With the repeal of the Affordable Care Act currently in progress, I have seen over FB several people proclaiming the glorious advantages of the ACA and how they survived horrendous circumstances that they would not have otherwise survived without the services made available of said ACA. Or the inverse, family members facing death because they can't afford the costs to combat similar horrendous circumstances because of their lack of access to affordable healthcare.
These individual stories are called anecdotes. Anecdotes are a single data point and being an individual data point (in this example, "The ACA is good!") there is no context, which in statistics context means trend, thus pointing you to a conclusion. A good way to describe anecdotal evidence is, "when your neighbor loses their job, it's a recession. When you lose your job, it's a depression."
I, too, have my own anecdotal data point on the ACA. In my prior job I worked at a small non-profit agency and I made $15/hour. Because this job was a 30% pay cut from the job before that, my take-home pay was literally 95% of my expenses. That meant I ran out of money before the end of the month, every month. I fell very far behind in all of my bills. I got utility cut-off notices every month. I came within hours of having my car repossessed. The monthly expenses did not include health care. Just to make ends meet, I had to hustle side work and/or skipping meals. If someone in the family needed something not in the budget, I had to increase my hustle, go hungry even more, or they didn't get it. By the way, the side work wasn't very consistent, so a lot of days I got by with a breakfast shake in the morning and maybe a Cup O' Noodles for lunch, then a thin dinner. If I wanted to have insurance through my employer for my wife by herself (because she needed it a lot more than I did), my portion would have been $600 a month. That would have been 28% of my take-home pay, on par with my house note.
So, I researched getting insurance under the ACA. The best plan I could find would have cost me $60 a month (remember, I'm already coming up short about $100 every month) and the deductible was $4,000. According to my trusty calculator, that meant I would have to spend $330 a month on health care, every month before the health care plan would start paying anything. Now who on God's green Earth could "afford" health care like that?
Some people have told me, "The ACA would have kicked in if you would have something catastrophic." Let me say, because I couldn't come up with the first $4,000 an event like that would have bankrupted me regardless.
My opposition to the ACA is not based on jealousy on another getting health care, nor my own inability to catch that brass ring. I did not determine my position for this based on anecdotal evidence, but rather on statistical evidence. I looked at the country as a whole to see how the country fared under this crushing mandate. The proper term for this is Pareto maximized, or Pareto efficiency. Here is a basic description of this term:
Pareto improvement is defined to be a change to a different allocation that makes at least one individual better off without making any other individual worse off, given a certain initial allocation of goods among a set of individuals.
While we are seeing anecdotal evidence that the ACA helped people, we are seeing statistical evidence that millions of people lost health care and tens of thousands more were transitioned to part-time work. On top of that, because the number of paying enrollees were overestimated by several million, the anticipated income from those enrollees did not occur, thereby causing drastic deficits in the program, which added billions to the overall deficit and the debt.
In conclusion, the thousands of people who benefited from this law are outweighed by the millions of people who lost their healthcare by either their plan being canceled, or priced out of range. Then you have the tens of thousands who were cut to part-time work, plus our future generations slaving to repay the interest on the debts we incurred with this folly.
When the United States purchased the land now known as Alaska from Russia, it was known as Seward's Folly. Perhaps the debacle known as the Affordable Care Act should henceforth be known as "Obama's Folly."
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