Why do people vote against their own interests? (American Healthcare reform)


#1

news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8474611.stm

Last year, in a series of "town-hall meetings" across the country, Americans got the chance to debate President Obama's proposed healthcare reforms.

What happened was an explosion of rage and barely suppressed violence.

Polling evidence suggests that the numbers who think the reforms go too far are nearly matched by those who think they do not go far enough.

But it is striking that the people who most dislike the whole idea of healthcare reform - the ones who think it is socialist, godless, a step on the road to a police state - are often the ones it seems designed to help.

In Texas, where barely two-thirds of the population have full health insurance and over a fifth of all children have no cover at all, opposition to the legislation is currently running at 87%.

Instead, to many of those who lose out under the existing system, reform still seems like the ultimate betrayal.

Why are so many American voters enraged by attempts to change a horribly inefficient system that leaves them with premiums they often cannot afford?

Why is that Americans are voting against steps to provide free healthcare when its in your own personal and financial interests?

Before anyone argues about my use of the word "free" - the healthcare is free. You pay tax yes, but it doesn't increase when you go into hospital therefore you're not being charged for the care you're recieving, therefore it is free TO YOU. It's like paying the postage on what you order but not actually paying for the order itself.

The article might be from earlier this year but it discusses the reasons why people have been against it, from an outsider's perspective (British). This is where I'm coming from as a British person - I just can't understand why people are against attempts to make it "free." The issue of "Obamacare" is very much topical at the moment in the USA, and it's got us Brits talking again too.


#2

Yeah I've been wondering the same thing myself for a good year now with no real answer. Common sense would say that being able to provide medical care to the population would be a good thing. Part of the governments job is to promote the well being of the population which the delivery of health care obviously falls under but as soon as we start working as a team instead of this every man for himself mentality then everyone start yelling about communism. It's just fear mongering and people not opening their eyes to it really from what I can tell.


#3

[quote="LemonAndLime, post:1, topic:218280"]
news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8474611.stm

Last year, in a series of "town-hall meetings" across the country, Americans got the chance to debate President Obama's proposed healthcare reforms.

What happened was an explosion of rage and barely suppressed violence.

Polling evidence suggests that the numbers who think the reforms go too far are nearly matched by those who think they do not go far enough.

But it is striking that the people who most dislike the whole idea of healthcare reform - the ones who think it is socialist, godless, a step on the road to a police state - are often the ones it seems designed to help.

In Texas, where barely two-thirds of the population have full health insurance and over a fifth of all children have no cover at all, opposition to the legislation is currently running at 87%.

Instead, to many of those who lose out under the existing system, reform still seems like the ultimate betrayal.

Why are so many American voters enraged by attempts to change a horribly inefficient system that leaves them with premiums they often cannot afford?

Why is that Americans are voting against steps to provide free healthcare when its in your own personal and financial interests?

Before anyone argues about my use of the word "free" - the healthcare is free. You pay tax yes, but it doesn't increase when you go into hospital therefore you're not being charged for the care you're recieving, therefore it is free TO YOU. It's like paying the postage on what you order but not actually paying for the order itself.

The article might be from earlier this year but it discusses the reasons why people have been against it, from an outsider's perspective (British). This is where I'm coming from as a British person - I just can't understand why people are against attempts to make it "free." The issue of "Obamacare" is very much topical at the moment in the USA, and it's got us Brits talking again too.

[/quote]

Okay, I won't take you to task on the use of "free" (even though your explanation falls short). Instead, I will take issue with "against their own interests.". Everyone is interested in getting the healthcare they need, but there are a variety of ways to do it. To blindly vote for a national healthcare plan because it is supposedly in your best interests, is one way to approach things.

Private and Charity
Public - national
Public - regional
Public - state or local
Public/Private - national, regional, state or local and Charity
Etcetera

All of these are valid methods. Some of them are in line with Church teaching of subsidiarity. Some of them will increase overall costs and have an adverse effect on the economy. Some may reduce costs but have an adverse effect on our quality of care.

So, the question of "why do people vote against their self interests" is inaccurate. And, claiming that people are "fear mongering" or that they are "blind" is just political rhetoric designed to demonize one's opponents. I know what I favor, but not everyone is going to agree with me. I'm okay with that. It doesn't mean that those who disagree with me are stupid or blind.


#4

It isn't against my interests. I have good health insurance already and if I can cut out everybody who can't afford health care that means more resources for me.


#5

I think the main idea is that this sort of thing should be decided at the state level, not the national level.

For example, let's say you have the state of Texas. 2/3 of the population has health coverage, and 4/5 of children have health coverage. The state government, state senate, state house, etc. should take care of its people, NOT the national government.

You see, in the US, the Constitution limits the power of government, specifically as far as taking control of companies outside the government.

To sum it up, when the government takes over healthcare, it's like a giant business. The only problem is, the business has no end of money, a la taxes.

And unfortunately you are incorrect; American taxes WILL go up to pay for this new plan. It costs trillions of dollars on paper... imagine what it will cost when it is actually enacted! Plus, you will be paying for other people's healthcare through taxes even if you don't need it or use it.

So let's say you are a healthy person who decides he doesn't want to buy healthcare. You will not only be paying for everyone else's healthcare via taxes, you will also be fined for not having healthcare. So the freedom to choose against having healthcare is punished with fines and taxes.

Now, you may say "Well if you don't want to be on the government plan, can't you buy insurance elsewhere?"

But the answer is simple: since the government is offering coverage for free, other insurance companies will have to lower costs, meaning they will lose money and slowly go out of business. Plus, if you buy insurance elsewhere you are STILL fined by the government.

So you're paying for the government health plan through taxes NO MATTER WHAT, and you are fined if either you go to another non-government plan, or if you take no coverage at all.

It is a very expensive idea, extremely difficult to enact, and will further bankrupt the country. What baffles the mind is why such a thing would be done in the middle of a recession.


#6

It's because some people look beyond their own nose. Should we bankrupt the whole country just so I can have "free" healthcare? I don't think so.


#7

Just because something may be in one person's 'best interest' doesn't make it right.


#8

[quote="Tom_8_0_0, post:5, topic:218280"]
I think the main idea is that this sort of thing should be decided at the state level, not the national level.

[/quote]

Yes. Let's not forget that America has a long libertarian and "small government" streak. I'd suggest that tendency goes back all the way to the founding days of our country.

It's not that healthcare isn't important to those who oppose Obama's insurance reform bill, but usually it is rather that they think the cost of having the federal government oversee health care is too high and they'd rather the system be reformed in some other way that doesn't involve as much government control. Also, some people have serious Constitutional concerns about a bill that requires citizens to buy a particular service (health insurance) or be fined. Our Constitution is different than the UK's, and I think there's a decent argument under the US Constitution that this may not be permissible. (We'll find out how valid that argument is when the courts decide the pending challenges to the bill, I guess.)


#9

LemonandLime,

Have you even heard what's happening to people's premiums sense this bill was enacted? Everyone's premiums are going up. So not only are you having to pay more in taxes but you are also having to pay more in premiums. How does charging us more for the same level of service (or worse service in some cases) help us? The more money we have to pay out for this the less money we will have to pay for bills, food, clothes and anything else we might need.

This is not what the American people wanted. We wanted REAL health care reform. We wanted the problems in the system to be fixed. This plan will not do that, this is not what the American people signed up for.

Tom is right something like this needs to be done on a state/local level, not on a national level. Health care should be tailor-made to the individual and not just lump everyone into one system.


#10

[quote="Tom_8_0_0, post:5, topic:218280"]
To sum it up, when the government takes over healthcare, it's like a giant business. The only problem is, the business has no end of money, a la taxes..

[/quote]

The government already provides healthcare coverage via Medicare and Medicaide. We've heard earfulls of rancor and bile from the Republicans about the government providing healthcare while they screech about saving Medicare and Medicaide and lambast Democrats for proposing a decrease in it's funding out of the other side of their mouths.

[quote="Tom_8_0_0, post:5, topic:218280"]
And unfortunately you are incorrect; American taxes WILL go up to pay for this new plan. It costs trillions of dollars on paper... imagine what it will cost when it is actually enacted!

[/quote]

Raising taxes isn't necessary. The healthcare bill will cost $150 billion per year. The military can't account for 25% of it's expenditures which means that it doesn't need it. Decrease the DOD budget by 25% and shift it to healthcare funding and voila, you've got your $150 billion plus another $20 billion for a rainy day.

[quote="Tom_8_0_0, post:5, topic:218280"]
Plus, you will be paying for other people's healthcare through taxes even if you don't need it or use it.

[/quote]

Which is something we already do.


#11

I like how the question presents an assumption (that Obamacare is in our own interest) as fact and then asks why we don't follow the facts.

It's kind of a fun and dishonest way to ask questions. Why do people eat food that tastes bad (i.e. sushi, rare steak, etc)?

Why do people vote against their own interests (i.e. tax cuts and job creation)?

See how dishonest those are too? It's like you already debated and won and are now asking those ignorant people left why they cling to a defeated argument.

Obamacare is not in my interest. The original system was corrupt. Obamacare is corrupt too.


#12

[quote="Romanova, post:8, topic:218280"]
Yes. Let's not forget that America has a long libertarian and "small government" streak. I'd suggest that tendency goes back all the way to the founding days of our country.

It's not that healthcare isn't important to those who oppose Obama's insurance reform bill, but usually it is rather that they think the cost of having the federal government oversee health care is too high and they'd rather the system be reformed in some other way that doesn't involve as much government control. Also, some people have serious Constitutional concerns about a bill that requires citizens to buy a particular service (health insurance) or be fined. Our Constitution is different than the UK's, and I think there's a decent argument under the US Constitution that this may not be permissible. (We'll find out how valid that argument is when the courts decide the pending challenges to the bill, I guess.)

[/quote]

It's true, America has been libertarian for quite a while. Remember, the liberty-based Constitution was written in response to England's oppressive non-representative policies. So basically, this healthcare bill is doing something that England did.

Would it be surprising if Obama decides to tax iced tea?

Maybe Michelle will come out and tell us it has too much sugar.:p

[quote="EmperorNapoleon, post:10, topic:218280"]
The government already provides healthcare coverage via Medicare and Medicaide. We've heard earfulls of rancor and bile from the Republicans about the government providing healthcare while they screech about saving Medicare and Medicaide and lambast Democrats for proposing a decrease in it's funding out of the other side of their mouths.

Rancor and bile? Screech? Lambast? My *goodness*, I had no idea I was such a horrible person.:shrug:

Medicare and Medicaide have been projected to go broke in a matter of years. They can not sustain themselves. While they provide coverage for some time, they will inevitably fall apart and go bankrupt.

Raising taxes isn't necessary. The healthcare bill will cost $150 billion per year. The military can't account for 25% of it's expenditures which means that it doesn't need it. Decrease the DOD budget by 25% and shift it to healthcare funding and voila, you've got your $150 billion plus another $20 billion for a rainy day.

Well, Obama passed the DOD budget as it stands now. I still think if the states dealt with it by themselves, it'd be far more efficient.

Which is something we already do.

No, we're only paying for people who are on Medicare/Medicaide. If you're in a private plan you pay for your own coverage.

[/quote]

Ditto, Nec5!


#13

The US has by far the most inefficient healthcare system in the developed world, spending 2/3 times as much as comparable countries on healthcare yet having some of the worst outcomes. If it adopted a system similar to those in Western Europe or Australia it would likely slash costs.


#14

The Democrats had a chance to take measures to reduce healthcare costs, but didn't. Instead, they imposed coverage mandates on insurance companies and provided subsidies for health insurance for people who make up to $88,000.00. Of course, those subsidies might be illusory because the cost of insurance will go up significantly as mandates increase. In addition, they increased the number of people who will qualify for Medicaid and (at least said they would) decrease health expenditures for the elderly.

Not much to like in all that, and it's certainly not "free" for most people. It's no more "free" than buying health insurance was ever "free".

But then, it was intended to fail, and will fail. What this government really wants is fully socialized health care. Since Obama and Pelosi couldn't get that, they opted for a system that's designed to fail and be replaced.

And is "free" healthcare all that beneficial when you're paying for it anyway, in one way or another, when it might well be cheaper if you paid for it yourself? This is anecdotal, of course, but I sometimes see Amish in my doctor's office. They pay in greenbacks, actual cash. They get a discount, of course, because nobody has to bill an insurance company or the government. No billing. No collections. The Amish just pay in cash right then and there, and that's that. And I have seen Amish bargain with the clerks, too, and win. Cash talks. Of course, since the Amish do not believe in suing, the providers know none of them will file bogus malpractice claims either. So, cash money and no need to practice stupid defensive medicine. There's something to be said for that.

Amish are exempt from Medicare taxes and ineligible for it. They don't believe in insurance either, and don't pay for it. So who's getting the better deal? I say the Amish are.


#15

[quote="Kadaveri, post:13, topic:218280"]
The US has by far the most inefficient healthcare system in the developed world, spending 2/3 times as much as comparable countries on healthcare yet having some of the worst outcomes. If it adopted a system similar to those in Western Europe or Australia it would likely slash costs.

[/quote]

Easily said, but how does the math work out:

Shift the payment from insurance to taxation + increase the number of people covered + maintain the same level of care and procedures + government bureaucracy = lower costs?


#16

[quote="Kadaveri, post:13, topic:218280"]
The US has by far the most inefficient healthcare system in the developed world, spending 2/3 times as much as comparable countries on healthcare yet having some of the worst outcomes. If it adopted a system similar to those in Western Europe or Australia it would likely slash costs.

[/quote]

I'm not familiar with every European system, but I did do a bit of research on the French system.

First of all, you pay up front for health care in France. Then you apply to the government for reimbursement.

The French system is two-tiered. There is the public system and the private system. In the private system (about 1/3 of the total) doctors charge what they want to charge and people pay with private insurance or with their own money. Not surprisingly, the best doctors are in that system.

Some things are paid in full, but for most expenses there is a 20% coinsurance the government does not reimburse to you.

The government pays for medical school costs, so doctors don't have big debts to pay off.

Doctors make about 40% what they do in the U.S. Of course, French citizens make about 40% of what people make in the U.S. too, once you take all the taxes out of both.

Illegals get zero coverage for anything. It's cash up front or no service for them. And you have to prove you're legal in advance of being given service.

Malpractice suits are judge-tried only, and in special courts. Lawyers only get paid hourly fees. The government pays the government doctors' malpractice premiums. Malpractice litigation in France is far lower than ours.

Lots of medications are not covered by the government insurance. The government buys the meds, but that, the doctors' educations and their insurance premiums are not counted in tallying up the "cost of French healthcare".

So, want to give the French system a try if ours is so bad?


#17

[quote="rlg94086, post:15, topic:218280"]
Easily said, but how does the math work out:

Shift the payment from insurance to taxation + increase the number of people covered + maintain the same level of care and perocedures + government bureaucracy = lower costs?

[/quote]

You're forgetting the bureaucracy of insurance and pharmaceutical companies, which bring in far greater inefficiencies since their entire purpose is to maximise profits/increase costs. For example the US is the only country I'm aware of where the government by law cannot even *negotiate *drug prices, pushing costs completely off the chart.


#18

[quote="Tom_8_0_0, post:12, topic:218280"]
Medicare and Medicaide have been projected to go broke in a matter of years. They can not sustain themselves. While they provide coverage for some time, they will inevitably fall apart and go bankrupt.

[/quote]

Assuming that funds aren't shifted.

[quote="Tom_8_0_0, post:12, topic:218280"]
Well, Obama passed the DOD budget as it stands now.

[/quote]

Military waste isn't something specific to the Obama Administration. In fact, the day before 9/11, Rumsfeld was vowing to declare a "war on waste" because the Pentagon lost over $2 trillion.

[quote="Tom_8_0_0, post:12, topic:218280"]
I still think if the states dealt with it by themselves, it'd be far more efficient.

[/quote]

The States can't deal with it by themselves because they can't afford it. Many States, mostly Red, already rely on more Federal funding and grants than their tax base can account for.

[quote="Tom_8_0_0, post:12, topic:218280"]
No, we're only paying for people who are on Medicare/Medicaide. If you're in a private plan you pay for your own coverage.

[/quote]

And we all still pay for Medicare/Medicaid even though the majority of us don't use it.


#19

[quote="Tom_8_0_0, post:12, topic:218280"]
It's true, America has been libertarian for quite a while. Remember, the liberty-based Constitution was written in response to England's oppressive non-representative policies. So basically, this healthcare bill is doing something that England did.

Would it be surprising if Obama decides to tax iced tea?

Maybe Michelle will come out and tell us it has too much sugar.:p

[/quote]

When talking about early American history, the term "oppressive" often gets used to describe the British rule of the colonies. We weren't as bad off as other colonies in the British empire, or other countries in the world at the time. But our forefathers found what others might be willing to accept as not so bad, to be so very oppressive that they were willing to fight and die for the liberty they believed in. Patrick Henry cried, and the American people echoed, "give me liberty or give me death."

Our Constitution was written with that burning desire for liberty in mind. I don't know whether the courts will uphold the constitutional challenges to the Obamacare legislation, but I do think they are constitutional challenges well worth making. The USA split from the UK more than 200 years ago, and things that work in the UK may just not work here because of the completely different foundations of our governments.


#20

[quote="Kadaveri, post:17, topic:218280"]
You're forgetting the bureaucracy of insurance and pharmaceutical companies, which bring in far greater inefficiencies since their entire purpose is to maximise profits/increase costs. For example the US is the only country I'm aware of where the government by law cannot even *negotiate *drug prices, pushing costs completely off the chart.

[/quote]

I'm not forgetting anything, I just don't believe the government is less bureaucratic. I can't think of a case where they have proven this to be true.


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