In fact—if you have insurance—the more uninsured who live in your community, the lower the quality of care you receive. Again—if more people in your community are uninsured, your care will be worse. In other words, if you want to go to the places with the worst medical care, hightail it to states like Texas that are fighting Obamacare, making it difficult for their residents to figure out how to use the Obamacare insurance exchanges, and refusing to expand Medicaid. The insured folks in that state will get worse care than one with more people insured.
Before quoting anyone on that, follow the logic. Hospitals don’t have poverty wards; if a patient comes in the door in bad shape, they don’t do a wallet biopsy before deciding what care that person should receive—everyone at a hospital receives the same quality. But if a community has a higher number of uninsured, that means the latest and greatest technology and treatments will drive up the amounts of unreimbursed care. In essence, hospitals that provide the best, most modern, and most expensive treatments in an area with lots of uninsured will be forced to pass unsustainable amounts of cost to their prices. Insurance companies won’t pay it, local governments won’t finance it, and the hospitals will go out of business.
The only option then? Don’t provide the top-quality care to anyone—insured or not. That keeps the cost of uncompensated care down and lets the hospital stay in business.
I’ll be honest. I have no problem with Obamacare. I lived for many years in Massachusetts under “RomneyCare,” upon which it was based on. I never felt my healthcare coverage was unduly affected, nor felt my personal rights were under attack (likely because I always maintained my employer-provided insurance and the only added burden was filling in one line of my Massachusetts tax return with the number of my health insurance plan).
However, the case I’m building for resilience is not based on the particulars of Obamacare. Instead, it is the community benefit provided by expanded insurance coverage. For this, I don’t care if aliens come down from Mars, win Powerball, and then buy everyone insurance. The end result will remain the same: increased insurance coverage = decreased stress on the health care system = increased community health resiliency.
Resiliency is such a big, overarching issue. It involves everything from critical infrastructure to supply chains to social capital to ______ (fill in the blank). In one particular area of this issue, increasing the number of medically insured members of our communities will only add to the common good. Getting more people to not take their health for granted, to learn about their own and their loved ones’ medical vulnerabilities, and potentially care for themselves and others during an emergency can only INCREASE our overall resiliency.
The road taken in this journey matters less then the taking the journey itself. If responsible policymakers do not like the road Obamacare takes us down, I sincerely hope they provide a plausible alternate route.