The Raven Lunatic

Still trying to figure it all out

Bernadine Spitzsnogel

Bernadine Spitzsnogel
December 01
All material on "The Raven Lunatic" blog is copyrighted by the author. Author of "The Luxury of Daydreams"--available on amazon and all major book sites.


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OCTOBER 3, 2013 3:21PM

A Seachange of Attitude

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 I've noticed an incredible seachange in just the last 48 hours in my little corner of the world.  Living in a red state, I hear and see  the ongoing hatred and rhetoric about our President, Congress and the Affordable Care Act on a daily basis.

Today I had three errands, and at each place, people talked near me about the Affordable Care Act.  

But, the discussion has changed dramatically from Monday.

Waiting in line  I stood behind a woman about my age. She was talking loudly into her iPhone (I wasn't close enough to discern what version it was, but I could see the Apple.)

She complained to the person on the phone that a family  member was having difficulty logging into Indiana's Health Care Exchange.  

I don't know this person, but I have encountered a hundred like her in the last few months. I've worked in health care for more than 30 years, so people have always talked with me about their personal situations. And because I'm interested, I listen overtly and covertly.  

Imagine that you want the new iPhone.  Apple has been telling you about it for months.  

Apple was overwhelmed with the demand.  Seems everyone else wants it also, and your Apple store has a line that goes around the corner.

What do you do?  Do you stomp your foot in absolute rage and wish there was no iPhone? 

I don't think so.  What was horrible is now highly desired by the numbers of people who are signing up.  

It reminds me of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. I don't know anybody who likes the BMV (except the mothers of those who work there), but somehow it all works out.  And has improved in recent years with electronic signage and computers. 

It is wonderful that millions of people now have access to affordable healthcare.  It will be wonderful when the 26 states holding the near-poor hostage without a Medicaid expansion (including our dear Hoosier state) let go of the reigns and invite the working poor in.

Let's not throw out the baby with the baby water.  We've come too far.  

Haters:  here's your red herring for the day.  Many of the same problems happened when Social Security and Medicare came in.  

Social Security and Medicare are not perfect. But think about what old age would look like in our country without them.  

In August I spent hours reading the New York Times and the Washington Post newspapers from 1964 and 1965.  Everything old IS new again; here's the link to my article.   When I have the time, I'm going to jump into those dusty, virtual newspaper pages again and look at the time around Social Security implementation.


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Thanks for this, Bernadine - well put.
I'm a bit pissed off at all the 'overwhelmingly, Americans do not want this healthcare' baloney we've been feed for so long - clearly, lots of us do. Not a moment too soon for this country to have national healthcare and such a disgrace it is arriving amidst such a climate, even more of a disgrace in certain states to withhold healthcare from those who need it most.
Most interesting. Plus ca change, indeed.
But if you didn't have to buy insurance, you could get a new iPhone every month! Just think of the economy.....!

I am annoyed my premium went up, as I already hardly ever use my insurance. Glad I have it, because I have had to major hospitalizations that cost 10ks of $$. One was a low deductible and one was high, and ouch, that took years to pay off anyhow. I don't qualify for the exchanges, even if my student loans take up a huge chunk of income. So, my student loan repayments will have to go down.

I still think of moving back to Europe somedays, but my student loan will haunt me until I die and my education doesn't travel outside of the US and Canada. What are we paying for again? I'd rather pay higher taxes and have my education and my health care covered whether I am employed or not.
This post is right on the mark. People who are interested and enjoy history merely shake their heads when people spout nonsense- in exactly the same way those who spouted nonsense about Social Security did back in the early years. Change doesn't happen very often in one big bite. It takes several smaller bites. Thanks for the link.
Thanks everyone, nice to see you Dr. Spud. Oryoki, will you be able to get insurance that costs less? I've talked with several other self-employed people who will have premiums drop by half and get full coverage with all the essential health benefits. Of course our state is one of the ones where the rates aren't the lowest, we'll see what happens. Waiting to see if my husband's employer eventually drops spousal coverage. I see this employer thing from the other side also since I volunteer at a large medical rehab center and understand the huge increases in premiums even for self-funded organizations over the last 15 years. Ethical organizations can drop coverage for all (assuming the options are acceptable) and provide greater wages. Employers will still need to have good benefits to attract the best and brightest. Stay tuned.
Same is true in Massachusetts, I hear from my cousin. The funny thing is they had Romneycare there and it worked fine, but the website for Obamacare isn't much good. Just time for the bugs, I guess.
I have to say that Medicare is close to perfect. I thank LBJ all the time. It is a real reason to look forward to 65.
You may know Ms. Sptiznoogel that I've groused about the mandate .. and may well continue to do so, but I also thought back to the sixties, long before I was born but I've heard about it. I can imagine the outrage then over SS. Talk about communism! My mom could never live without it, and you can bet every grouser from those days collected theirs too. Should theirs have a ' ? Best I can tell, and this is hard to imagine, Indiana may be even more stuck in the past than Kansas and Missouri. I think ACA will play out for the better, eventually, but hope some future visionary politicians/lawyers keep tweeking.
If we expect something to be perfect the first day, we will never be happy with anything.
BTW, on Big Salon today, there is an article about past Republicans who would be too liberal for today's GOP. One was Nixon. In 1974, with the help of Ted Kennedy, he proposed a healthcare reform very similar to the ACA (and, according to the article, even more generous than Obama's). Just shows how far out of the mainstream the current Republican naysayers have moved.
I agree that in the future we will look back at these days as barbaric.
Good analogies. I'm convinced that a big part of the Republican's disdain for the ACA is the fear that it will work.
Fear it will work and make Obama the most highly regarded president of all time. Good one, BS! /R
Excellent points, Bernadine.

Social Security is something that most Americans take into account when planning how their retirements are going to look.What else do we think about? Our health. And as we are a rapidly aging society, you would think that affordable healthcare would be a desirable thing.

Oryoki - I'm an American citizen, but my daughter attended McGill in Canada, a terrific education (Canadians say Harvard is the McGill of the South, and you know they are a modest people). Even as an international student, her healthcare was completely covered. And for Canadians, to attend one of the finest universities anywhere... $5000/year.
I am with you, I would rather pay higher taxes and feel some security (that is what government can provide IMO), than live in a state of agitation about what I can count on.
Well done, Ms. Spitznogel. My brains are fried. I could use some health insurance. R.
That's pretty rich that the anti-Obamacare crowd are grousing about the difficulties in enrolling. It reminds me of that old joke that Woodie Allen cited about the food being terrible and the portions too small. I still like to think that this temporary madness will abate, though I wouldn't want to bet a lot of my own money on it happening anytime soon.
I hope the nasty attitude towards the president changes too. But I can imagine people signing onto ACA and being happy about it but still hating on him. The more I see of people......hey Chimo doggy, come here.
Great analogy. Hoping it all works out soon.
I'm loving the articles about how easy it is to sign up in Kentucky. Living through times of change is interesting.
I am so disgusted by it all I find myself talking about it at work and that is never good...I do not understand how we PAY them to screw us and they still have a job! We would have been fired a long time ago.
Great column Bernadine. Like most things in Republican politics these days, the conservative gripe isn't really over Obamacare -- just like the Tea Party movement did not ignite over concerns with debts and deficits -- which is why our national debates seem so lunatic. Everything is a proxy for something else.

Republicans fought tooth and nail against Obamacare, calling it a "government takeover" of the health care system when the real "government takeover" they were concerned about was the takeover of the government by victorious liberal Democrats, who turned white Christian right wingers out of the White House.

My guess is that the reason Republicans are willing to go to the brink of national insolvancy over destroying Obamacare is because it's the only thing on the agenda that polls well for them. People "hate" Obamacare according to polls, but what they hate aren't the health care benefits contained inside but the word "Obamacare" itself, which conservatives have spent hundreds of millions of dollars vilifying, with predictable results.

And so Republicans have convinced themselves that their path back to power -- which is the only thing they care about -- is to destroy Obamacare at whatever the cost. They justify the threats to the economy with the presumption that they are saving America from the far worse fate of continued rule under Democrats.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the Senator from NYC once said "America is conservative in ideology, but liberal in practice." He as instrumental in the the fight to establish social security, medicare, and medicaid, which ran into the exact some kind of irrational reaction as the ACA. The same scavengers come out to feed on the fearful and ignorant.
Hadn't thought about what it was like when Social Security and Medicare were implemented. Much as I know the providers hate the required level of care and lower negotiated rates and would rather collect what other insurance pays, I'm really grateful for my parents sake that Medicare exists. I'm also grateful for myself, I'd never have been able to afford their medical care and support myself.
Exactly, precisely, perfect. Thank you!
How'd I miss this post???? Anyway, you are absolutely right about how Social Security and Medicare were first received by the right wing. As for the ACA web site problems, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the Tea Party members were jamming the access on purpose!

I know this is late, but I'm old; Bernadine (if I may) we need to be absolutely clear here: There were no "sites" or "pages" in 1934, 1968 or even 1994 in my state of residence - Mass. People communicated and educated themselves through the Postal Service, telephones and dedicated government employees' knowledge.
Oh yes...there were fax machines in 1994 New England. That was Romneycare's "tech edge".
To Tom R. Saxe: Thanks for commenting. You are exactly correct. The technology we had in 1964 was pretty rudimentary and they still managed to screw it up! I'm not a particular fan of THE WAY we are getting improved healthcare, but I am a big fan of catching up to the rest of the western world! I'm guessing it was the same with Social Security but haven't had time to dig into the archives yet. Thanks again.
How instructive that none of the Open Salon regular anti Obama crowd has responded to this, truly, truly interesting, n'est–ce pas?

If any of them do [hey Gordito, Doc, LOUIS!!! et al] I'd appreciate their response to this bit of herstory:

The whitewash revisionist doublespeak that clouds their neurons depends on the Koch's $ and twists Hayek to the point of a Carnival Freak, but, the absolute and total hypocrisy [and miserly stinginess- Hayek was soooo important to Koch's lies, yet the billionaire wouldn't spring for an Old Country benefactor stipend himself, what a tight wad!] of everything they base their lives on. These are some highly deluded, credulous folks who have been hoodwinked, sapped, suckered and made the fool of. The Kochs and Welches are truly the Barnums of the last 50 years ... THIS MEANS YOU DOC VEGA!

Auwe (Alas)
I believe the big fear of the Right wing has always been the success of the ACA (Obamacae) not its failure. The phone sytem in NYC was overhwhelmed the first day because two million people (2,000,000) called in the first 90 minutes, wanting Obamacare. the demand for affordable, decent health insurance is massive and widespread. I've been criticial of the ACA for its concessions to Big Pharma and lack of a public option, but I agree with Paul Krugman and others that it's a start we can build upon.
I remember when Medicare was first introduced, AMA shill Ronald Reagan was warning that it would be a disaster, the end of American Freedom and the End of Civilizaton As We Know It. Knowing something about historicla context is a great advantage to understanding. Great post. [r]
I believe the big fear of the Right wing has always been the success of the ACA (Obamacae) not its failure. The phone sytem in NYC was overhwhelmed the first day because two million people (2,000,000) called in the first 90 minutes, wanting Obamacare. the demand for affordable, decent health insurance is massive and widespread. I've been criticial of the ACA for its concessions to Big Pharma and lack of a public option, but I agree with Paul Krugman and others that it's a start we can build upon.
I remember when Medicare was first introduced, AMA shill Ronald Reagan was warning that it would be a disaster, the end of American Freedom and the End of Civilizaton As We Know It. Knowing something about historicla context is a great advantage to understanding. Great post. [r]
Really it may take a day to sign up for healthcare. Boo Hoo.
Oh my God what if it took two days. What if I miss Dancing with the Stars or the Real Housewives of LA over this. Someone should do something. Maybe the NSA or Google could just transfer my information and confirm with an email when I am signed up.

The whining over Signup website is deafening. No wonder people from the third world find us repulsive.
I don't understand why there is the ACA/Obamacare, when there is medicaid and medicare for the poor, and those who aren't working. So I don't know why Obamacare/ACA is out there. Unless they are going to do away with those two.
I put up a little pic of lapel buttons from the era of FDR's intro of social security, "Say NO to FDR" and of later years saying, "Tell LBJ NO Medicare!", "Say NO to Socialism". People are reactionary. The more things progress, the more they loop back around again. Time is definitely not linear. I'm all for the ACA and can't wait to enroll as I have been without insurance for more than 3 years and it will be some time before I am eligible for that *other* social insurance, hah. I'm glad to have a net, frankly, and it's a lot of hot air to say that this is going to bankrupt the country. I think we'll have the radical Republicans to thank for that ::sigh:: and the ACA will bring relief to the broken system we are already stuck with - just give it a little time.
The critics of the ACA have a valid point. It does not work for the majority of people facing the problem of affording healthcare. There is all this talk about the healthcare exchange, and tax rebates, but if you are over 50 and have a household income over 60,000 dollars you pay a high premium with a high deductible. In reality you will still pay thousands in medical cost in addition to the premiums. Net results is nothing is gained unless you have a total medical blowout and still you end up paying over 12,000 dollars in medical bills, plus the premiums. What a deal.

For my situation in my state. Coverage will be 1,600 per month and will not even pay anything until I reach $6,500 dollars in cost and then it only covers 70%. And the kicker is neither myself or my wife have any pre-existing illnesses and zero prescriptions. From now until retirement we will have to fork out over 153 thousand dollars that could have gone into our retirement plan. And for what... nothing unless I or my wife have a total medical meltdown.

The estimate is 24 million will still be without coverage, but will have to pay additional taxes because they do not have this wonderful overpriced insurance. Who wins? The government, the poor, and of course the insurance and medical industry. Who looses? Most of the self employed and the new to be "private contractors" who will be kicked to the curb by their companies.
The "fine" is the equivalent of paying local taxes for the school district when I have no children. It's for the larger good - and in my case (over 50, with pre-existings) it is $95/yr. I'm fine with paying it if I choose not to participate in the program. It's the price of living in a civilized country. Just another tax, if you will. In the end, I believe overall costs will go down and I will see that money come back to me in other ways.

It is not going to be a 95 fee, it will be billions drained from the economy by people who will see no benefits. And for what to increase the profits of the healthcare industry which is consuming close to 20% of the GNP. Obama sold out the American people with the ACA in favor of the healthcare industry.

It is not affordable and it will still leave 24 million Americans uninsured and millions more with junk insurance that will still wipe them out if they get sick.
We'll see, M. Todd. We'll see.
Thanks for putting the problems of Obamacare in historical perspective Bernadine. Watch out for the dust next time you dig into those archives, however. Been there! On Thanksgiving I had to (silently) endure a lecture by someone who already got his with government-provided health care complain about what Obamacare was doing to employers and the economy. He offered no alternative to the 40 million who would have no access to health care if the ACA was repealed. Naturally.