When the Supreme Court approved “Obamacare,” most of my Facebook friends had joyful statuses about the ruling. And it is something to cheer about: millions of Americans will now be able to be insured; women will now have access to affordable birth control and not face gender pricing of insurance; and people cannot be denied insurance for a pre-existing condition, to name a few accomplishments. However, like the ‘rainbow drainers’* we are, my more analytical friends and I had more somber responses.
The Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional for the federal government to penalize states that do not expand their Medicaid coverage, which will leave millions of Americans uninsured. Medicaid is the public healthcare provided for very low-income people, who are disproportionately people of color. Now that federal penalties are gone, the southern states with the most low income people of color will likely cut Medicaid even more.
Those who vehemently reject Obamacare often either think it’s socialist or believe it is a huge waste of money. To start, it’s actually not socialist, not even a little. I wish it was. If that’s the word to use for affordable healthcare for all then feel free to add me to any watch lists. Secondly, why is affordable healthcare a waste of money? On the Forbes website, Avik Roy goes on about how this will leave us trillions in debt.
We really have to get to the root of the issue here, and it is a bigger, nastier root than just health care. Many Americans to believe that healthcare, education, and other social programs are luxuries. We are told that in order to receive a better quality of life, we need to work harder. How much harder can the working class and especially the working poor work? What could fool us into thinking that struggling day-to-day to make ends meet is somehow an enjoyable choice?
Many people believe that Obamacare is something like universal healthcare. Oh, don’t you worry, it is not universal healthcare! Although it does create some regulation of health insurance, the power is still in the same place, with the private insurance companies, who are given immense power over health in the U.S. Our health is still considered a business in this nation, and that is the central issue. As long as we see health care as anything but a human right, we will continue to leave millions of Americans behind.
I am happy Obamacare passed. I’m not trying to rain bitter hail on the those who were happy about the Supreme Court parade. I do start to wonder whether Democrats, or those who are of the liberal persuasion, see the flaws in the system. When I ask them, their answers typically boil down to either “This is a step in the right direction” or a defensive “Would you rather it didn’t pass?”
But I am asking everyone, whether rejoicing about or denouncing Obamacare, to get to the root. Do not let private insurance companies who care only about their own profits determine your health, or the health of this nation.
*Rainbow drainer is a term for someone who points out problematic issues (e.g., something racist, classist, heteronormative, etc) in literature, films/tv, and or events that others believe to be great. Picture this: You’re standing enjoying the beauty of a rainbow, and suddenly it starts to get dimmer. You then see me sucking down your rainbow with a straw. The rainbow’s still in the sky but you don’t think it’s as pretty as it used to be. Rainbow drainer’s don’t see themselves as destroyers of good time feelings, but those around them often wish they would shut up/put the straw down.