According to Deseret News, in 11 months millions of uninsured people can start signing up for health coverage. The open enrollment for exchange plans is scheduled to start October 1, 2013 and coverage will begin January 1, 2014.
What does Pierce County and surrounding cities think about President Obama’s health care plan, the Affordable Care Act? An overwhelming amount of people are not in support of it. Doug Carbone, a Tacoma resident, commented: “I am kind of ‘on the fence’ with this one. Growing up in Buffalo (on the U.S./Canada border), I saw Canada’s universal health care take place. At first, it was great!! Then, the costs continued to rise as did the taxes. First, a national sales tax (V.A.T.) was added on top of the provincial taxes. Then there are the gasoline taxes. Gas is $5/gallon on average compared to $3.79 in Buffalo. This is going to cost us a lot and the services we get won’t be as good as Canada’s. Remember, someone has to pay for this.”
When asked how he thought the Affordable Care Act would affect him, Doug replied, “I will be retiring soon. My healthcare costs are going up no matter what. Maybe, it will help me. Our autistic son will be on Medicaid anyways. So, I hope it helps. We may be more benefited on it; I would guess.” Overall, Doug believes Obamacare will be bad for our nation, “I would say more bad than good. As I mentioned, costs are way higher than anticipated. I see higher taxes and lower wages. I went into a Home Depot the other day and the employees are swearing at this ‘Obamacare’; their hours were cut as to fit under the radar of ‘mandatory coverage’. I am hearing it all over town. It’s only going to benefit the poor and illegal aliens. It’s going to create a, ‘gimme society’ where younger folks are not able to afford healthcare costs and more of us baby boomers going into retirement. I have been a government worker all of my life and for me I will use the VA health system and my wife and her kids will use the Indian Healthcare system to offset our costs. My anticipation is to expect to pay more in ‘hidden taxes’. Look at our neighbors to the north with envy because they will then have a better health care system. I personally think the government should stay out of the healthcare system. I really feel sorry for the younger generation who may have to live in a less greater and more expensive nation than I did. I really hope not. It’s still not too late.”
Blake Burrill, a health insurance professional, commented: “I think it’s a pretty bad idea any time the government gets involved in the business of consumers; it’s very inefficient already. The bottom line is that it’s going to increase the cost of health insurance and there is already a 26% increase in the cost of some health insurance carriers.”
Blake commented on how he believes the Affordable Care Act will affect him: “It makes my job harder as someone who sells health insurance. All changes companies have to make to keep health care affordable. It’s really affecting the economy; some employers are holding off on hiring because the cost of healthcare costs more than to employ the people.”
Overall Blake does not believe the Affordable Care Act will be good for the nation, he replied, “No, I just think it’s a step in the wrong direction with the economic growth model similar to western Europe and interfering with small enterprise business.”
When Andrew Hill, a western Washington resident, was asked what he thought of Obama’s Health Care Plan, he replied, “What do I think of the Patient Protection and the Affordable Care Act? The idea that the government can step in and force its citizens to pay for something they do not all want is an offense against a free society and I find it troubling to say the least. What is even more disturbing is the government creating a new entitlement which will cost trillions while our economy is tittering on collapse.”
Andrew commented on how he believed the Affordable Care Act will affect him, “Obama’s health care is going to destroy the private health insurance industry. Since I’m a government worker, I suspect my current health plan will eventually be discontinued and replaced with a lesser plan offered by the government health exchange.”
Overall Andrew does not believe the Affordable Care Act will be good for our nation, he commented: “Obama’s health plan will be disastrous for the country. It will push the country over the economic edge; if we haven’t already fallen off it. It will destroy the ingenuity incentive that led to this country’s greatness and wealth. Overall I believe strongly it will do more harm than good and time will show.”
Tito Santos, a Puyallup small business owner, commented: “Obama deserves neither all the credit, not all the blame for the health care plan. Many of these ideas have been on the table for years before Obama. Obama was simply politically successful enough to drive the plan forward.”
When asked how he believed Obama Care would affect him, Tito replied, “As a struggling small business, it will make it will not make it any easier for me to hire.”
Overall Tito does not believe Obama Care will be good for our nation, he commented: “I think unemployment is blight on our society and that even though health insurance is important, it would be better to be working without insurance than to be unemployed.”
When asked if Tito had any further comments on the issue, Tito replied, “Yes, I think this entire health care plan is taking the focus off of more critical national and international issues such as our economy, the dismal high school graduation rate in some cities public schools, and those ideologies and systems in the world which hate the freedom of speech which we enjoy in this Country while at the same time they race to develop nuclear weapons.”
Jamie, a Tracyton resident, commented: “Obama’s Health Care Plan is not good. U.S. companies with 50 or more employees that work more than 30 hours per week are forced to provide health insurance for their employees. Many of these companies have cut their employees hours to 30 hours per week, to avoid paying for health insurance. These employees have lost 40 hours per month and are still forced to buy their own insurance.”
When asked how he believed the Affordable Care Act would affect him, Jamie replied, “Obama’s Health Care plan will affect me. My premiums will go up. That’s more cost for my employer; it’s less likely I will receive a raise. I will have to pay more for products, since companies will raise prices to compensate for paying for Health insurance.”
Overall Jamie does not believe the Affordable Care Act is good for our nation, “Overall, Obama’s Health Care plan is bad for our nation. It’s a competition between our country and the other countries like China. It will cost more for U.S. companies to make a product.”
When asked if Jamie had any further comments on the issue, Jamie replied, “Lots of people think they are getting something for nothing. We don’t get free insurance. We are simply forced to buy Obama’s insurance.”
Not all people are against Obama’s Health Care plan, Chartreuse Cabiness, an Enumclaw resident, commented: “Obama’s Health Care Plan is great for our country. If everyone has a Doctor and gets regular check-ups, this will cut down on cost in the long term.”
When asked how she believed Obama’s Health Care would affect her, Chartreuse replied, “Obama’s plan will provide me with a more competitive insurance plan.”
Overall Chartreuse believes the Affordable Care Act would be good for the nation, she commented: “Many poor people who can qualify for Health Care are simply too lazy to fill out paperwork. This will force them to find a Health care provider which they won’t have to pay for. These poor people will be provided with the proper health screening which will cut down cost in the future.”
Kristine M. Smith, a Tacoma resident, copywriter, and author, commented: “I think it’s a huge step in the right direction; I’d like to see it evolve into a single payer plan like Medicare because Medicare is so efficient and less costly. Why? For all the talking points mentioned ad nauseum by the pundits: it covers the vast majority of Americans; people cannot be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions; kids can stay on their parents’ plans until they’re 26; everyone who can afford insurance must have insurance or pay a penalty so the risk and cost is shared and no one falls through the cracks; preventative screenings are paid for so doctors can catch maladies while they’re still curable; there’s no limit on how much medical care you can have in catastrophic situations (you can’t outlive your health care); and so on.”
When asked how she believed the Affordable Care Act would affect her, Kris replied, “I’ll be able to choose the plan if the one I’m on now isn’t equal to it or better, or if the cost will be lower if I move to it. Relatives and other loved ones can no longer be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions.”
Overall Kris believes Affordable Care Act will be good for our nation, she commented: “Good, for the reasons stated above and others. I have actually read the entire bill. Plus my gut instinct is based on historical record: in the last 75 years or so (since FDR, JFK, LBJ and the Voting Rights Act, etc.) the Dems have pretty much always had the backs of middle class and poor people of all races, creeds and colors, whereas GOP representatives mostly look out for the folks in the ivory towers. I don’t want to see the 1% getting what it wants as a matter of course when so many other hard-working people are struggling just to get what they need to survive. I think the Affordable Care Act levels the playing field, since catastrophic health care costs cause most of the personal bankruptcies in the nation. If we can solve the health care cost problem and make it more affordable for all, our deficit will shrink automatically.”
Steve Lindberg, a Maple Valley resident, commented: “It’s a flawed solution for an already horribly messed up situation.”
When asked how he believed the Affordable Care Act would affect him, Steve replied, “Will it be nice? Absolutely. It’ll be nice lowering the cost of certain procedures or even getting certain health care related things for free. However the trade off that we incur is the price burden placed on the government. This of course gets related back to us in taxes. If you look at EVERYTHING the government has taken charge of, there are two commonalities. #1. A huge amount of money is wasted in red tape and bureaucracy. And #2. The quality of service drops down to mind numbingly horrible. Picture yourself sitting inside of the DOL…… Now picture that you have immense pain in your stomach, or are bleeding out of your ear and it’s actually the hospital, not the DOL. Ten minutes later…. Still waiting. 30 minutes go by? Still waiting. Then JUST when it’s your turn…. OH NO… Lunch time. “Well government tells us we HAVE to go on lunch now….. I’ll see you when I get back.” says the nurse as she’s walking out the door.
Currently, much of the health care industry runs off of greed. The opportunity to become wealthy. Greed is a nasty picture that we are given; but the truth of the matter is that greed is what motivates better service. The POSSIBILITY that if they serve you well…. You will come back and bring friends.
When you throw government into the mix, you suddenly remove any possibility for the common man/woman, to complain and ACTUALLY get anything done about it. This means that every government employee thinks that no matter how they treat you, or fail on customer service, their job is secure.
In conclusion, I think that what Obama has in his heart for helping the sick and needy is wonderful. And if it could be implemented by high quality people who knew they had to provide top notch service or be fired, it would work wonderfully. Each government health employee would work quickly, efficiently, and with their customers in mind. Government could tax the population with approximate amounts that they are currently paying for health care privately or thru their business, and would still have some left over to offer “top notch health providers” bonuses.
However without the possibility of firing due to poor service, or the ability to reward those who succeed in excellence, you will never have a business of any kind that works.
Overall Steve does not believe the Affordable Care Act will be good for our nation, he commented: “Horrible. Because of the lack of motivation for success in ANYTHING Government run (Yes Governor that includes you!) Obama’s health care plan will do nothing but put our country farther in debt.”
When asked if Steve had any further comments on this issue, he replied, “Dear Government. Until EVERY Government Bureaucratic position is paid according to how well the rest of our economy is doing, we will NEVER be able to right the economic ship. Many people in the working field took a 50% pay cut in the recession….. What did the Bureaucrats get? Cost of living wage increases? If their pay keeps going up, what reason have they for fixing anything? They make more as the rest of us have less to compete for products and services. Sincerely, Us, The People”
Alfred Newman, a Tacoma resident, commented: “I think Obama’s health care plan is a travesty and an impeachable offense against the nation.”
When asked how he believed the Affordable Care Act will affect him, Alfred replied, “The health care plan will reduce the quality of care provided and will be increasingly burdensome on the nation’s economy. We already have the best medical care available in the free world, and it is accessible by anyone who wants or needs it, even the homeless and illegal aliens.”
Overall Alfred does not believe the Affordable Care Act will be good for our nation, he commented: “Obama has already expanded the federal budget tenfold die to his illegal activities, cronyism, and outright incompetence. Adding another layer of federal waste is incomprehensible unless the goal is to bankrupt the nation.”
Whether you are for the Affordable Care Act, against it, or indifferent to it, Alfred poses a valid question: “If the U.S. Government cannot afford to pay out $15,000 in Social Security to those who pay in to the Trust, how are they going to be able to afford to pay for medical care for the entire nation?”
Those that want to learn about how the Affordable Care Act may affect them can attend a dinner program on Wednesday, March 6, at the University of Puget Sound Rotunda located at 1500 North Warner Tacoma, WA 98416. 6 pm the doors will open, 6:45 pm will be dinner, 7 pm the program begins, and 8:15 pm the program ends. Panelists will include: Claire Spain-Remy, MD, Senior VP, MultiCare Health System, Cliff Robertson, MD, Chief Operating Officer, Franciscan Health System, and David Flentge, CEO, Community Health Care. The cost is $25 for members, $30 for non-members, and $8 for those who wish to skip the meal and just attend the program. To RSVP for the “program only” rate, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Carly Calabrese, staff for Tacoma.com