“When President Obama signed health care overhaul into law Tuesday, did he fulfill a campaign promise to "bring health care to all?"
The short answer is no. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the overhaul law, as it expected to be amended by House fixes, would eventually cover 32 million more Americans. But that would leave 23 million that would still be uninsured by 2019.”
23 million uncovered sure seems to be less than “universal coverage” to me. So who are the 23 million? I’m glad you asked that question. Well let’s start with everyone’s favorite scapegoat, undocumented workers. One of the first groups to be tossed from the program (even before there was a program) were an estimated 7 million undocumented workers who, while they may be providing a benefit to the country (certainly to the employers who hire them and the communities in which they live and shop) have been deemed unworthy of healthcare coverage under our shiny new “universal” health care law. But then again, they have grown accustomed to the ERs and community clinics or simply hoping they can outlast the infection with some aspirin and prayer.
That still leaves another 16 million who will not be covered for a variety of reasons. Some, mostly young adults who don’t believe that they will be in any immediate need of major healthcare coverage, will simply choose to pay the IRS imposed annual fine rather than monthly premiums. Yet others will be exempt due to religious objections, or if they are American Indians or if they are simply between coverage for less than three months. And then there will be my favorite category:
"Some people will be exempt from the mandate to purchase coverage because they will be unable to find affordable coverage," Jennifer Tolbert, the principle policy analyst at the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, told us. (KHN is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation.)
That includes a large group of people of limited means who would be exempt from the individual mandate to get insurance. These folks wouldn't have to pay a penalty for going without insurance if the cheapest available plan would chew up more than 8 percent of their income. People whose income falls below the threshold for filing a tax return with the IRS also get a pass. The problem is that some of these people might earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.”
Yep, that’s right, the folks who most need access to health care – the poor and underprivileged will not benefit from this historic “Socialist” health care reform because they will not be able to afford the most basic private plan and our Democratic leaders decided there should be no public option to serve as a real safety net for our most needy.
And so, while many will be headed out to rallies and celebrations of the great Democratic victory over the Republicans and the Tea Baggers, remember that, while you certainly should defend against the absurd charges of Socialism and Government Takeover of health care; please do not counter with the equally absurd claim of “Universal Health Care for All”.
Chad (The Left) Shue