spontaneousmusicalnumber asked:I really want to support the ACA, but a lot of the people in my school don't, saying that it would disproportionately harm the very poor. They cited numbers off of NPR's Obamacare cost calculator that show that it would be cheaper for someone with very low income to pay the fine for NOT having insurance than to pay for Obamacare. I can't find any sources to refute them. Are those numbers an accurate portrayal of the situation?
Um… kind of. If you pay the fine, it could be cheaper than paying for health insurance for the year. But that’s only IF - big, big IF here - IF you do not get sick or hurt at all that year.
It’s like saying it’s cheaper to own a bicycle than to buy a car. It’s technically true, but for most people the benefits of owning a car outweigh the money you lose by not biking everywhere. That’s actually kind of the basis of our entire economy: You pay money for something that is ostensibly worth more to you than just having the cash.
To me, the argument that anybody doesn’t need health insurance is wrong. It doesn’t matter how young and healthy you are, or how often you exercise and eat organic vegetables - you can still get hit by a car crossing the street. You can still get a staph infection. You can still catch a really bad stomach flu. You can still develop cancer or a mental illness or have a really bad UTI or slice your hand open while you’re chopping up the herbs you grew in your backyard.
That doesn’t mean all of those things (or any of those things) will definitely happen to you in the next 12 calendar months. So, yes, for some people, it would be cheaper to pay the fine than to have insurance. Assuming, of course, they had a crystal ball of any and all future health problems, so they know exactly when to buy and cancel their insurance. Which they don’t, so they should shut up and buy health insurance.
I would encourage you to ask your classmates whether THEY have questioned any of “the very poor” as to whether or not they want the Affordable Care Act. I think they’d be surprised to learn that poor people would rather pay a little extra over the fine amount and be able to see a doctor.
Let’s not forget that one uninsured emergency trip to a doctor can make even a financially stable person VERY POOR! Health insurance is a safety precaution, not just for your health, but for your wallet.