Why I Think the Obama Health Care Plan Is a Good Thing

Over the course of my adult life, I don’t think I’ve ever come across a political issue that’s caused as much debate and derisiveness as the recent discussion surrounding health care reform.

For the few of you who may not have already heard, the House this past weekend narrowly passed a sweeping reform bill that will essentially overhaul the current health care system.  Not surprisingly, the vote was almost entirely along party lines.  Not a single Republican voted in favor the bill.  That would be in addition to 34 Democrats voting against President Obama’s health care package.

As I checked out Facebook first thing in the morning as I normally do, I noticed just about everybody railing on the passage of the health care reform bill.  Most of the complaints came in two forms.  The first is that it’s likely to result in higher taxes and the second is that this is another example of government interfering in the lives of Americans.  I can understand why certain people believe this but I think this belief also ignores the real benefits of the reform.

Ignoring the discussion of cost for a moment, the bill will provide health insurance to millions of Americans who don’t already have or don’t qualify for coverage.  I don’t think this improvement can be emphasized enough.  The economy and the aging of America have resulted in a rise in the number of underinsured and uninsured in this country and getting health insurance coverage for most regardless of employment or demographic status is a big win.

Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that for most Americans who get their health insurance through their employer premiums would not be significantly different than what they are currently.  For those who buy insurance on their own, premiums are expected to rise about 10-13% but that most people buying their own coverage would qualify for subsidies that would bring their overall insurance costs down.  Again, some will undoubtedly see costs rise but for most to see little change in their insurance premiums, I think this is a good thing.

But we have to address the elephant in the room – cost.  Who will pay for this and how much will it cost?  Depending on which side of the room you choose to believe, the answers are radically different.  The Obama camp says that this will be paid for by reducing spending on Medicare and would actually result in a decrease in the federal deficit over the next decade.  Republicans on the other hand argue the deficit will rise and the value of the dollar will further drop as the government continues to subsidize premiums for millions.

Yes, taxes could go up for some but I think there’s an important, dare I say, socialist aspect that should be considered here?  There are a lot of otherwise healthy people who have trouble qualifying for insurance on their own.  That’s not even to mention the significant number of children who deserve basic health care.  Isn’t a tax increase for some worth the cost of getting insurance for all?  Isn’t there this notion of the greater good that should be taken into consideration here?

The debate over health care reform won’t end here or any time in the near future but count me as one who is happy that this bill passed.  The current system wasn’t working for too many people and reform was needed.  Time will only tell if this version of it will be the answer or this will further plunge us into the fiscal abyss.

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Author Info

This post was written by David Dierking. David lives outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has been working in the financial services industry for over 13 years with a background in investments, accounting, and marketing. He earned his Chartered Financial Analyst designation from the CFA Institute in 2004 and was recently published in the Milwaukee Business Journal. You can also check him out at The Ultimate Fit Challenge

12 Responses to “Why I Think the Obama Health Care Plan Is a Good Thing”

  1. James |  Mar 23, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    The straw man argument doesn’t work. If you set a goal of covering everyone, the next question becomes what’s the best way to do it. If you think this bill is anywhere near that goal, you’re in an extremely small minority of about 280 (all the dem yes votes). In fact, both liberals and conservatives hate this bill.

    The thought that we need to do this to get people covered totally misses the point. The Democrats ran a smelly process that gave us a smelly bill. It’d have been better to defeat this piece of crap, and vote in people that would pass something that makes sense.

    This doesn’t even consider the disgusting process it took to pass the bill. Back room deals, promises of jobs, horrible threats…bad stuff. All of this in the face of overwhelming public opposition. Whatever your political views, its apparent that Democrats have lost consent of the governed, and don’t care.

  2. Allen |  Mar 23, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    I love doing nice things. Noble things. People should have health insurance. Children should ‘deserve’ health insurance, but they don’t. It’s not in the constitution. Nowhere in the constitution does it say children ‘deserve’ health care.

    The constitution spells out exactly what our government is able to do, it is the document that limits their power. As much as we’d like them to do more, they can’t…or at least they aren’t supposed to.

    You can’t force people to do something because it is for the greater good. It would be for the greater good if everyone was the same religion too (there would be a lot less fighting and violence).

    Finally, the CBO’s numbers are complete hogwash. I will eat my hat if 20 years from now we look back and point to this bill as something that saved us money. We can’t keep spending money we don’t have, even for good and noble purposes. You would call me foolish to take title loans on everything I have and run my credit card as high as I can to take cash advances to donate to charity. It is foolish. We have to ‘live to fight another day’ financially to help anyone in the long run. No, this won’t doom our country any more than the other thousand cuts and nicks and burdens we keep placing on ourselves (the doomsayers are in full swing spreading FUD), but we have to draw a line. Our Constitution limits the power of government, and they keep ignoring, reinterpreting, or crossing this line over and over and over.

    No I’m not a ‘tea-bagger’, I’m obviously not a liberal, I’m not a republican, I’m just a plain old citizen who wants the government to exercise the same fiscal restraint that households should be held to. That households aren’t being held to common sense either is a separate rant.

    • David |  Mar 24, 2010 at 12:35 pm

      I’ll be the first to admit that this bill could drive the deficit higher and the value of the dollar lower but I also believe that the CBO is a relatively non-partisan (as much as is possible in Washington anyway) outfit and I’m hopeful that they’re numbers are reasonable. Like I said, time will tell.

      • Jeff |  Apr 01, 2010 at 12:55 pm

        The politicians know how to game the numbers, stop being so naive. The CBO uses the politicians assumptions, kind of like if I asked you to run over my budget and told you to assume that I would win the lottery next year so I can afford all the stuff in there.
        Paul Ryan, congressman from Wisconsin, has a great health Care Reform plan, based on the free market that doesn’t destroy the great health care system we have but does address some of the fundamental cost drivers in it. The cost of our health care system is mostly driven by government interference and so what does government do? Propose more government interference.

  3. David |  Mar 23, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    A knowledge of conservation of mass can be helpful here in understanding health care, and expenses in general. Some people are complaining that it will be expensive. Well as a country we spend an awful amount of money. What we spend isn’t important…what we get for our money is the relevant issue.
    In this case what we are getting is care for the sick and the nonrich. That’s something we have to pay for anyway as a society…via people going to Emergency Rooms if nothing else.
    The anti-health care movement and the Tea Party movement in general is a bunch of nonsense. The Tea party movement reminds me a lot of the Germans in the 1930s…mad and ignorant, and looking for a scapegoat. They also have a sympathetic media and a party willing to exploit them. What they don’t have yet is an evil intelligent leader, and hopefully they won’t get one.

    • Jeff |  Apr 01, 2010 at 12:58 pm

      Typical, you can’t stand someone having a different opinion than you so you resort to Nazi comparisons to shut them up and discredit them. Tea-Partiers are only asking for honest, fiscally responsible government that honors its oath to the constitution. I guess thats too radical for people who want the government to run their lives for them.

      • David |  Apr 01, 2010 at 3:03 pm

        “Tea-partiers are only asking for honest fiscally responsible government that honors its oath to the constitution.”

        Too funny. Certainly there are a percentage of them. However a large part of the movement is filled with anger. I don’t need to use nazi comparisons to discredit them…they use nazi comparisons to discredit themselves… it’s not uncommon to have Obama-Nazi references and they’ve been making death threats to politicians.

        Where was the anger from these people when Bush was starting two wars and was the most fiscally irresponsible president ever? However you feel about Obama, clearly the spending from Clinton to Bush was more dramatic than from Bush to Obama. The movement is a combination of tough economic times for some and inherent racism and anger toward a Black president. Sure there are fiscal conservatives, but they are not what keeps the right afloat.

        It’s the 21st century version of the Klan, and everybody would know it but that the Republicans know the Tea Party leans heavily their way so they remind mum.

  4. Dave |  Mar 23, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    James- You say “the democrats ran a smelly process.” What about the republican leadership that made a decision that they weren’t going to even consider doing what was best for the country…their only goal was to make Obama fail. That has been the stance. This is not an opinion…it’s not something that they’ve disputed if you dig deep enough.
    The public does not overly oppose the bill as you said. The public does not understand the bill, because it is being presented distortions.
    The public has thought slavery was correct. The public has thought segregation was right. The public (in certain places) thought the Nazis were right. The public still continues to think global warming isn’t a big deal despite clear scientific evident to the contrary. The public thinks the bill is going kill grandmothers. Bottom line…the public can be pretty stupid at times so maybe we should let the people that know the facts decide things…not the people that just get soundbites from the news.
    Allen- You talk about the constitution. The moment anybody mentions the constitution they automatically make their argument look silly. Why would we look at decisions made 200+ years ago to decide what to do now? Ok, it doesn’t say in the constitution that kids deserve healthcare. That same document decided that black men were 3/5 of a person. The constitution was just a document written by a few people a long time ago. It has good ideas and bad ideas, but they are all dated.
    All of these people that are angry about government spending… where were you when Clinton was lowering the deficit and Bush was raising it and rewarding the wealthy? Unless you were proClinton and AntiBush it’s hard to take you very seriously now.

  5. Fontaine |  Mar 23, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    “The anti-health care movement and the Tea Party movement in general is a bunch of nonsense. The Tea party movement reminds me a lot of the Germans in the 1930s…mad and ignorant, and looking for a scapegoat. They also have a sympathetic media and a party willing to exploit them. What they don’t have yet is an evil intelligent leader, and hopefully they won’t get one.”

    A bunch of nonsense? Movements are what this country is about. The tea party is protesting what they believe are high taxes and high gov’t spending. Your article started objective and then quickly turned into biased trash. If you state your opinion, you should at least support your assertions with facts. This site has been good for the facts, but after reading your article, I’m unsubscribing. The funny thing is, I’m not even a republican, or conservative in the slightest bit.

    You also state children need coverage etc. It’s obvious you have no knowledge of the laws that exist to protect children. It’s the adults that this bill is meant to protect.
    The Constitution contains the fundamentals beliefs from which this country was founded. And you question why we would use it now since it was written 200+ years ago? Why not abolish the Congress altogether and let the President serve for life? The Congress prohibits it, but those are just some silly ideas for two centuries ago.

    Your article was downright silly and insulting. That’s a shame because this site usually presents good fact – review of sites, ideas for retirement, experience with buying houses – that the common person finds useful. Your baseless assertions tarnishes this brand.
    *subscription ended*

    • David |  Mar 24, 2010 at 12:30 pm

      Let me address what I think is a simple misunderstanding here.

      The person who wrote “The anti-health care movement and the Tea Party movement in general is a bunch of nonsense” was not me. It was from a commenter who happens to have the same name as me. I have the avatar. He doesn’t.

      Although I’m not a supporter of the Tea Party Movement, I do not believe it is nonsense. If you look back to an article I wrote a month or two ago, I actually suggested that the Tea Party Movement was worth keeping an eye on and I believe that’s true.

      I hope you’ll resubscribe and continue to comment!

  6. Allen |  Mar 23, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    Dave,

    I don’t believe mentioning the Constitution makes my arguments look silly. I AM a black man who would have been considered 3/5ths of a man under that document. The brilliance is it leaves a mechanism to be amended, which it was.

    If the government should be providing children healthcare, then the constitution should be amended, giving the government the charter and providence to do so – not rammed through with little used political tricks and back door deals against the wishes of 50% of the country.

    I apply this same logic and argument to a lot of the stupid things Bush did as well; for example I opposed the Prescription drug plan he rammed through as well.

    Dave, people are elected to represent the people. This means to represent their wishes, not to represent their opinion of the publics best interests.

  7. Dave |  Mar 24, 2010 at 7:13 am

    Fontaine,
    There are more than 1 people in this world named “David”. It would be silly to dismiss the author of this article because you don’t like my comment and we happen to share the same name.
    However your inability to analyze facts (clearly the tone of my response was totally different than that of the initial post) and your rush to harsh judgment is exactly what is wrong with the Tea Party. Ignorance in itself is not dangerous, but combine ignorance with power and that becomes very dangerous.
    I continue to contend that just because we all had the constitution shoved down our throats throughout schooling doesn’t mean it’s some sort of bible. Ignore it, amend it…it doesn’t matter. The point is don’t use it support your argument and then later say that it should be amended. Health care should have nothing to do with the constitution. It should have to do with the current economics and the current ethics of our society. Come up with *modern* reasons why health care should be denied to some…mentioning the constituion is a way to say that you don’t have real reasons.
    Allen- I respect your opinions, but unfortunately the general public is not educated enough to make some of these decisions. You wouldn’t allow a child to decide things. Well we as a country are children. We don’t know the facts. Again, the amount of people that thought Obama was going to kill grandmothers proves my argument in itself. The amount of people that still think he is some muslim spy proves it too.
    The election system doesn’t work. People get elected because they are obsessed with power and have money from special interest groups to support them. This is true on the left and right. Politicians can never do what they know needs to be done (often raise taxes) because it looks bad. We wouldn’t be in this mess at all if it wasn’t for years of unaccountable spending…but don’t confuse GOOD spending (trying to get health care protection for all of our citizens, improve our nation’s infrastructure) with BAD spending (useless wars, tax cut for oil companies, tax cut for the rich).