Why are the Biggest Opponents of Obamacare Uninsured?

by Fred Siegmund

When I see articles about the new health care law, it almost always cites 30 million uninsured Americans, with the intent of the new law to extend affordable care to this group. The millions who have affordable care through their employer receive an immense subsidy.

The employer health care subsidy is better than income. If an employer pays $5,000 of my health care bill, that equals $5,000 of after-tax income. I would need to earn more than $5,000 to pay combined Social Security and federal, state and any local income taxes and still have $5,000 left for health care. Worse, those without health care can’t buy what their employer buys – a group policy. Individual care premiums mysteriously skyrocket to truly impossible amounts.

As someone who has the subsidy and gets affordable health care, I feel it is only fair that others have the same advantage that I have. Much of my support for the new law comes from that sentiment. That is why I have trouble understanding why the biggest opponents of the law keep turning out to be the victims of the current system: those without health care.

In a recent Washington Post article [“Health insurance mandate faces huge resistance in Oklahoma”, July 29] one person was quoted as saying, “There’s a sense in Oklahoma, and I’m not sure if this is peculiar to this state, but we don’t like people telling us what to do.”

I wonder if these people have jobs, because employers like telling us when to come and when to go, and what to do in between, all the live long day. Americans work without due process rights under a legal doctrine of employment at will. Americans can be fired or laid off at any time, with or without cause. Jobs in America come without free speech or rights of privacy. Employers can legally monitor and judge email, cell phones, arrest records, medical histories, credit histories, driving records, and demand drug tests, personality tests and psychological evaluation.

A recent book by Lewis Maltby – Can They Do That? Retaking our Fundamental Rights in the Workplace – provides a thorough review of these issues, but I wonder why these people accept a dictatorship at work and then complain about the government telling them what to do.

Another person said, “I don’t think the government should have the right to force people to do anything unless it’s following a criminal law or something.” The government wants us to buy the new health insurance for the same reason the states require car owners to have car insurance: uninsured drivers save themselves money at the expense of others who suffer the losses or have to buy uninsured motorist coverage.

In spite of an Oklahoma law that requires automobile insurance, the article cites a figure of 20 to 30 percent that go without coverage because “people sign up for insurance long enough to register their cars, and then, driven by poverty or a devil-may-care attitude, immediately stop paying their insurance bills.”

People without health care have to rely on the limited care from charity at free clinics or the willingness of hospitals to provide emergency care from life threatening sickness or injury, but they get no dental care, eye care, cancer screenings or preventive care. For the first time, even those from the devil-may-care school of health get a right to affordable care with rates adjusted to help them get the same subsidies I get, but still they complain.

The author of the article decided to go to some free clinics and ask some in the waiting room about their opinion. He talked to a 37-year-old father of five and a 46-year-old former roofing contractor with a genetic kidney disease who now washes dishes at IHOP, but they oppose the new health care law.

The more I read about the opponents of health care reform, the more I think of one particular thing: cheapskate.

About the author: Fred Siegmund covers America's jobs as part of work doing labor market analysis and projections for a client base of recruiters, trainers and counselors. Visit him at www.americanjobmarket.blogspot.com

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