Why I’m Republican and Love Obamacare

It’s not only Democrats who love Obamacare. At least one Republican thinks health reform is a smart move.

OK, Money Talks News readers, I’ve psyched myself up, and I’m ready to upset a whole bunch of you. Yes, I am ready to out myself as an Obamacare lovin’ Republican.

I know some of you think MTN is shilling for Obama, but let me assure you if there is an editorial directive on health reform, I haven’t seen it. However, I have seen your reaction to posts by Stacy Johnson and Karen Datko on the subject and, as a freelance contributor to the site, I asked if I could add my perspective.

To be clear, the comments in this article are my opinion and mine alone and should not be construed as representative of the site in general.

I’m also quite sure some of you have your fingers hovering over the R-I-N-O keys so let me start by giving you my Republican credentials and political views.

  • I’ve never voted for a Democrat in my life other than maybe when I was 18, didn’t know what I was doing and voted for people based on how patriotic their names sounded.
  • I’m worried our entitlement programs have turned into a handout and not a hand up. Without better accountability measures, I think our current system traps families in a cycle of poverty.
  • I would love to be able to invest my own Social Security money because with the government in charge, I don’t think my money is going to be waiting for me at retirement time.
  • I’m concerned with our punitive tax system. We say it’s the American dream for everyone to make it big, but if you succeed, by golly, we’re going to take your money away and give it to someone else.
  • I think less government is better government, except in cases of life and death (which is where I think health insurance falls).

So that said, this is why I love the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare as it is so affectionately called by some.

I love that it will help ensure everyone has access to care

I’ve been reporting on health reform since before the law passed, and in the early days, there was a lot of concern about government death panels deciding who would get care and who would be left to die.

Well, we already have our own version of death panels: It’s called health insurance. If you have coverage, you get treatment. If not, well, tough for you.

True story: When my husband was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, the parting words of the doctor who did the endoscopy were, no joke, “I hope you have health insurance. Because you’re going to need it.”

Boy, was he right. When I called the cancer center for general information, they asked for our insurance information. When I made the consultation appointment, they asked for our insurance information. When we showed up, they checked our insurance information. In the middle of the consultation, we met with a finance guy who, that’s right, checked our insurance information.

And then get this. We show up for the first chemo visit, my husband is hooked to the IV and the nurse says she needs to wait a minute before getting started. When my husband asked why, she said it was because they needed to reconfirm our insurance coverage. My husband asked what happens if the insurance company says they won’t pay, and the nurse told him they would probably pull us back to meet with a financial adviser and they might need to change the treatment plan.

In other words, if you don’t have health insurance, you get sub-par treatment.

That brings me to the next reason I love Obamacare.

I love that it gives new options for those with pre-existing conditions

If you have only ever had insurance through your workplace, you probably think the health insurance system is great. I know I did when I had group coverage. But if you are one of the 5 percent of Americans who buy their own insurance, it’s a different story.

One huge difference is how pre-existing conditions have been treated under the law. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 limited the ability of group insurance plans to exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions. However, no such protection was extended to those buying individual plans. If you had a pre-existing condition and needed to buy your own health insurance, you were up the proverbial creek and without an oar.

Here’s my real-world example – one that helped change my view on health insurance. In the summer of 2010, in anticipation of leaving my office job, which provided our family insurance, I received a quote for individual coverage that was $800 a month with a $7,000 deductible. And that was the good plan out of multiple choices.

My husband was diagnosed with cancer a few months later and then our options dwindled down to exactly zero. Fortunately, a 1986 federal law – the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) – gave me the right to continue to buy my former workplace policy for 18 months. It cost $1,300 a month but, hey, what else are you going to do if you need coverage?

Then after 18 months, thanks to that same federal law, our insurance provider was required to offer us an individual insurance plan. This mercifully dropped our premiums to $800 a month but gave us a $5,000 deductible. However, we were grateful to just have insurance since my husband’s pre-existing condition meant no one else would cover us.

You may be thinking there were high-risk pools for those with pre-existing conditions, right? Well, in our state, you needed to be uninsured for six months to be eligible. That’s not much help to people who have immediate medical needs.

It may also be crossing your mind that people could just get a job or they should have gotten health insurance earlier or it’s such a small percentage of people affected that we shouldn’t bother changing the system. Maybe or maybe not, but again, we’re talking about people’s lives here. I find the attitude of “too bad for you” to be disturbing, particularly when it comes from my fellow Christian Republicans.

I love that it focuses on preventive care and essential services

On a different note, I love that Obamacare is requiring insurance companies to provide free preventive services and cover essential services.

I know mandates go against the pro-business party line, but as a Republican, I appreciate the fiscal soundness behind this strategy. It makes more sense to pay $6,000 a year to help someone manage their diabetes than it does to have them develop end-stage renal disease, which can cost upward of $70,000 per year per patient.

Same thing goes for mental health services which, prior to the passage of Obamacare, were not covered by 1 in 5 individual health insurance plans. Under the law, mental health and substance abuse services are essential health benefits and must be covered by all new health insurance plans.

Does mandating mental illness coverage increase our health insurance premiums? Perhaps, but I can’t believe our costs will go up more than the estimated $200 billion we are already paying annually as a result of untreated mental illness. And that doesn’t include the emotional price we pay when someone’s untreated mental illness leads to tragedy.

In the short run, paying for preventive services and essential health benefits might cost us a little more. However, after crunching the numbers, I like to think my fiscally conservative friends would agree, in the long run, paying for preventive care simply makes sense.

I love that it gives premium assistance to working families

So many government assistance programs are geared toward people living at or just above the poverty limit, and I love that Obamacare is extending some financial love to the working middle class.

Many people work long hours to make ends meet and stay off the welfare rolls. If the government is going to be doling out money – and we all know it is – I’m glad these families are finally getting a piece of the pie.

Plus, as with preventive care, I would rather give working families a couple hundred dollars a month to supplement their premium payments and keep them covered rather than have us pay for their emergency room visits.

I love that it’s a start … but I’m not convinced it’s the answer

Finally, I love that Obamacare is getting the conversation started. It’s not perfect by any means, but it has moved what is, quite frankly, a life and death issue to the forefront.

That said, I am not convinced the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is the answer to our health care problems. These are my concerns:

  • Constitutionality. Despite the fact I was secretly rooting for the bill, I was shocked when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it constitutional. While I understand the reason for requiring everyone to get health insurance, the mandate seems like overreach of government authority. My hope would be that if affordable health insurance becomes widely available, everyone would be smart enough to take advantage of it without a government requirement.
  • Government incompetence. My second concern is that the government may simply not be up for the challenge. Despite having three years’ advance notice, the online marketplace was and is a mess. It took at least 10 hours of my time to get my application in and, in the end, a technical difficulty preventing me from even being able to view my plan choices. Instead, I had to rely on a phone operator who had a questionable level of knowledge to explain the available plans. Couple that with all the people having trouble accessing their benefits, and I’m starting to wonder if the government is causing more harm than good.

So the law isn’t perfect in my mind, but at least it’s moving our health care system in the right direction — a direction that ensures we don’t leave marginalized people to die.

There you have it: That’s why I’m Republican and love Obamacare. Feel free to tell me why I’m wrong in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

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  • Linda Collins Atkinson

    That’s funny. I am a registered Republican who refuses to vote Republican until this Tea Party trash is out of the way. I love Chris Cristie, Ted Cruz and that other Republican garbage precisely because they are the reason there will not be a Republican in the white house in the near future.

    • eagle1jim

      What are all you RINO’s smoking? Obamacare is a disaster and it is only going to get worse. Who is going to
      pay for all of the 92 plus millions Americans out of the work force. Is the government going to rate them the same way they do with the un-employment figures? They don’t count. They can’t afford to pay for an expensive health care payments. You, the taxpayer will pay otherwise the fulfillment of everybody having health insurance is just another big lie by the Obama Administration.
      Wait till all the Baby Boomers go on Social Security and Medicare. They will have a real awakening. In the beginning, President Obama pilfered a half trillion dollars from Medicare to jump start Obamacare. Doctors and Urgent Care centers are not contracting with Medicare because the government is paying pennies on the dollar. In a recent out of state move my wife and I called at least ten or more doctor’s offices trying to set up a new internist with no success. The doctors were not accepting Medicare with a supplement policy. Unless something is changed, there will be very few doctors accepting Medicare patients which will be devastating for present and future senior citizens.
      In reply to your trashing the Tea Party, you should be ashamed of yourself for your ignorance concerning the Tea Party. What is wrong with smaller government, lower taxes, and more individual freedoms for all Americans? I call it the American way. I have been voting for the Republican Party since 1958 and this country of ours today is being torn to shreds and no one cares. I am disgusted with all of the GOP Establishment kow-towing to Senator Reid and President Obama on every important issue that comes up for a vote. Gov. Christie is no more a conservative Republican than I am a Democrat. Wake up America before it is too late.

    • Dale Nye

      That is funny, I am an Indpendent and will not vote for any Republican except for those in the Tea party. Might as well vote for a Democrat and those Republicans you speak of. The GOP is the reason they lose. Democrat light party…no thank you.

  • Janice Judd

    Obamacrap was never designed to work it was designed to CONTROL and HARM the American people and COLLASPE the U. S. $$$$$$ and while Americans are HURTING and DISTRACTED by obamacrap, Obama will be continuing to bring more harm and destruction to America.

    Obama is a traitor and a threat to America and our national security and has put in place through his traitor czars and nominees people that ARE and WILL bring HARM to us. Go to THE OBAMA FILE / CZARS and also INVESTIGATING OBAMA.

    Obama is a George Soros puppet along with most of his czars and nominees. George Soros is a COMMUNIST ATHEIST who is destroying America through Obama and his traitor democrats and probably some traitor republicans. Go to CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS / THE SOROS FILES. All of these people share the same values and agenda as SOROS, and some of them have worked for Soros before.

    Jeh Johnson in homeland ( and one of Obama’s ) is smuggling illegal children into the US and uniting them with their illegal parents. Instead of securing our borders he is HELPING THEM look at Obama’s immigration bill. And Cass Sunstein who is Obama’s #23 czar is a Jewish Atheist that in a 2007 speech at Harvard CALLED FOR BANNING HUNTING IN THE U.S. Look at Obama’s gun control. Obama has said “Cass is not only a valued advisor, he is a dear friend”. These are just a few of the things that Obama , his czars and nominees have in store for America.

    As long as Obama remains in office the more harm and destruction that he will continue to bring to America . Can America survive until 2016 with this traitor and all of his traitor czars and nominees in office ? Wake up Washington and get Obama out NOW !!!! obamacrap was just the beginning of the destruction to come. As Americans are distracted by Obamacrap, Obama will be bringing more HARM to America. Look at Obama’s immigration Bill and GUN CONTROL . Obama only wants to destroy America

    • wendyjoseph

      How has Obamacare affected you personally, or your family?

  • LeadProf

    While all of your reasons for favoring the Affordable Care Act are sound and easy to support, I am miffed by what seems a common theme among Republicans, and it is, that your appreciation for progressive legislation only becomes evident when a circumstance strikes close to home for you, as in the case of your husband’s cancer. Where is your sympathy and empathy for the millions of others though, who are not members of your family, who are able to improve their lives as a result of progressive legislation? Not that I find most of you disingenuous, it’s that you only seem to understand the plight of the poor and the needy when you yourselves have the same need.

  • MirrorMirror

    Shhhh! Do you hear that??? It’s the sound of Faux News NOT reporting this story 😉

  • Patricia Houghtalen

    I agree , some form of Medicare for all , using a base that is already working for years would have been the best way to go. Nothing will be perfect on the roll out and will always have glitches to be fixed but we cannot fix it until we have it and we have it now and the Affordable Health Care Act can be adjusted and changed to make it a more perfect program for all. ‘We just need politicians that can work together and like it or not the ones demonstrating the worse attitude towards the people because of their unreasonable and unjustified hatred of Obama are the conservatives GOP and Tea Party. They just do not want to allow any credit to be given to this President for any progress at all so they will work against the people to hurt him. Worse Congress in the history of this Nation and they will be recorded forever for all their failings out of spite.

  • Jenny

    Well said, well said! Fear is a very powerful way to control people. It is also a good distraction for the real motives a “party” may have. Such hatred comes out of so many Republican’s these days. Let alone those who claim to be “Christian Republicans” I just ask you this if Jesus walked the earth today who do you think he would have voted for? Remember Jesus believed in caring for the less fortunate & even the untouchables. So sad how many can’t see that message of love because of this thing called money!! We all live & we all die. 100 years goes by fast, an old person would tell you. Doesn’t everyone deserve a little love?

    • Dale Nye

      You are so right and that is exactly what Obamacare sells, is the fear that without it you will not be taken care of. IT certainly does reveal a party’s motive and agenda

      • Dan

        You should study FDR. He said it plain with his Four Freedoms… “We should widen the opportunities for adequate medical care.” It’s been right there since the 1930s.

        • Dale Nye

          I have, and his progressive policies just extended what Woodrow Wilson started. They also extended the great depression by several years.

  • Jenny

    What make you so sure that those benefiting from Obama Care are enjoying a “work free life” That is not the case in this house!! WE are taking better care of our selves & our children for a brighter tomorrow. Thanks for helping us out! But do know we will keep working hard for the company that is paying huge annual salaries to a select few instead of a decent salary to many many more!

  • prgprops

    Being a Democrat/Liberal I of course don’t agree with most of the author’s political view points and think the whole reasoning and perception of those perennial Republican viewpoints are completely wrong. But wow, it’s nice to see there are at least some Republicans out there who appreciate the importance and need for health care reform, and don’t hate it simply because Obama was the first president who succeeded in getting it through. In fact Republican presidents (before Reagan) like Nixon and Eisenhower were all for it, but couldn’t get it done. Sure, there are “bugs” and imperfections yet to be ironed out. But calling the new health law “Obamacare” is a misnomer, cooked up by the Tea Party think tank. What Obama originally had in mind was a lot different, and would have been far superior. The confused, flawed law we’ve ended up with is the result of considerable meddling by the special interests and “other political party” including it’s extreme wing, so it shouldn’t really be called Obamacare. Of course, they named it that hoping he’ll get the blame, for their screwing it up. But progress in this country is almost always a bumpy road, usually never easy and taking time, against all the headwinds of hatred, disinformation, and propaganda. At least we finally have a start.

  • 31viking

    I am always amazed at the ignorance of those who insist on presenting anecdotal info about how much people hate the health care system in places like the UK, Canada, and Sweden. Has it ever occurred to them to wonder why, whenever the Conservatives have been in charge they have shown no interest in repealing that system. In fact, in Sweden, where I lived for a couple of years, the Conservatives finally won an election by promising not to repeal the health insurance system. The fact is that in each of the countries mentioned any politician who ran on a platform to repeal the health care insurance system would be toast. Sure there are complaints. You can’t maker everybody happy, but the true measure of the system is the outcome, and by every measure the current US system is not doing well.

  • VivianM

    I am completing the process on Monday after years of being with several pre-existing conditions and living without coverage. It is refreshing to hear a Republican voicing common sense arguments in support of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare is the care the president receives and is paid for by us tax payers, as it should be). I would have greatly preferred a single payer system, but this is a start in the right direction, one that will undoubtedly save many lives. I thank president Obama for spending so much political capital on this policy, and for taking so much hatred and flack in the process.

  • Kelvin Frazier

    The question I always ask my republican friends is this. We get that you don’t like the Affordable Care Act, but what is your solution to the healthcare crisis in this country? You say you hate deficits. Well, healthcare cost is the biggest driver of deficit spending in America. So what’s your solution for covering the uninsured and bringing down healthcare cost? We democrats have been asking that question for 5 years and we still haven’t received an answer. It’s a lot easier to criticize a law that’s already in place than to put a detailed plan of your own out there and have it scrutinized and picked over with a fine tooth comb. Perhaps you are afraid your ideas will be even less popular than obamacare.

  • Debbie

    I agree with the author on Obamacare, but I am curious as to why she wants to invest her own social security. Social Security needs reform but mostly because it has been used as a piggy bank by both parties. However, I want there to be a safety net for us all to last our entire lives. You can invest in a ROTH or your 401k if you have one, but you will never have a guarantee of lifetime income. My grandmother is 97. Not the age I want to be when I find out I have outlived my investments. Social Security will be there for all of us for our entire lives unless the republicans have their way. Less government is better, but we need government for the things we want to be there for everyone regardless. National security, education, social security and now, thankfully, healthcare.

  • Debbie

    Medicare for all is a single payer system.

  • Wendy Scheffer

    I would really love it if I could afford the affordable insurance. In theory Obomacare is a great thing. My husband and I are the only people in our home. We grossed a whopping 38,000 last year. To get insurance will cost us approximately 350 per month with a 4500 each deductible. That makes the affordable insurance cost us 13200 a year before the insurance would pay anything. After that there is still a 20 percent co-pay. Someone please tell me how paying 34 percent of my gross income is affordable health care!

    • Well, Wendy, let’s start with this: what are you doing for health insurance now?

  • Dan

    What’s maddening is how so many people declare “failure” for a juggernaut that has barely even warmed its engine. We’re still in the early stages of enrollment and every glitch is “proof” that the system has already failed! We can’t even get an honest assessment of its true flaws because of all the distortion and lying in the media.
    Make no mistake, this ACA thing is HUGE and will quickly become a fundamental part of American life. Health care is now a fundamental need for just about everyone. It’s not like owning a yacht or NFL season tickets. The country’s mind has changed on this issue–and for two reasons. 1) There is care for just about every health problem; and 2) the costs are absolutely RIDICULOUS. The former pulls more people into the healthcare system and the latter is causing catastrophic economic disaster for most involved. SOMETHING had to be done. If conservatives and insurers didn’t want the Democrats to step in with a “big gov’t” idea, they should have fixed it themselves.
    This thing will be as much a sacred cow as social security and medicare are. If the GOP/cons don’t kill it RIGHT NOW, it’s all over. As people get used to it they will like it, not for its perfection but because it’s better than they had.

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