For Obamacare Haters, Everything Old is New Again

iStock_000018676450XSmallI’ve noticed an incredible sea change 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 I’ve noticed that the discussion has changed dramatically since the October 1st launch of what we’ve all come to refer to as “Obamacare.”

Waiting in line on one of my missions, I stood behind a woman who seemed to be about my age. She was talking loudly into her iPhone. 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. So when it comes to ACA complaints, I’ve been wondering the following:

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.  And what was supposedly horrible (the ACA) 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 reins and invite the working poor in.

Let’s not throw out the baby with the proverbial bath water.  We’ve come too far.

So ACA haters, here’s your red herring for the day. Many of the same problems you’re complaining about happened when Social Security and Medicare first came in. Medicare was so unpopular that the government sent people door to door to sign up reticent older adults. 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.  As I discovered, everything old IS new again. 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 to find out more about how things compare with the the ACA implementation today.

Amy McVay Abbott is an Indiana writer whose column “The Raven Lunatic” runs in a dozen newspapers and magazines. Amy specializes in health writing, with a passion for rehabilitation and disability issues. She also enjoys writing about politics, travel and the arts. Follow her on Twitter at @ravenonhealth, at her web-site or as  Bernadine Spitzsnogel on Open Salon.  She likes to hear from readers

A version of this article originally appeared at Open Salon.

Image via iStockphoto/Carlos Lijo

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