Day Four: The 12 Reasons Barack Obama is One of the Greatest Presidents

(12 Reasons Barack Obama is One of the Greatest Presidents Ever, by Matthew Lynch)

“He is for a healthcare system that brings hope and healing to the hurting. Obama’s healthcare plan has allowed uninsured Americans to reap the benefits of a universal healthcare system. A suffering child should never be turned away because his or her mother doesn’t have health insurance. To deny medical assistance to people who desperately need it is barbaric. Obama’s health care plan has placed America among the world’s greatest superpowers who demonstrate care and compassion toward its constituents with healthcare that serves all.” (Michael Lynch)

I couldn’t agree more—a suffering child should never be turned away. (Note to the First Lady: this includes Dontae Adams, the little boy injured by a pit bull and who then was refused full treatment thanks to a quiet program known publicly as the “Urban Health Initiative,” but privately as “patient dumping.” This program “dumped” poor patients on the community hospitals in Chicago “while reserving  its [University of Chicago Medical Center] own beds for well-heeled patients requiring highly profitable procedures.”

What about the 5+ million people who have lost their policies entirely thanks to the Affordable Care Act’s regulatory changes, and the 80+ million employer-insured individuals whose plans will also be on the chopping block this next year? While well under a million people have “signed up” for Obamacare (and of that number, even fewer have actually made the purchase and nearly a third of those who have officially signed up and received confirmation may not receive insurance after all), over 5 million people have lost their insurance all together. Still others—in the millions—are seeing massive premium hikes for the same, or less coverage. Proponents of Obamacare simply argued that for those whose policies no longer exist, that those losses are justified because those were “junk policies” and they’ll be receiving “better” coverage under the ACA.  (Though, those so-called “junk policies” were ours to keep if we so chose. Were they really “junk?” Talk to those who have seen their premiums double and/or their deductibles rise in a major way, for the same plans or similar. )

Wasn’t the entire point of healthcare reform to provide insurance for those with no insurance at all . . . thus lending credence to the president’s promise that we could “keep our health insurance” if we liked it? That is, that this was primarily to insure the uninsured? Well, we liked our plans. And we’ve lost our plans. And as we write the check for double or triple the monthly premium we used to pay, or as we suffer with an illness after having lost our coverage, we’re simply told that Washington knows best. Yes, Washington may have told us we could keep our plans, but since Washington thinks those plans are “junk,” Washington’s going to simply regulate those plans out of the marketplace. Some of the very same plans, I might add, that were far more attainable for the lower income set.

There are ways to have addressed the unique situations of the few (i.e. pre-existing conditions, extra coverage needs, etc.) without uprooting the entire system. I am certainly not saying we leave those uninsured people in the dust. I am, however, asking this: are we saying that in order to address that percentage of the population that struggles with coverage, that we’re going to make everyone else suffer? Hardly “fair.” There are better ways, including but not limited to: significant tax credits for individuals to purchase their own insurance on the private market, and a smaller “extraordinary circumstances” pool of funds for that truly struggle with coverage, and so on.

In passing and implementing Obamacare, we haven’t all the sudden, as Lynch puts it, “joined” the “world’s greatest superpowers who demonstrate care and compassion toward its constituents with healthcare that serves all.” We’ve been providing the greatest healthcare on planet earth for quite some time now. People flock HERE for treatment, because it’s the best.
I’ll illustrate: My father’s job as a pastor often means he spends many hours of his work week in hospitals visiting the sick and hurting in our church. As a result he’s often been to the world renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where he’s been witness to some of the world’s rich and powerful (on one occasion, a Saudi prince) gracing the doors of the clinic for much needed help. A Saudi prince has the resources to visit a clinic on the MOON if it were available. He can receive the best care from anyone anywhere in the world . . . and he chose to come here. Shouldn’t that speak volumes as to the system we already have? Indeed, many will say that the ACA was simply about access to that exceptional care. Unfortunately, the ACA’s effectives stretch farther than insurance alone . . . large swathes of doctors are either considering the idea or are already closing down practices, fewer people are going to medical school because they’re uncertain about their ability to pay back their massive student loan burden,  taxes on critical medical devices are part of this plan, and so on. This affects every single moving part of the American medical system as we know it today, and not for the better.

Contrary to the picture Lynch tries to paint, our children are not being turned away from desperately needed medical care. There are many institutions—St. Jude’s, for example—that successfully operate on private donations with a mission of never turning away a needy child because of an inability to pay. Similarly, just this past weekend a major television event was held on the Spanish language channel Univison for something called “Teleton USA,” a program launched on the foundation of successful ventures in both Mexico and Chile to build rehabilitation medical centers for families with special needs children—providing services free of charge. This weekend’s event raised $15+ million dollars in private funds to continue the construction of a San Antonio, Texas facility where any family can bring their child for treatment on the same premise as the St. Jude philosophy. These are just some of many not for profit, private medical efforts in this nation that are helping children. Beyond this, emergency rooms often treat whoever comes in (unless, as noted, you’re at the U of Chicago) if the situation is urgent enough, and still others—regular physicians and health care professionals—will do what they can to accommodate the poorer among us, regardless of cost. I once had a doctor who treated my family and I for free, because of our financial situation. Another individual, a dentist, gave my family the treatments we needed for free, indefinitely.

Mr. Lynch’s frustrations would be better focused the fact that REAL families with REAL conditions are losing coverage—and subsequently, access to the care they once had—under Affordable Care Act. Sadly, there are many people who don’t qualify for pediatric programs like those at St. Jude’s or the Teleton CRIT; people like Edie Littlefield Sundby, a cancer patient who lost her health insurance thanks to the ACA.

Obama gets no kudos for wrecking the world’s premiere healthcare system, and he deserves copious criticism for his not only failing to fix the real problem, but causing plenty more. He certainly hasn’t brought hope. This debacle has done nothing but bring uncertainty in many, many ways . . . even for those who now have “insurance” through the ACA. President Obama has instead made the Affordable Healthcare Act his signature piece of legislation, and with that has tacked his name onto the biggest affront to nationwide healthcare accessibility in history.

Sneak Preview of Day 5: Barack Obama’s Middle Class

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