I do have a close friend who is against a number of things that I am not. She is completely against vaccines, and GMO’s—so at least she’s consistent. She actually voted for Trump—and doesn’t think we should pay for other people’s healthcare, and education. This all makes me feel disappointed in her, because I know she is a kind, and intelligent person. And I suppose that sounds like I’m saying people who are against vaccines, and for Trump are cruel, and the opposite of intelligent. But, I don’t think that’s the case at all, and that is not what I meant to imply. I think in both circumstances, my friend has made her decisions based off a lack of information, and of a fear of losing something or someone. She has not vaccinated her children for fear that they will be harmed in any way by vaccines, and the information she has is only from one side of the debate. Her beliefs that people should fend for themselves when it comes to healthcare and education are there because she’s afraid she will be taxed more than she and her family already are, and again because the information she has is from one side of this debate. And I feel as though I am partly to blame. I don’t have enough facts on my side—on the opposite side—to give to her. I don’t know enough about my side, as she does for hers. When it comes to the best aspect of the ACA, I would tell my friend that it covers our vulnerable populations with federally mandated provisions, where as the AHCA does not cover these—pre-existing conditions, mental health conditions, and there’s no lifetime or annual limit on coverage (Kodjak, 2017). And I think mandating people to have coverage, is how we can keep premiums down, but the best chance we have at improving how the ACA works, is by implementing it.
If my friend were so concerned about her tax dollars, I would ask her to consider how much it costs to imprison a person compared to how much it does to insure them. We imprison people with mental health issues, and addiction instead of medically treating them. And I would also ask how much welfare are we giving in the forms of corporate subsidies and homeowner tax breaks, compared to food, housing, and medicaid to those in need. What is most important to me, would be to point out that we are helping the wrong groups of people, and I would suggest that instead of “improving the average,” we need to reduce the populations who are known as “high-risk” (Reigelman & Kirkwood, p. 10-11). I think she may have a hard time considering how helping others, would in fact be helping the health of her family. And when her children caught whooping cough, and were sick for months, they could have gotten another child who has cancer sick. And what if my friend’s sick un-vaccinated children put another child in the hospital, where the family couldn’t afford the care because my friend didn’t want her taxes raised?! I do realize this may seem excessive, and far too hypothetical—but I also think it is very likely. I think something else to consider, is if you believe in the right to bear arms, but you want mass shootings (or even domestic, and accidental shootings) to end, then you must also encourage accessible, affordable, and subsidized mental health care. Mental health care is excluded from the AHCA as previously mentioned.
Facts for my Friend;
- Average cost of California state prison per year; $75,000 (Thompson, 2017), other prisons can be as low as $24,000
- Average cost of Methadone treatment for a year; $4,700 (NIH, 2012)
- Average cost of psychiatric therapy for a year; $5000, if you go once a week, every week for a year.
- Average cost of college tuition here at Central it’s about 12-15k for myself.
- “Welfare policies are any government subsidy to a particular group of people to provide term with certain kinds of material advantages that they would not have, if things were just left to the market” (Wright & Rodgers, p. 253).
- Included under the Welfare umbrella are; direct targeted government spending, and tax subsides. “The main recipients of welfare are middle-class and wealthy people, not the poor” (Wright & Rodgers, p. 235).
- It is clear that when we provide education, and medical care, it is actually saving our tax dollars, and improving our communities, making them safer for all. So, dear friend, if your biggest issue is you paying more in tax dollars if you support Obamacare, I hope I’ve showed you that you are actually paying more now when you neglect those in need.
Wright, E. O., & Rogers, J. (2011). American society: how it really works. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.
Thompson, D. (2017, June 15). California Prison Tuition: $75,560 . US News Associated Press. Retrieved from https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/new-york/articles/2017-06-05/correction-california-prisons-costs-story
Is drug addiction treatment worth its cost? [Abstract]. (2012). National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/frequently-asked-questions/drug-addiction-treatment-worth-its-cost.
Kodjak, A. (2017, May 5). Obamacare Vs. American Health Care Act: Here’s Where They Differ. Retrieved July 2, 2017, from http://www.npr.org/2017/05/05/527092478/obamacare-vs-american-health-care-act-heres-where-they-differ