Anyway, last week a guy who was one of the youth leaders of my high school youth group started putting up statuses with “hilarious” ObamaCare-related themes. It was literally stuff like, “is going to the hospital for some free stuff.” Each status got slightly dumber and was given with the promise of more awesome status updates from the same vein. One of the updates was even about how he got free stuff but had to pay for parking, which actually confused me. I’ve never in my life had to pay to park at a hospital.
Now, then, say what you will about health care reform in principle. Say what you will about the reform bill as passed. My intent here isn’t to discuss the reform idea itself. It is, instead, to discuss objective reality. Two aspects of objective reality, in fact:
First, there was nothing that could have been done differently the day after the bill was passed. It was simply a legislative maneuver.
Second, there is nothing in the health care bill that would lead anyone who actually knows a damn thing about the bill to think they could now “go to the hospital to get some free stuff.”
The bigger problem I see, though, is that the individual in question was not one of those mis-spelled sign waving tea partiers. He’s intelligent, capable, and college educated.
Last night, since I already had started in on this post and I hate attacking people who don’t know I disagree with them, I broke my number one rule of Facebook: never, ever respond to people’s stupid statuses. So I tossed this one up:
Hey, [person], before you get too much farther in your little orgy of anti health
care reform please try to answer a few questions:
1. When, exactly, did the Constitution of the United States get amended to
allow the President to write legislation? I am aware of various attempts at
health care bills written by members of Congress, but not aware of any
written by President Obama, as this would be a violation of the Separation
of Powers, and, therefore, unconstitutional.
2. How, exactly, is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
substantively different from 1993's Health Equity and Access Reform Today
Act, co-sponsored by 19 Republican Senators, including Orrin Hatch and "Kit"
Bond? I'll give you a hint: it's not.
3. How does a government mandated buy-in to private insurance coverage,
even with available government subsidy, amount to hospitals giving away
4. Where in the Bible does Jesus say, "Screw the needy. They're a bunch of
lazy pikers, anyway?" Was it before or after he told the rich man to sell
all he had and give the proceeds to the poor?
I chose these four points for specific reasons:
1. To establish that the person has simply been parroting talking points when making his posts.
2. Historical precedent. I chose Orrin Hatch and Kit Bond specifically because they’re still Senators and Bond has referred to the new legislation as Obama’s health care “take over” on his website.
3. Reality check.
4. I, quite frankly, don’t give a flying crap what Jesus said. I just found it necessary to establish that he doesn’t, either.
Either way, I got this response this morning:
love it but answer me this - how much in percentage or raw dollar did you pay in taxes over the past two years? when did national heathcare become a right? is it not aready possible to get heathcare based on need at the county level? if employers stop offering group insurance would you consider not working there? yes there are many things wrong with the system but why do i have to pay for everything? go to woodfield mall and have dinner on me but you have to pay the tax 11 3/4% when is too much tax regardless of Jesus' teaching? remember Jesus hung out with tax collectors the where as bad as the prostitutes! Jesus also said render until ceasar so people have always struggled with burden of tax. so i can bet you that the price of coffee at McDonalds would be cheaper if the judge would have thrown out Stella's lawsuit, her car had cup holders.
Note how this doesn’t actually answer any of my questions. I also love the implication that everyone will quit their jobs in droves the moment they get this mythical “free health care.” Because, really, I don’t have rent or car payments to make. And I don’t like eating. Or my television.
Also, what, exactly, does a private lawsuit brought against McDonald’s have to do with, well, anything?
Now, it’s entirely possible to make a principled and rational argument that the government should not be involved in health care. I’m pretty sure that the one I’m seeing above ain’t one of those…
EDIT: In case anyone is interested, here's my response:
Now, I'm not Constitutional lawyer, but I'm pretty sure that the issue of the "right" to health care was established with the Social Security Act of 1965 and its earlier precedents in the New Deal's Social Security Act and the Kerr-Mills Act and SSA 1965, however, was the legislation that established Medicare and Medicaid. Or, possibly, it had something to do with the Veteran's Administration, which has its roots back in 1778. My guess is that it has something to do with a combination of Article I, Section 8, Paragraph 1 of the Constitution, specifically the general welfare clause, in conjunction with the Ninth Amendment and probably the Interstate Commerce Clause, since that thing gets invoked for pretty much everything.
Second, you've established the availability of health care. It has to be provided and there is assistance provided at the state and county level, but its inconsistent at best and doesn't really go far enough. That is why the federal government needs to take some action on the issue.
Third, why, exactly, would I quit my job just to get not-at-all-free medical insurance? I'm pretty sure that medical insurance does not cover my rent or car payments, nor does it buy food or electricity. Also, I like my job. The issue at hand, though, is that many people don't like their jobs but have to stay because they don't get insurance otherwise or switching to a different job means switching to a different health insurance program that will not cover a pre-existing condition.
Fourth, where in, "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's," does one find, "As long as it's capped off at a maximum of 15% of gross income? And what does the fact that Jesus hung out with tax collectors have to do with anything? Jewish hatred tax collectors was due to the fact that they were corrupt, unregulated, and acting as collaborators with an occupying foreign power. The IRS is a heavily regulated agent of our duly elected government. Ergo, your argument is a non-sequitur.
Fifth, what does a private law suit have to do with anything?
*This is not to say that all of my Facebook Christian friends are dumb and hate filled. Plenty aren’t. It’s just that some are and they proudly flaunt it on their statuses. I’m apparently one of about three people on the planet who realizes that statuses are public and, therefore, not a good place to write things that might well piss everyone else off. Of course there’s the terrifying possibility that people who write disturbing statuses don’t realize that they’re doing it and that other people might read them.