Regarding quality health insurance, health care: Obamacare policies/provisions:
Women and the middle class need Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, to be funded. It is already law, passed by Congress, and parts of it contested by Republicans upheld by the Supreme Court.
First, on policymaking, policy development: No new policy is perfect.Good public policies must be passed and then tweaked over the years. Obamacare is a good policy. It is not perfect, no policy is, but it is a good beginning to begin addressing, in a major way, our broken healthcare system and health insurance system.
There is a major problem in this country: lack of quality, affordable healthcare for all citizens. You take a problem and start problem-solving if you are a policy-maker, a lawmaker, a Congressperson. This problem went from bad to worse during Bush’s administration, and Republicans have not addressed the problem since Bush left. All they have done is obstruct and attack efforts by Obama and the Democrats to fix the problem. It is politics: the Republicans are focusing on keeping the Democrats from succeeding at anything, including improving the healthcare system. In the course of doing this, they are hurting this country, including the economy. It is the job of Congresspeople to develop budgets and policies to improve this country for all citizens; to make this union stronger, to make the federal government stronger, more efficient and effective, for the union, the greater good; it is their jobs to be wise and contributing statesmen, to debate intelligently, and compromise: to develop compromise bills. It is not their jobs to divide this country, create hostility, practice partisan politics, focus on “me and mine”, focus on getting elected, competition, winning, being right, being mightier than thou, lying and manipulating and making up stories. The end does not justify the means.
It is their jobs to develop comprehensive, effective, long-term policies, through studious consideration, debate, expert input…not piecemeal, disconnected policy. They have to be able to see the forest and the trees. Obamacare is the first attempt at comprehensive, major change in our healthcare problem, since Clinton attempts. The Republicans have done nothing since Clinton left office to address this problem. The problem has gotten worse. Republicans have complained that the policy is too long, thousands of pages. Actually it is necessary for a large, comprehensive policy to be lengthy. It has to include minute details on implementation, time lines, etc. You would not want a policy to be “short”; lack of clarity would create lots of undefined problems and unintended consequences.
You will notice that the Republicans in Congress now “running the show”, and that’s just what it is, “a show”, sensationalism, regarding the healthcare “debate” are men. Where are women’s voices? There is no intelligent debate and compromise. These Republicans value not compromising. They see compromising as being weak. It is not weak, it is strong for statesmen/women. We need to stand up and demand intelligent debate, give-and-take. Standing up and filibustering, talking gibberish, sensationalizing, lying, grandstanding, by yourself, is not debate. Policy makers owe it to us to not treat us like we are idiots to be dictated to. We don’t need dictators, rich people in the hands of rich lobbyists. We need civil, respectful facts, debate. We need to hear the strengths and weaknesses of this law, and how it will help all citizens, not just corporations, huge employers, drug companies, and insurance companies. Then we need to hear ideas/options for tweaking this already passed law, the Affordable Care Act. We need to hear all Congresspeople, after sitting down together and doing some hard work, tell us how they are going to work together to make this a strong policy for all citizens. The goal of this law is to make healthcare affordable and effective for all citizens. Do you believe that only rich people should have quality healthcare? It is time for our Congresspeople to also tell us what their values are, as the middle class is shrinking, and the rich are getting richer.
Under Obamacare, rates for men and women will be the same, for the first time. Previously rates were higher for women, especially women of child-bearing years. For the first time women will be able to obtain their own affordable healthcare policies, when they divorce, switch jobs(attempting to be upwardly mobile in this unequitable work world), work out of their homes as artists, writers, businesspeople, etc. They will be able to get healthcare policies when they switch jobs, get divorces, even if they have preexisting conditions. They will have stability in their policies even if they become seriously ill, or actually need to use their insurance (will not be dropped). If Republicans want to help women to not sink into poverty because of health issues, and health insurance cost issues, they will want this law to be fully funded. It is prevention. It is quality of life. It is insuring a healthy workforce, rather than getting angry when women and children sink into poverty and need safety nets. It is opening up more avenues for women to work productively in the home, be contributing members to this society.
If you are a Republican woman, because your husband is, you need to be aware that half of us end up divorced. You need to be able to get affordable, quality health insurance on your own! If you have preexisting conditions, you may have to stay married to that man. As an over 45 woman, who is dating, I can tell you, there are lots of men and women who have to stay married, but live apart and are dating, because they cannot get health insurance on their own: because of preexisting conditions or affordability, portability issues. All women need to think about what happens when/if you get divorced. All of us, unless we are rich, are one step away from sinking into near poverty due to lack of quality jobs for women, lack of upward mobility due to being married and raising children, health issues, health insurance issues. If you think this will not happen to you, you should think again. Then it will not be “those people”, it will be you.
Attaching health insurance availability to employers is not a good policy. We need options. We need to be able to get and keep insurance whether we work for employers or not, whether we are married or single. Men usually have strong, continuous work histories, with the same employers. Women do not. We are penalized for having children, paying for maternity care, staying home to parent, and to work out of the home.
We need competition in the health insurance marketplace. Obamacare will promote this. The huge insurance companies will no longer be megalopolies. For instance, I have Blue Cross as a federal employee. Blue Cross and other huge companies who control many healthcare markets will now have competition. Eventually, over the years, competition will make prices of health insurance go down. I can now choose to go into the healthcare exchange to purchase insurance, or not. I have CHOICES now. Hallelujieu! Or I can choose, for the first time, to leave employment by an agency, and work out of my home as a writer, and get affordable insurance! Choices! Affordable, portable, quality, with choices! And the benefits for me as a “senior” woman go on and on. About eighty percent of us do not have to do anything come October 1, with our insurance policy. But we can choose to change if we want to! Yes! Choice! Women will notice improvements in their policy coverage, including affordable maternity care. People, like artists and writers, will now be able to get affordable policies…More people will purchase health insurance and EVENTUALLY prices will go down for all of us; and on and on the positives go.
Another policy issue is that NO public policy “works” immediately. It takes time to implement it. Things go into effect over time, as does Obamacare. Something as huge as this policy must be implemented over time, and tweaked over time. It also takes time to educate the public on the policies and how to take advantage of them. We owe it to the public to give factual information, to help them navigate in positive directions. We owe it to the public not to lie, scare, manipulate for the good of rich companies. We need to help the public to be patient and know that the positive benefits will not all show up right away; to value delayed gratification. Some politicians need and want immediate results; immediate gratification, so that they can claim it for reelection and for their party: partisan politics. We need to stand up for good, comprehensive policy, that happens over time, instead of catering to politicians who need immediate attention and power and greed. We need to show that we value the middle class, middle class women, and those women who have slipped into poverty due to being undervalued, underprotected women: due to policies that do not help women, but actually hurt women.
We need Congresspeople who are problem solvers!; not negative, obstructionists. There are problems in this country. It is their job to work together, to listen to all factions, to experts, to read and study, and then use problem-solving techniques utilizing wisdom, debate, and intelligence. It is their job to promote a strong union, country for all citizens, and not fall into the need for power, revenge, greed, and partisan politics, and the need to remain a Congressperson, no matter what. We, as citizens, need to understand that we do have to consider “what’s in it for me”, as far as protecting us, keeping us out of poverty, helping us to stay healthy, but we also should care about others in this country, the strength of the country overall. Ignoring huge public policy issues, and promoting lies and anger, makes this country weak. Attacking other peoples’ policies, with no other ideas, options, does not work. Ignoring women’s issues does not work.
As in relationships, it is easy to attack, criticize, be angry. It is not easy to stay calm, think, discuss, study the issues, get help, listen to others, problem-solve: come up with options, ideas and compromise. But that is how we work together, solve problems, keep relationships and countries strong.