Obamacare a panacea? Think again
This letter is in response to the “Other Linda” whose article appeared in The Union’s opinions section on Sept. 26. While I don’t know Linda Heilberger’s story, I do have an opinion about the conclusion that Linda Campbell reached regarding it.
I have been a registered nurse for 44 years, have worked without ceasing for most of those years and have spent a great deal of my career in hospital nursing. I agree with Linda that it would be immoral and unethical for someone to be denied life-saving treatment because they were uninsured. It also happens to be illegal for that to occur. First responders, emergency personnel and hospitals (among other health care providers) are not allowed to deny necessary treatment to anyone regardless of their ability to pay. Period.
More than once, I received a pregnant patient who had no compunction about calling an ambulance, obligating otherwise busy emergency personnel and charging the taxpayers $700 for the trip because she “thought her water broke.” As ludicrous as this might sound, those patients were not denied the ride and were received and assessed in the same manner as all other patients.
Health care professionals are just that — professional. We function under strict policies, procedures and protocols, and we apply them to all patients in the same and equal manner. We are required to do that. In spite of our efforts, not all patients can be healed — some receive treatment and are better for it, some live in a compromised state, and others don’t survive. Although I have always had medical insurance, I have on occasion had to decline treatments and procedures because I couldn’t afford the out-of-pocket expense or pay the deductible. What conclusion would Linda have reached had I died under those circumstances?
I have a friend who is uninsured and recently suffered a life-threatening illness that required several hospitalizations, a surgery and numerous expensive diagnostic procedures. He lives right here in Nevada County and was never denied any treatment he needed. His medical bills totaled more than $400,000. So I’m not sure how Linda concluded that someone died who would have lived if only she had insurance.
I don’t think any of us are prepared to predict how Obamacare is going to play out. However, it gives me great pause to know that politicians (not health care professionals) who can’t balance a budget, a president who has amassed more debt in three quarters of a term than all his predecessors combined and a government that can’t manage the Post Office think that in a few short months they are capable of righting something with the magnitude and complexity of the United States health care system.
Obamacare passed by a very narrow margin and only after the necessary winning votes were bribed or bullied from a few dissenters. It barely passed the constitutionality test by a 5-4 vote of the Supreme Court. And the majority of Americans didn’t want it. If Obamacare is the panacea Linda claims it to be, why isn’t it unanimously embraced?
Obamacare is just a few steps away from socialized medicine and it has been well documented that folks suffering from almost any medical condition statistically have a much greater chance of survival in the United States than in any country operating under a government-run health care system. Our system is not without its flaws, but we still manage to do a pretty good job. This is in spite of the tremendous burden the system bears due to thousands of illegal immigrants who have no insurance and no income. And those uninsured illegal immigrants receive the same care you and I receive. Yes, they do. The difference is they don’t have to worry about co-pays or deductibles because that’s all paid for by you and me. Doesn’t that seem a little incongruous?
Most Americans don’t know that built into this plan is a tax on anyone who sells an asset for more than $250,000. A 3.8 percent tax to be exact — on the entire sales price. For most of us, this will be our home. What do you think this will do to the middle-class families who have lost 50 percent of their home’s value and all their equity when they need to sell their home and pay 6 percent realtor fees, $4,000 closing costs, then an additional 3.8 percent to the government — all with no proceeds to pay these expenses? If you’re one of those people who bought 30 years ago and do have some equity — you can add capital gains tax to that. What is this doing in a health care bill? And one that is not supposed to be a tax?
Do all you Medicare recipients know that thanks to Obamacare, over the next two years, your cost for Part B will almost triple? It should come as no surprise that all this was planned to occur in 2013 — after the election — when Barrack Obama has what he wants from you — your vote.
And you think Romney and Ryan are after your Social Security and Medicare?
This is just the tip of the iceberg. You might want to read that 1,990-page document before you go to the polls.
Sue Jeffrey lives in Grass Valley.
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