First, I want to say that I don't believe Obamacare is a panacea for the health crisis this country faces; it's not. I'm also not going to go into some highly-partisan diatribe, tinged with red or dipped in blue, that espouses all the supposed failings and successes of American healthcare reform. I understand that the system, as it stands now, is ineffably lackluster, a winged bird that can't yet take to the sky. And yes, I understand the failings of the current administration.
With all that being said, with the many catalysts for blood-boiling and irrational party politicking, I tell you that the system is a good thing. It's a good thing for two important reasons:
- I Can Afford to Care for Myself-There's a very real problem when you live in a society that doesn't value your right to live, especially when it's one that proclaims itself the Land of the Free. Forcing people to accept being sick over being well is the very definition of slavery because you take away any sense of choice. Interestingly, talking with my insurance rep today, I found that the most basic care plans marginally increased in price over similar plans last year. On average, they increased by a little over a dollar. The so-called "platinum plan", the creme de la creme, became more affordable, year over year. To put it simply, if I were making the same amount in December of 2012 as I am now, then I wouldn't have been able to afford the same level of care at that time.
- Life Doesn't Have to Be a Constant Risk Assessment-One of the strangest, most disheartening things I found about living uninsured was that I viewed everything as though I were a pencil-pusher at a risk assessment firm. "Well, I can't really go hiking because if I break my leg, how can I take care of that?" I'd asked myself. Of course, I don't plan on heading out to challenge a karate master or free-climb Kilimanjaro, but that's not the point. Life, from this side of the apocalyptic measures called Obamacare, is decidedly better, and I've known about this change for less than 25 minutes.
The debate before this meant anything to me, at least in an experiential way, was based around abstracts; it was based around what could be and increasingly inane politics. Having been granted something that a huge portion of the industrial world has enjoyed for a long time now, even if my costs will remain markedly higher than other first-world nations' for some time, feels more like freedom than any other occurrence in my adult life.
It's not an issue of political tilt. Were I Republican instead of more Democratic in my views, that wouldn't change the impact. You can debate all you want about the ethics, the costs, the fundamentally anti-American nature that the ACA exhibits, but let me tell you first-hand, until you've been on the other side, until you've tasted something fundamental that was previously denied, your experience, and thereby your authority, is truly limited.