay for the full cancer treatments, so the premiums would be so expensive that it would literally be no better than having no insurance at all.

      In short, you cannot “devise markets for sick people.” Period.

      I suspect the ACA won’t increase costs. There are a boatload of ideas embodied in ACA for cutting costs without sacrificing the quality of care (remember those two thousand pages?) Billions will be spent digitizing records and taking advantage of new technology, which will save tens of billions in time, in reduced medical errors, in caught drug interactions, etc. Another provision forces insurance companies to spend at least 80% of their premiums paying for medical care. A third will increase hospital record keeping requirements, but with the intent of better discerning between effective and ineffective health care treatments. A fourth moves away from the “fee for service” model towards a more outcome oriented approach, which reduces the incentives to order unnecessary tests.

      Before the ACA came along, insurance premiums were rising at 7% per year. Since it’s been enacted, that’s dropped to 4%, and not all the provisions have taken effect. We already pay twice what other western countries pay for their medical system (per capita), and it’s not as though we live longer, healthier lives than they do. The ACA is the first admission that maybe, just maybe, we have something to learn from those other countries.

  12. Nice Christine! Very well put. I am sorry for your family\’s troubles – thank you so much for this article. I also wonder about the rhethoric I hear from people who \”don\’t do the math\” and we are all one car accident or one work injury from your position. I am amazed that the conservative media has rallied so many folks into railing against healthcare like it\’s a freedom issue. If you think your private insurance plan doesn\’t ration care and decide what you will or wont get in terms of treatments, etc. then I would like to meet your employer!
    Good luck on your surgery and please give us an update.

  13. Christine, this is a great piece. I\’m a conservative, pro-life, capitalist, but I\’m ashamed at the appalling lack of energy on the Right to solve what is a real problem. I know there are policy proposals, but none they\’ve had the courage to pursue. As a pastor I see this problem first-hand.

  14. Caring about the \”plight\” of those without health insurance doesn\’t negate the Commandment against stealing. How sad that otherwise devout people seldom seem to understand this. What the author advocates is nothing less than that the government rob her neighbors and fellow-citizens to buy — \”subsidize\” — her medical insurance.

    This is not only sinful but deceptive: many people consider theft OK as long as politicians do it for them instead of their robbing folks directly. And it\’s demeaning to all of us: these immoral attitudes have turned Americans into whining children, asking Big Daddy Government to steal more and more from our friends so that we have to pay for fewer and fewer of our own expenses.

    I speak as one without medical insurance who deeply resents Obamacare. It is communism, pure and simple — as are Medicare and Medicaid. How shameful that the \”faithful\” defend such evil.

    • Everyone without insurance is already stealing in a sense. In an emergency you will be treated. And you may not be able to pay, and we will have to cover those costs. It’s not communism. It’s not evil. It’s just policy. That sort of hyperbole is part of the problem.

    • And letting people die because they don’t have health insurance doesn’t violate the commandment “thou shalt not kill” because…?


      You might want to reconsider your rather doctrinaire interpretation of the commandment against stealing. According to the Bible, every fifty years debts were to be cancelled, slaves freed, and land returned to its original owners. In short, the religiously controlled State of Israel limited people’s freedom and interfered with their right to contract, in order to make their society more equitable.

      Gleaning is another example (see Leviticus and Deuteronomy). People who owned lands were ordered to be careless in how they harvested their fields, so that some of the crop was left behind for the starving landless. Biblical historians call this the first welfare system.

      The Bible: spreading the wealth since 4000 BC.

    • The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ – Matthew 25:40

      “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ – Matthew 25:41-43

      “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ – Matthew 25:45

      Or, to put it another way: WWJD?

  15. Why does the Christan right concern themselves so much with money? I’ll go with this:

    Matthew 7 v12 “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”

    Why on God’s green earth would you value cash more than health for all mankind?

  16. As a person of faith living in the UK, this whole argument sounds quite strange to me. Health care here is a right – it is provided by the state, and paid for through taxes. That means everyone is covered, no matter what – so starting a new business, changing jobs, or following your calling does not mean risking your health or your family’s. The National Health Service isn’t perfect – certainly not – but it is effective, reliable, portable, and has lower costs and better outcomes than the American system (which I have some experience of as well). If you want to buy private health insurance, you can, and well-off people do – but this is a luxury good, essentially, for those who wish it. Those on private health insurance don’t tend to have better health or more effective treatments than those on the public system (the National Health Service). I wouldn’t call it socialism. I would call it a society that sees all its members as brothers and sisters, fellow-travellers in this world, and children of God.

    Politically, I know it will never happen in the US, but do think about it. Jesus was a healer, and he did not ask for payments. In that we are asked to follow in his footsteps, this is a way that we as a society can treat one another as His example suggests.

  17. Wow! I just read a very concerned and honest discussion of what, along with the state of the economy, is one of the most pressing concerns facing us today. For the most part, everyone seemed able to make their point while respecting the other viewpoints. Why our elected leaders cannot do the same is beyond me. And don’t even get me started on the media, who seem unable to do anything but vilify any opposing viewpoint. It seems that every difficult issue facing our country has to devolve into an us or them mentality which results in deadlock and a total lack of progress.

  18. Wow, this is conservative Christian thought? How disgusting. I see a lot of hatred of Democrats, convoluted throwbacks to ancient desert religions, and the belief that sacrificing a portion of the population will save cost so let’s just do that. It will cost money to make sure people in this country get healthcare. The conservative position is to sacrifice people so that the few people who are in a luckier or more powerful position can thrive. Disgusting.

  19. One thing I’m curious about is why people keep saying the ACA will increase costs. From what I’ve seen (disclosure: I work in the medical field), it’s doing exactly the opposite; I know people who have already gotten their refund checks from the insurance companies, people on Medicare are spending less on drugs, and a few months ago the CBO increased their estimate of how much money it’ll save over the next decade, based on what we’ve seen thus far.

  20. Conservatives believe in personal responsibility… apparently Liberals believe they have the right to make others pay for their own personal and/or artistic choices. If health insurance was important to this person she should be pursuing a job that has health insurance benefits instead of following her dream of being “an independent journalist” with no benefits. That was her choice. I wanted to be an “artist” as a young man, I was really good… no pay or benefits there except for the elite in that job line… so i worked 3 part time jobs put myself threw college and got a nice boring job with good benefits. Sure it sucks but i provide my family the stability and insurance benefits they deserve. Personal responsibility is something lacking in spoiled America these days. This author having a kid was her choice, as soon as she had unprotected sex she was making her decision on this… and she wants thanked for not aborting the child??? You are ridiculous.

    I feel bad for your plight. I have health problems as well and i can’t imagine how much it would suck not having insurance. Change careers. Get some insurance.

    To the ridiculous people saying that Conservatives hate everyone and don’t care – you are totally wrong. We do however don’t think we should have to pay for the freeloaders. I lived in
    CA for years and i saw first had who CA is bankrupt. People out there took freeloading to new levels it was practically and art form. Whats funny is i saw people working harder to get free stuff from the government then if they had just gotten a job!

    People do need hand ups from time to time. People do need assistance from time to time. But people need to start taking a little more personally responsibility for themselves instead of relying on others to bail them out and pay for their personal choices.

    • I totally agree with what you say here, which is why I support the mandate, which makes everyone pay. Not the government. That’s why we conservatives thought it up.

    • Love your deeply sympathetic advice: “Change careers. Get insurance.”

      I expect ignorance and your kind of “conservatism” to go hand in hand so I’m not suprised you don’t seem to know that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of last May there were 3.5 job seekers per job opening in this country. I expect you also don’t know that the BLS defines job seekers in a way that excludes a lot of people who aren’t working but would like to be, so the true ratio is much worse.

      I would think are real conservative, as opposed to the blind ideologue you appear to be, would commend the author for trying to forge her own destiny in this terrible job market instead of just going on the dole.

      And I would expect a true Christian, as opposed to the phony moralizing type you seem to represent, would support a program that helps those of us who are comparatively well off to assist our brothers and sisters who are in need.

      But hey, thanks for the lecture on personal responsibility.

  21. Very interesting and very thoughtful. You and I may differ on a few ideological points, but from what I can see, we agree very much on this health care issue. Thank you for writing this!

  22. I still wonder why the US, the richest country in the world, doesn’t feel it can afford universal health care, when every other developed country in the world can. Here, we pay more for health care with less to show for it. I would ask anyone who is against ACA to tell me what their proposed program is, other than “let them die in a ditch.”

  23. well-said, christine. i understand from your side (stay-at-home mom back in the workforce as both an independent contractor and employee with those “just under the number of hours to qualify for heath insurance.” i also have a daughter in jersey (nurse) who is concerned.

  24. Great piece. I think there is a good point here about the politics of personal experience: When the ACA doesn’t apply to you, it seems like government excess; when it does apply to you, then it seems like compassion. Which makes me wonder how other conservative policies would also look if this same kind of lens were used.

    Thanks for the food for thought.

  25. Pingback: The Church and Health Care | Daniel Darling, Author, Pastor, Speaker

  26. Well said. I can’t get through all the rhetoric, either. I just want answers, but it all seems like posturing. We recently became uninsured. It hasn’t been long enough for us to have to test what that means, yet but it will be interesting to see how this plays out. Thanks for your honest questions here.

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  28. “I probably would have opposed it a decade ago when my husband was earning a six-figure income in home improvement sales and we were owners of an apartment building in addition to our own home.”

    *That mentality is what infuriates me. When you were comfortable and wealthy, you couldn’t see what wasn’t in front of your nose. When I opine that, from my perspective, conservatives seem to lack any sort of human empathy, this is what I mean.

    And now that it benefits you personally, you’re willing to support it.

    Does that teach you anything at *all*?

  29. To all the talk of “personal responsibility”. We have, here, questions of what happens when people act exactly as those who talk about personal responsibility want them to act. Women sacrificing careers to be stay-at-home moms. Women sacrificing a year or more of education to an unplanned pregnancy. Women taking that personal responsibility that you, as social conservatives, exactly want them to act and, as a result, winding up without health insurance.

    And, your response is to tell them that they did exactly what you wanted them to wrong? Or that, after telling them that they should not do for themselves, that you’ve done all you will for them?

    Take some responsibility, yourself. If you want people to act a certain way, you have a responsibility to take part in a society that does not punish them for it, or at least not to call them irresponsible, lazy, and selfish because doing exactly as you would have them do didn’t yeild unto them the wealth that you, yourself, said that they should sacrifice.