Not Such a Bitter Pill

Whenever I think about health care reform, I am reminded of the song from the film Marry Poppins that goes “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” You would think from the way Conservatives are always blathering on about the moral fiber of America breaking down because no one takes responsibility for their actions anymore, they could use a spoon full of fiber rather than sugar. They warn about the dangers of the “nanny state,” and “socialist ideas,” and deride progressives for “being enemies of success.” At the end of the day, so the conservatives say, it’s a matter of personal responsibility and personal choice.

You know what? I couldn’t agree more. It really comes down to the choice between a thick glass of Metamucil or a smooth glass of sweet tea. Which would you prefer?

Having everyone take responsibility for their own health care started as a Republican idea. And by and large, Americans agree. But a new poll out this week showed many Americans still have a long way to go in understanding what the new healthcare actually does, particularly on the “individual mandate” portion and in the face of continued right-wing attacks on health reform.

Simply stated, the new health care law makes sure everyone takes charge of their own care and gets affordable insurance, because when people without it get sick, the costs get passed down to the rest of us. For health insurance to work, it’s necessary to include people who are healthy to help pay for those are sick. Under the ACA, you can keep the coverage you have. Or, if you don’t like your plan, or don’t have one, you can pick an affordable insurance option to take personal responsibility for yourself and your family.

We have a choice: Everyone can take charge of their own care, or the rest of us can keep paying more when people with no health insurance get sick. It’s that simple. And since nearly 90 million Americans took advantage of the new health law’s prevention benefits last year, it seems the many have made their decision.

Nearly 3 million seniors with Medicare saved $1.5 billion on their medicines, and 24 million took advantage of the new preventive care benefit last year. Nearly 4 million small businesses can now claim tax credits for providing health coverage to their employees, up to 17 million children with pre-existing conditions now cannot be denied coverage and 2.5 million more young adults who are now covered through their parents’ health insurance as they finish school or look for a job. I think Julie Andrews herself would sing for joy.

Over 60% of Americans support the individual responsibility provision after they are informed most Americans would still get their health coverage through their employers, and thus wouldn’t be affected by the mandate. These people understand that without it, their neighbors might wait until they are seriously ill to obtain coverage, driving up insurance costs for everyone, or that insurers could (and again would) refuse to cover sick people.

So maybe the next time some blowhard is complaining about Obama forcing healthcare down our throats, you can tell him we do have a choice – Obamacare, or a pill that is even more bitter to swallow.

Kevin J. Rogers, JD is the Policy and Public Affairs Director at Action NC, a state-wide community organizing and advocacy organization. He works extensively in the area of health policy implementation and advocates on behalf consumer access and protection. This post originally appeared on Action NC and the Progressive Pulse.

35 replies »

  1. Ahh, read this link and try to stammer your way through a defense of the mandate, oh lamer ones:


    Face it, the author is right, insurance purchase is NOT a commerce item, and, face it further, you can’t mandate reasonable and fair choice.

    Oh, and by the way, enjoying what this contraceptive mandate is creating across the land, lame defenders?

  2. If the Federal Government was required to comply with FASB 106 what would that number be? I have seen it argued that Medicare has always been pay as you go so there is no promise of benefit for those currently paying Medicare Taxes. The actual Medicare laws have no sunset so that would imply everyone is promised current benefits at current reimbursements, etc.

    If the government had to finally come out and openly admit we have 40 trillion in unfunded Medicare promises that would be the wake up for the public to deal with the problem. Assuming we aren’t as detached and Greece. As long as the Public keeps being told our entitlement programs are sustainable and they don’t have anything to worry about they are going to oppose change.

  3. This is an interesting critique on some of the growing discontent surrounding Obamacare. Although I don’t find it useful to engage in the bantor going on back and forth here, I would like to suggest that the author review the recent CBO release statistics regarding the financial unsustainability of Medicare. I don’t see how you can make an argument for Obamacare, which is likely to only increase the amount of debt accrued under Medicare. Be sure to look at the article below:

  4. I’ll repeat it more slowly for you from my earlier comment:

    ‘Look, Nate, the Poignant Mr. Rogers lost me at “Marry Poppins”.’

    I’m not interested in your lengthy opinions on this post.

  5. your inability to offer up even a single specific leads me to believe you don’t have any. Hope your better doctor then you are commentor.

  6. If we lived in a pure Democracy would you still be unconcerned about public dissemination of incorrect information?

  7. Coincidently this was near the top of another blog, guess I wasn’t the first one to notice the problem;

    “The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn’t so.”

    Some day I need to read up on more of my history, appears to be a pretty intreresting speech all the way through. The commentary on it is pretty point on;

    “Liberals are not very good at checking facts. Is it because they are lazy or willful prevaricators? I’ll cut them some slack here. I believe that liberals tend to get things wrong so often because they come to believe so much in their preconceived notions that they never question the actual facts behind what they say. Why bother to look something up if it “feels right” and you “just know” that it’s so?”

    Apparently this problem goes all the way back to 64. Who am I to cast stones, if I am to lasy to use spell checker every comment why should I expect the posters to actually bother checking their facts? Apparetnly we will be stuck with my bad typing and Liberals bad facts for a time to come.

    Unless windows 8 has some killer speech to text, that could change everything.

  8. “So, you are attributing that statement by inference to ME?”

    Not at all, I’m just trying to engage you in debate on the post, something that is starting to appear impossible. That was the last paragraph of his post which summed up his thoughts, I had an opinion on it and why trying to illicit yours.

    “But, again, it’s just a blog.”

    I had a pretty lengthing opinion on that comment that both you and lefty to chose to ignore in favor of attacking the messenger. Do you believe there is no harm in public misinformation? If so why do people go to such lengths to spread said incorrect information? If you step back and look at it for “just a blog” there has been countless hoursdedicated to it, by owners, posters, and commentors. Wonder how Matt and the others feel about just a blog dismission?

    Ezra Klein turned being wrong and spreading propoganda into a full time paying career, is that just a blog?

  9. OK…

    ” some blowhard is complaining about Obama forcing healthcare down our throats” et seq

    So, you are attributing that statement by inference to ME?


    LOL Or, yeah, because I challenge YOU, it axiomatically follows that I buy HIS schtick. Anyone interested can quickly find out my opinions regarding the PPACA.

    “see if you have ever actually contributed to a conversation”

    Well, our respective records here with speak for themselves.

    “except for you concern”

    Yo. I Be Down Wit’ Dat. Ya Feel Me?


    In fairness, I have to say I do appreciate the extent to which you more and more come armed for empirical combat. Just that, your Multiple-Time-Zones Over-The-Top pejoratives aimed at anyone with the temerity to take issue with YOUR Learned and Holy Pontifications (exacerbated by the chronic keyboard sloppiness) tends to nullify your points.

    But, again, it’s just a blog.

  10. I used that search function to see if you have ever actually contributed to a conversation, except for you concern in regards to spelling and grammer I couldn’t find any.

    Your welcome to engage in conversation related to the post but you don’t seem to have anything to contribute in that manner. Let me assist you;

    “So maybe the next time some blowhard is complaining about Obama forcing healthcare down our throats, you can tell him we do have a choice – Obamacare, or a pill that is even more bitter to swallow.”

    ignorning the blowhard remark, the author seems to think Obamacare is not the worst of possible outcomes. If we correct for his factual errors, the author not Obama, do you think that opinion would change?

    Its seems a pretty steep drop off to think Obamacare will 100% eliminate uninsuredom and noone will be forced to change plans. That has to be worth at least a couple points on the bitter scale no?

    Your thoughts Bobby?

  11. Y’know, there’s search function here on THCB. Search just “Nate Ogden.” you get at least ten pages of results. Beyond the clinically poignant spelling and grammar, it’s a treasure trove Memory Lane tour of ad hominem potshots at EVERYONE who posts articles here or comments on them.

    Like, EVERYONE is an ___________ (insert one of Nate’s favorite epithets).

    Gotta love it.

  12. Care to be specific as to the delusions or are you just in the habit of labeling things you disagree with to make them go away?

  13. I made two psych referrals this week, and neither was as delusional or inappropriately aggressive as Nate. Both were admitted.

  14. “As leftyMD noted, “it’s just a blog.””

    Is it? If this is “just a blog” when does it start to matter? When the newspaper picks it up is it just an article in the paper?

    When it’s on the evening news is it just a story on the news?

    What about when politician X bowing to public pressure proposes a bill, is that just a bill?

    What is public pressure or demand? Is that not an aggregation of blogs, newspapers, and TV?

    At what point prior to a law passing is the right time for the good people to stop standing by and do something?

    Most of the bad laws that have been passed in the past 60 years was because people that knew better either did nothing or not enough.

    When healthcare reform started heating up again around 2008 Insurance Companies were considered the main villain. The public had a perception that they made obscene profits and rich CEOs were pocketing 30 cents of every dollar. How did that misinformation become accepted fact? You talk to the public now and majority of people realize insurance companies are not the major problem, they pass the majority of the money onto Pharmaceutical companies and hospitals. The public is more educated and now realize if we eliminated insurance companies that would not solve the problem of what providers are billing. We need to reduce either the amount of care or the price per unit of care. If Democrats had succeeded in passing HCR based on insurance companies it would have been a complete failure as they were not the problem.

    History has a perfect example of this, Democrats tricked the public into thinking Medicare was to protect grandma from losing the shirt off her back. They passed a bill that ignored the large claims , which actually cost grandma the shirt off her back, and passed a bill taking control of the routine services that she didn’t need help with.

    If you go back and read the articles and comments of people like Ezra Klein it is laughable. if it wasn’t so sad. how misinformed he and his readers were/are. The idiot even called HSA sexist once because he wasn’t smart enough to read a summary of benefits to determine what they cover.

    Where does the misinformation of the public come from…..just a blog. Fix the problem when it is just a blog and hopefully we won’t end up with any more failed programs like Medicare or CLASS. Or public Housing, or COBRA, or Welfare, etc etc. An ignorant public is a Democrats dream, sorry but we are on to you now.

  15. Look, Nate, the Poignant Mr. Rogers lost me at “Marry Poppins.” Something we’d fully expected of you. No need to go any further. You can infer whatever you like from that.

    But, I am indeed a “Leftie,” net, I guess:

    – Write leftie (as did my Pop, Grandad, and late Daughter).
    – Bat both ways (better eye leftie, more power rightie; hmmm…).
    – Throw leftie
    – Play hoops leftie
    -Play tennis leftie
    -Swing the golf club rightie
    – Play guitar, bass, drums, and piano rightie

    Beyond those Heinz 57 physical attributes, I am smack-dab at the mean/median of the sociopolitical distribution, perhaps +/- 0.5 sigma given any particular issue (exclusive of non-plebiscite core Constitutional rights, which can indeed be spun either way).

    Solidarity, Comrade.

    As leftyMD noted, “it’s just a blog.”

  16. Here is another definition;

    “A conflict or difference of opinion.”

    The fact that PPACA requires those on Plans with Deductibles over $2000 to change plans is not an opinion or debatable. It’s a fact which Kevin got wrong.

    “Is it possible you always think you are right?”

    On the two points being discussed am I right? Always being right isn’t that hard if you research your facts before you open your mouth. Am I always right, no. Am I right 99% of the time, yes, because I research my facts before running my mouth.

    I notice Kevin, yourself, and the rest of the lefties don’t want to answer the simple question, was Kevin factually wrong on both points I raised and if so why does he refuse to correct his mistakes? Do you advocate for disseminating misleading information?

  17. “We don’t disagree over the facts, Kevin is wrong and refusing to correct his mistakes.” That is the definition of disagreement. Is it possible you always think you are right?

  18. No I corrected, your not entitled to your own set of facts. We don’t disagree over the facts, Kevin is wrong and refusing to correct his mistakes. Just because its a blog post doesn’t me we should suspend honesty and allow misinformation to stand. People read post and skip the comments all the time. Kevin should do the right thing and fix his mistakes. Why would someone knowlingly allow incorrect information to stand?

  19. Nate, we get it. You disagree. Your comments are longer than the stinking blog post. It’s just a blog – calm down.

  20. I was going to let this go but it’s probably the biggest annoyance of the left.

    “the effort you invest in tearing down the work of others,”

    I know when you use the word work it means the post or product you put up but right or wrong it implies actual work as well, as in effort. And to the last one of you when it comes to Liberals talking Healthcare Reform, Insurance, etc your lazy. It really bothers me to no end when someone that has no education or comprehension of what they are talking about makes up a bunch of BS with no factual basis then wants the result to be respected.

    If you had any respect for your work you would not have made the mistakes you did. How can you write an article on PPACA, specifically mention people can keep their plan, and not know PPACA has already forced millions to change plans and unless repealed will force tens of millions more to? It is PPACA 101, first day material, and you blew it. You didn’t put in the work to learn what you’re talking about and thus put out worthless work.

    Claiming PPACA will end the existence of the uninsured is just as laughable. How can you expect to be taken seriously when you make such foolish mistakes?

    If you want your work to be respected then put in enough work to get the basic facts correct. It didn’t take any effort to tear your work down because it was so poorly done. Cut and paste two facts from readily available internet sources and your entire work was meaningless ramblings. If I can disprove your entire argument in 30 seconds did you really do any work?

  21. “you fail to provide any factual basis”

    Please explain what is not factual about the maximum deductible being $2000 which will force the tens of millions of people with deductibles higher then $2000 to change plans?


    What about the fact that the CBO says 23 million people will remain uninsured under PPACA?

    There are two clear facts you seem to have ignored. Now we both know the reason you choose to attack the form of my responce instead of the facts is you were wrong.

    I would wager this is the point you stop responding, you will claim its the uncivil debate or your feelings were hurt but we all know its you were wrong and can’t respond.

    It’s very simple Kevin, back up these two arguments you made in regards to the facts I posted;

    1) “Simply stated, the new health care law makes sure everyone takes charge of their own care and gets affordable insurance,”

    2) “Under the ACA, you can keep the coverage you have.”

    Thats it Kevin, two clear and concise arguments you made, which are also two glaring errors I proved wrong, with facts, right there in the middle of my responce.

    Call on your JD to answer this, whats the best defense when accused of slander?

    Look forward to your next responce supporting your two statements.

  22. Nate – You seem to have quite a lot to say, though you fail to provide any factual basis for your comments, so let’s just keep this professional and not stoop to personal slander. Perhaps if you spent half the effort you invest in tearing down the work of others, and channeled it into composing a cohesive argument of your own design, more people may take you seriously. Not that being taken seriously seems to be a huge priority for you right now, but it could be a start.

  23. no concern about the 3-4 major factual errors that undermine his entire article but you do feel the need to comment on a typing error.

    100% inaccurate factual argument = typing error.

    Why would anyone question your inteligence?

  24. We don’t need them to fit on bumper stickers we just need people to be honest.

    Don’t claim you can keep your plan when you can’t.

    Don’t claim it will lower cost when it can’t.

    Don’t claim the birth control will magically be “free”

    Don’t claim a $750 penalty is going to convince everyone to buy insurance when it won’t.

    The problem is all the lieing to pass a bill that wont deliver half of what was promised. Do you think the public would have supported Medicare if they had known the true price and the trillions in debt it would bring?

    People are capable of making hard decisions as long as some clown isn’t clouding the issue with impossible promises.

    When we sit down with clients on the verge of dropping insurance we see the same thing. Employees want everything covered, don’t want out of pocket, and still want raises and good pay. When we show them, ok your premium for a single person is $700 going to $900, your share monthly is going to be $450 and to cover their increased cost your employer will not be giving any raises this year people are able to finally wake up and deal with it. Maybe it’s time they finally do try that generic drug. Maybe its time they did take better care of their health. Their decisions drive 99% of the cost of insurance, to continually shelter them from this only compunds the problem. Price controls, benefit caps, all these measures in PPACA are just more lies to allow the public to put off growing up and dealing with the problem.

    I had a client a few months ago that was getting clobbered with rate increases. We bought one of those soon to be illegal high deductible plans and self funded under it to see what was going on. One issue was an empolyee taking a $1000 a month drug because he doesn’t like needles and thus the $100 per month alternative. He wants “The Plan” to pay the extra $900 per month yet still expects his premiums to be affordable and not to share in that burden. PPACA doesn’t begin to address that problem.

  25. “who is fond of dissing all of “ignorant, naive, sheltered liberals”

    Well jeez Bobby when you ignorant liberals make mistakes like this;

    “Simply stated, the new health care law makes sure everyone takes charge of their own care and gets affordable insurance,”

    It’s a little hard not to. How stupid do you have to be to make an argument like this? The new Healthcare law doesn’t even come close to making sure everyone gets affordable insurance. That is without even debating the subjective term affordable.

    “The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that about 32 million individuals will gain health coverage due to the PPACA — about half of whom will be covered by Medicaid.

    However, about 23 million people will remain uninsured in 2019 — nearly half the 50.7 million today. ”

    If Kevin Rogers thinks 23 million people are a rounding mistake and shouldn’t be counted what am I to think other then he is an ignorant liberal?

    It’s not that I think liberals are stupid, its every time you open your mouth you show your stupid.

    Another gem from the ignorant liberal;

    “Under the ACA, you can keep the coverage you have.”

    Wow what rock has this clown been living under? Even Obama doesn’t try to pass this one off any longer. What the ;alw really says;

    “Set a maximum of $2,000 annual deductible for a plan covering a single individual or $4,000 annual deductible for any other plan ”

    My parents for example have a $5000 deductible HSA which they never meet but the high deductible keeps the premium low. Come 2014 they can no longer buy this plan meaning their premium cost will increase roughly 30% for a benefit they don’t need. How can Kevin claim you can keep the coverage you have when tens of millions of people with a deductible higher then $2000 will have to change? I see a trend, 10s of millions are rounding error to Kevin they don’t exist. Or he is an ignorant Liberal.

    “Or, if you don’t like your plan, or don’t have one, you can pick an affordable insurance option”

    Affordable by who’s measure, he keeps throwing this word out there but doesn’t support it. The fact of the matter is the only people that benefit from buying insurance are those who’s premium ranges with 200% or so of the $750 penalty. Otherwise your further ahead not buying insurance, pay the penalty, pocket the cash, then buy a guarantee issue policy when your sick. Lets say you have Chrons, MS, or some other illness that can come in bouts. Your premium if your older will easily be $4000+ per year. You can pay the $750 penalty, pocket $3250 per year, then when it acts up buy a guarantee issue policy for a few months to treat it. Then when it is under control drop your policy and do it again. This is the whole reason pre-existing limitations where created, people learned to game the system. But I am sure you ignorant liberals took this into account.

    “up to 17 million children with pre-existing conditions now cannot be denied coverage”

    Every time he opens his mouth the ignorantance just erupts out. Yes Kevin is technically correct that 17 million children cannot be denied, he ignorantly leaves out that now no kids can buy a policy. Where as before healthy kids and most kids with pre-ex could purchase a policy now none of them can, healthy or sick. Doesn’t sound like anything positive was accomplished does it?

    “Kevin J. Rogers, JD”

    Correct me if I am wrong but doesn’t that JD imply this fool is actually educated, or spent tens of thousands of dollars, or more, for a piece of paper claiming he is educated? Look at the factual mistakes he made, how can he represent himself as educated? You want to know why I point out Liberals are ignorant, see Kevin Rogers….JD as a prime example.

  26. Something tells me he would have lost you in the next paragraph anyway 🙂

  27. Have to agree. But, then we have our Nate, who is fond of dissing all of “ignorant, naive, sheltered liberals” who don’t see things his way.

  28. Love this site but FYI if you start a post like this:

    “You would think from the way Conservatives are always blathering on”

    I roll my eyes and close the window. You just lost the audience you are probably targeting.

  29. The problem with health care reform issues is that they simply will not fit on a bumper sticker or protest placard, irrespective of the partisan viewpoint.