Tuesday, October 1, 2013

My Government is Closed. How is Your's Doing?

I'm really bummed out about government today.

Our government, the people that we elect to run our country, are in a pissing match with each other. Yes, the free world, we the ones that supposedly police the world, the country everyone else supposedly looks up to, have shut the doors.

We probably won't notice much of a difference for at least a few days between a working government and one that is closed. We have at least 10 days before the courts start shutting down, military paychecks start arriving late, and the 24 hour news channels start running out of things to talk about again.

Hell, we're going to save quite a bit of money by not paying all those pesky 800,000 to 1 million non-essential employees (park services, NASA, Smithsonian museums, national zoos,  portions of the Food and Drug Administration, and Federal occupational safety and health inspectors) for a few days.

My problem is, all the guys that are in the midst of this stalemate, Congress and the President + cabinet, do still get paid. (Several Congressmen have used this opportunity to show how much they are like us by asking to not be paid. "See guys, I'm just like Joe Average. I'm not getting paid until we fix this either.")

The Affordable Care Act is the largest reason why our budget hasn't been passed. Several GOP congressmen at the very basic level want to de-fund Obamacare, which went into effect today, in order to pass the budget.

Why do we need something like the Affordable Care Act?

America ranks last in health rankings, but first in expense of healthcare. There are many reasons for this and really, it's too complicated to point at just a few reasons why this is, but I think this guy does a great job of explaining it while keeping the conservative vs liberal B.S. out of it.

The Affordable Care Act is not the 100% solution toward universal health care. There will be many amendments once we figure out what works and what doesn't. But this is at least getting the ball rolling. Universal health care was going to eventually come. Hell, Republican's championed it in the 90's.

The hang up seems to be whether to leave it to private companies to implement universal health care or the government. It just so happens that many American's don't trust their government and many more don't trust private companies to do what's right.

Why you ask?

  1. Politicians are mostly rich, out of touch white dudes who think the middle class make $250,000 a year and less
  2. Lobby groups fund campaigns as long as their guy supports doing things that profit them.
  3. Oh, and that whole 2008 economic crash caused by greedy and corrupt companies. 

The problem is, the ACA a bill written with a lot of legal jargon, bi-partisan misleading marketing is informing most of the populace, and no one really knows what it means. Americans are overwhelmingly uninformed and allow TV personalities like Bill O'Reilly and Jon Stewart to tell them what to think about it.

For instance, a survey conducted by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation found that nearly two-thirds of Americans didn't know about the ACA's online marketplace. This was a major pillar of the ACA. There would be an online market to compare private vs public insurance options.

Or, scarier yet, people don't even know that Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act are the same thing. A CNBC survey showed that 46% of American's oppose Obamacare whereas 37% oppose the Affordable Care Act. ... Let that sink in. There's almost a 10% change in whether the public supports this act depending on what you call it. Just watch this video.

Conclusion? We're Screwed

As you can see by my back and forth ramblings, health care is way too complicated. No one is 100% right and no one can be trusted. We are stuck in one long terrible episode of the X-files, but the aliens are running the hell away because we look ridiculous.

Sallie and I didn't have insurance for almost 5 years and it was scary. Now that we do have insurance, I don't mind maybe giving a little more tax money so that other's can have it. Sure, some people will work the system like all those druggies that collect food stamps and welfare. Thing is, as long as there is a system, someone is going to try to exploit it. I'd rather know I'm helping that single mom with two kids rather than take a program away for everyone because there is a small population ruining it.