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Government Shutdown and the Affordable Care Act

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#1 glunn

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 12:51 AM

I wish someone could explain to me how a Christian could oppose the Affordable Care Act.

In the New Testament, Jesus clearly advocates the importance of helping poor people:

Matthew 25:34-36 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, "Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me."

Mark 10:21-22 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

Mark 12:41-44 He sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. 42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. 43 Then he called his disciples and said to them, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. 44 For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on."

Luke 14:12-14 He said also to the one who had invited him, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

Luke 16:19-25 "There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man's table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.' But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony.


How can any Christian oppose the implementation of the Affordable Care Act? Someone please explain this to me.

I also cannot understand how a non-Christian could oppose this. Previously, any uninsured poor person could always get FREE treatment at the local emergency room. This is very inefficient and helps explain why some hospitals can charge $50 for an aspirin or some other item what costs less than a dollar. The cost of poor people going to the emergency room gets passed on to many of the people who oppose the Affordable Care Act, and it is indisputable that emergency rooms are a very expensive and inefficient way to provide care. For example, if someone has curable cancer, wouldn't it be better to give them chemo once a week than pay for the 10 or 20 emergency room visits until they die? Do I even have to ask what Jesus would say?

And to those who say that this is socialistic, it seems to me that Medicare and Social Security are more socialistic. The Affordable Care Act, like Romneycare (which seems to be working in Massachusetts), is based on creating competition among private insurers. This approach was invented by Republicans, and initially opposed by Democrats who preferred a single payer solution, modeled on Medicare.

And to the civil libertarians, your rights end when you ask me to pay for your failure to provide for your own economic costs. If you drive without car insurance, others will have to pay if you get into an accident and cripple someone. Don't ask me to pay for your health care, unless you genuinely cannot afford it. Yes, I admit that there is a part of me that would not mind seeing some Tea Party adherents experience poetic justice by dying of curable cancer because they were too irresponsible to buy medical insurance, but deep down I agree with Jesus on this.

And to the Republicans who complain that this does not apply to Congress and the Executive Branch, I agree with that. On the other hand, how many women and children would you like to die of cancer next year because they cannot afford treatment? And you might want to read Luke 16:19-25 again. Do you really want to argue with St. Peter at the gates of heaven that you let poor people suffer and die because the legislation was not perfect???

Almost every civilized foreign country (and Massachusetts) has government supported health care. So far, God has not rained hell storms on these places. Instead, many of these countries have better results than we do in terms of life expectancy, infant mortality and other important measures of success.

One thing that I believe everyone can agree on is that there is lots of room for improvement in the law. If not for the lobbyists in Congress, I think that this would have been a much cleaner, simpler and less expensive statute. What I would love to see would be for the Republicans and the Democrats make amendments that cut costs, but unfortunately the lobbyists seem to be able to block changes that might reduce the profits of their clients -- companies who are making a killing with profit margins on medical devices and drugs that far exceed what they would get if Medicare and insurance exchanges were allowed to negotiate prices in an open market.

Finally, I am concerned that doctors and other medical professionals have been squeezed and may become more squeezed unless they can get a fairer share of health care revenues. Unfortunately for them, their lobbying power is no match for the pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and insurance companies. This has been getting worse for years, and I don't think that the Affordable Care Act will make much of a difference either way, but this is something that I think that people should really worry about.

What do you think?

Edited by glunn, 04 October 2013 - 01:48 AM.


#2 mike wants wins

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 09:26 AM

I am not sure what I am allowed to say on line, since I work for the US's largest health insurance company......

but in general, I agree with your premise. We are the most expensive country, and have mediocre to bad outcomes......and yet there is a huge majority that want to keep the status quo. There should be change, but as long as we worship at the alter of free markets, like they are infallible, nothing will substantially change.
Lighten up Francis....

#3 PseudoSABR

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 09:44 AM

Great stuff, glunn.

I think it's important to see that the Affordable Healthcare Act isn't a threat in and of itself (that is by it's policy or its aims) to the Republican rightwing, but rather they see it as an extension of a government and a society that wishes to enfranchise more and more people. They see their piece of the proverbial pie shrinking (even if the whole pie grows), and by god they've given up enough already.

The emergence of a radical rightwing, who hold uber-liberatarian principles, has lead to election of officials who are more than cynical of government--they are against any public bureaucracy. Right wing Republicans are electing people who are against the very job they are enlisted to serve. The shutdown is a victory onto itself for the likes of Ted Cruz, no matter who it harms.

While we can all agree that handing over any complex system to public beaucrats is not very palatable; there are instrinsic inefficiency in public systems; however, when the industry in question is healthcare, I seriously doubt that a for-profit beaucracy is really the better steward. There's a reason that Americans pay more for healthcare than any other developed nation--there's simply infinite demand for good health, creating a market that can never benefit consumers.

There's real issues with the AHA in terms of how it effects businesses that employ over 50 people, especially in service and retail sectors. Companies will face difficult choices in terms of expensively insuring their employees or cutting hours to less than fulltime or paying fines for not insuring. The profit model of companies will need to change, and likely will be reflected in more expensive goods and services. I don't know the letter of the law, but I hope there are means of grandfathering this policy in over time and subsidies for businesses as well as citizens.

In the short term, health care will be more expensive for everyone. But over the long term, with higher access to preventive health care, and an actual marketplace to shop for insurance (rather than taking your employers option or nothing) should drive healthcare prices down. Let's not forget the AHA was a conservative idea born out of the Heritage foundation; this plan actually keeps the governments hands out of the actual industry. Though of course, I'd prefer a public option and universal healthcare.

#4 TheLeviathan

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 10:29 AM

My biggest worry is the potentially adverse effects on a still shaky economy. We could see some companies react to this (to save their own business model) in ways that dramatically shift employment for the worse.

#5 PseudoSABR

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 11:06 AM

My biggest worry is the potentially adverse effects on a still shaky economy. We could see some companies react to this (to save their own business model) in ways that dramatically shift employment for the worse.

Mayhaps. But shutting down the government certainly does not prioritize the health of a shaky economy.

#6 mike wants wins

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 11:24 AM

My biggest worry is the potentially adverse effects on a still shaky economy. We could see some companies react to this (to save their own business model) in ways that dramatically shift employment for the worse.


There will be an excuse of some kind forever, at some point, you need to make the change.
Lighten up Francis....

#7 PseudoSABR

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 11:48 AM

There will be an excuse of some kind forever, at some point, you need to make the change.

Right. We need a system that enlists everyone into health insurance, even the healthy and the poor, and even at a short term cost.

Imagine how expensive car insurance would be if it was not mandated. That good drivers pay for insurance, makes the cost palatable. I'm sure as car insurance became mandated, there were those that suggested it would kill the auto industry, and thereby the economy...

#8 SweetOne69

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 11:51 AM

You are correct that we are to help the poor, but it is not the Government's job to help the poor. It is to the people to do it themselves. It is a lot more effective that way as well.

#9 mike wants wins

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 11:54 AM

You are correct that we are to help the poor, but it is not the Government's job to help the poor. It is to the people to do it themselves. It is a lot more effective that way as well.


do you have evidence of this, or just believe it? Because in HC, the evidence is clear, it isn't working like you think it is.
Lighten up Francis....

#10 ChiTownTwinsFan

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 12:18 PM

You are correct that we are to help the poor, but it is not the Government's job to help the poor. It is to the people to do it themselves. It is a lot more effective that way as well.

In theory ... but a lot of people today operate on a 'save yourself' mode ... they also believe anyone who needs help just isn't working hard enough.
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#11 Ultima Ratio

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 12:35 PM

Is a Christian allowed to believe in free markets and equal application of laws?
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#12 TheLeviathan

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 12:59 PM

Mayhaps. But shutting down the government certainly does not prioritize the health of a shaky economy.


never said it did, just said this could have some really awful long term effects as well. Whether the net gain is a positive I have my doubts.

#13 mike wants wins

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 01:05 PM

UR, I'd guess a Christian can believe in anything they want......but I'm not sure how your question really answers any of the questions raised by the OP. One of the reasons I left the church, however, is that I saw most Christians acted in a way that I felt was 180 degrees off of what your savior suggested.......and I think the OP is asking some good questions. If your savior says something is how you should be, how much can a Christian ignore that, and still really be a Christian? It's a philosophical question, really....
Lighten up Francis....

#14 mike wants wins

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 01:06 PM

never said it did, just said this could have some really awful long term effects as well. Whether the net gain is a positive I have my doubts.


As opposed to the awful results we are getting now, because of the current HC laws?
Lighten up Francis....

#15 gunnarthor

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 01:25 PM

You are correct that we are to help the poor, but it is not the Government's job to help the poor. It is to the people to do it themselves. It is a lot more effective that way as well.


People can do it through the government they elect. Perhaps a bunch of us wanted health care reform to help the poor but couldn't do it ourselves. So we had a big election and voted in people that could handle such a large project.

#16 glunn

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 01:29 PM

Is a Christian allowed to believe in free markets and equal application of laws?


I don't think that this is about what people are allowed to believe. I do think that history proves that unregulated capitalism would be disastrous. I also think that it's pretty clear that Jesus would be in favor of laws that allow poor people to have access to affordable health care, even if this means reducing the profit margins of insurance companies to 10 to 20% per year.

#17 mike wants wins

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 01:51 PM

Uh, insurance companies can only make 15% a year from now on......the costs are not going up because of insurance companies, you might want to look at what is driving costs.
Lighten up Francis....

#18 TheLeviathan

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 02:01 PM

As opposed to the awful results we are getting now, because of the current HC laws?


Depends what happens. The current laws suck, no doubt. But does a change to them tht further cripples the economy really provide a net gain? One were full time work and benefits are cast aside?

I don't think it's an easy answer.

#19 PseudoSABR

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 02:02 PM

You are correct that we are to help the poor, but it is not the Government's job to help the poor. It is to the people to do it themselves. It is a lot more effective that way as well.

Well if it's up to "the people" to do it, they've done a really, really poor job. No one would be talking about the government helping the poor and taking care of the infirm if churches, charities and other private institutions were getting the job done.

#20 Ultima Ratio

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 02:11 PM

1. I don't think that this is about what people are allowed to believe. I do think that history proves that unregulated capitalism would be disastrous. 2.I also think that it's pretty clear that Jesus would be in favor of laws that allow poor people to have access to affordable health care, even if this means reducing the profit margins of insurance companies to 10 to 20% per year.


1. "I wish someone could explain to me how a Christian could oppose the Affordable Care Act."

This is your opening line. You obviously think Christians have an obligation to support the ACA, no?

This is only about beliefs and what you think Christianity teaches Christians about hiring their government to compel of its citizens.

You realize that of the uninsured in the country, only a small percentage was wanting but unable to afford/be insurable, right? The vast majority do not have insurance by choice and many will pay the fine (tax*) which will be cheaper than purchasing the bronze plan.

Furthermore,


2. Don't we already have medicaid?


Last, you should go to the ACA enrollment Facebook page and read the complaints. Even the bronze plan is still unaffordable for many. They are shocked, thinking they would qualify for a subsidy and now realizing that it's not in their budget.

My insurance premiums and deductible are going up dramatically because of the ACA -- as are most peoples'.

My understanding is that Jesus' message was personal. Only you can repent and save yourself with the grace of God. One has a personal obligation to serve God and those who cannot help themselves. One has the obligation to be charitable with one's own blessings (not just money), but one does NOT have the obligation to be charitable with others blessings. In fact, this is immoral.


This is a job killer, wage reducer, full-time to less than 30 hour work week, 2.6 trillion to the debt increasing over the next ten years unpopular law; which also is full of exceptions and waivers, making the application of the law different from what was originally passed and unequal.

One could go on and on, but no, I don't think Jesus has the choirs in Heaven singing gilded hymns.
Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains.

#21 biggentleben

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 02:22 PM

My biggest worry is the potentially adverse effects on a still shaky economy. We could see some companies react to this (to save their own business model) in ways that dramatically shift employment for the worse.


I will say that I was offered a job last week that I found out would be a personal insurance policy through ACA for health insurance rather than the group insurance I currently have. With my eye history and current weight (take my BP, cholesterol, etc. and I'm rated very well, but the weight number is off of certain scales and is a red flag), my individual policy would have cost more than the per-month stipend they were offering. I ended up turning down the job (though I utilized it to get a promotion and raise at the current job, so it worked very well), but ACA certainly in the short-term had a drastic effect on my perception of that job.
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#22 biggentleben

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 02:45 PM

My understanding is that Jesus' message was personal. Only you can repent and save yourself with the grace of God. One has a personal obligation to serve God and those who cannot help themselves. One has the obligation to be charitable with one's own blessings (not just money), but one does NOT have the obligation to be charitable with others blessings. In fact, this is immoral.


If we were to break down Christianity to Christ, then the faith is incredibly failing in its care for one another. Christ's greatest command was to love the Lord your God with all your heart, your soul, and your mind. His second was to love your neighbor as yourself. An Acts 2 church, the ORIGINAL Christian church would be seen as a cult now for its reliance on the members to use all possessions for the betterment of the church and the ministry of Christ. The average church member, according to the last Gallop poll I've read, gives to ALL charities (not just their church, but all charities) at a 1.8% giving rate. The average non-church member gives at a 1.9% rate. In general, our society emphasizes personal wealth over societal concerns, expecting the taxes taken from our paychecks to take care of the poor and needy, and Christians and non-Christians subscribe to this at the same level.

I agree if we were living life as Christ's hands and feet, this wouldn't be needed because we would all be helping our poor and widows, but that's not the world that we live in, and seeing that, we need to work with the government system we have.
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#23 glunn

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 06:17 PM

Uh, insurance companies can only make 15% a year from now on......the costs are not going up because of insurance companies, you might want to look at what is driving costs.


There was a great article in Time Magazine a few months ago -- I think the author was Steven Brill -- where he explained why hospitals can get away with charging $50 for something that costs them less than $1. I agree that this is worth looking at.

#24 glunn

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 06:27 PM

1. "I wish someone could explain to me how a Christian could oppose the Affordable Care Act."

This is your opening line. You obviously think Christians have an obligation to support the ACA, no?

This is only about beliefs and what you think Christianity teaches Christians about hiring their government to compel of its citizens.

You realize that of the uninsured in the country, only a small percentage was wanting but unable to afford/be insurable, right? The vast majority do not have insurance by choice and many will pay the fine (tax*) which will be cheaper than purchasing the bronze plan.

Furthermore,


2. Don't we already have medicaid?


Last, you should go to the ACA enrollment Facebook page and read the complaints. Even the bronze plan is still unaffordable for many. They are shocked, thinking they would qualify for a subsidy and now realizing that it's not in their budget.

My insurance premiums and deductible are going up dramatically because of the ACA -- as are most peoples'.

My understanding is that Jesus' message was personal. Only you can repent and save yourself with the grace of God. One has a personal obligation to serve God and those who cannot help themselves. One has the obligation to be charitable with one's own blessings (not just money), but one does NOT have the obligation to be charitable with others blessings. In fact, this is immoral.


This is a job killer, wage reducer, full-time to less than 30 hour work week, 2.6 trillion to the debt increasing over the next ten years unpopular law; which also is full of exceptions and waivers, making the application of the law different from what was originally passed and unequal.

One could go on and on, but no, I don't think Jesus has the choirs in Heaven singing gilded hymns.


I am not arguing that Christians have an obligation to believe anything -- I am merely asking how they can oppose something that seems so consistent with the teachings of the New Testament without proposing something better to help poor people get health care.

That said, please explain why you think this will be such a disaster considering how it has worked in Massachusetts. And why should I have to pay a dime to cover the emergency room visits of people who can afford insurance but choose not to pay for it?

#25 Frozented9

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 08:37 PM

Just got my insurance bill for next year went down $10 a month.

#26 ChiTownTwinsFan

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 08:49 PM

A friend of mine's went from $550/mo to $371/mo.
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#27 TheLeviathan

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Posted 04 October 2013 - 09:00 PM

A friend of mine's went from $550/mo to $371/mo.


That's good, the question is - how much is this going to impact people 25-35 who are least likely to need health insurance, already strapped with much higher student loans than previous generations, and are likely not yet on a true career path but trying to make ends meet? Or the people working 2 or 3 jobs, one of which for benefits?

This law is largely funded off of their backs, I have serious reservations about how that's going to play out economically. Ben's example above works fairly well for that.

#28 Hornhead

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 09:42 AM

Levi beat me to the punch. I could just as easily ask how a Christian could support a bill that will take from the young and often struggling. I fail to find the morality in running up bills for the next generation to pay. Hopefully, the youth seduced by messages of compassion, fairness, etc. will realize it’s coming out of their wallets, assuming they enjoy the good fortune if earning a decent living.

#29 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 09:57 AM

Well, I won't venture into the religious aspects of the discussion.
But I will say that the Republicans are being childish.
You don't have to like the law, but the process should be respected.
The law was passed by Congress.
It was upheld by the Supreme Court.
It was upheld by the People when they overwhelmingly re elected President Obama.

Again, people don't have to like the law, that is okay.
But, respect the process, don't throw a tantrum like a little kid just because you didn't get your way.

#30 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 10:02 AM

1. "I wish someone could explain to me how a Christian could oppose the Affordable Care Act."

This is your opening line. You obviously think Christians have an obligation to support the ACA, no?

This is only about beliefs and what you think Christianity teaches Christians about hiring their government to compel of its citizens.

You realize that of the uninsured in the country, only a small percentage was wanting but unable to afford/be insurable, right? The vast majority do not have insurance by choice and many will pay the fine (tax*) which will be cheaper than purchasing the bronze plan.

Furthermore,


2. Don't we already have medicaid?


Last, you should go to the ACA enrollment Facebook page and read the complaints. Even the bronze plan is still unaffordable for many. They are shocked, thinking they would qualify for a subsidy and now realizing that it's not in their budget.

My insurance premiums and deductible are going up dramatically because of the ACA -- as are most peoples'.

My understanding is that Jesus' message was personal. Only you can repent and save yourself with the grace of God. One has a personal obligation to serve God and those who cannot help themselves. One has the obligation to be charitable with one's own blessings (not just money), but one does NOT have the obligation to be charitable with others blessings. In fact, this is immoral.


This is a job killer, wage reducer, full-time to less than 30 hour work week, 2.6 trillion to the debt increasing over the next ten years unpopular law; which also is full of exceptions and waivers, making the application of the law different from what was originally passed and unequal.

One could go on and on, but no, I don't think Jesus has the choirs in Heaven singing gilded hymns.


And that was a huge part of the problem.
Young people who CAN afford insurance, but selfishly go without it, then shift the burden to the rest of us when something catastrophic happens and they wind up in the ER, ICU or life support with a 500k medical bill that they will never pay.
You talk about the fairness of forcing people who don't want insurance to buy it. Well, how fair is it that people who can afford insurance would rather pass the cost on to everyone else when something terrible happens?