Dave Ramsey’s Viral Obamacare Video

Many of my friends are emailing and posting a video by Dave Ramsey who speaks about the Affordable Care Act. It’s being touted as unbiased and objective. I watched it once and found he was including good points but left out a few sides of the argument that are important to consider when trying to factor in “math” and “intelligence.”

Here’s the vid:

Here’s another great link concerning healthcare in America:
http://www.upworthy.com/his-first-4-sentences-are-interesting-the-5th-blew-my-mind-and-made-me-a-little-sick-2?c=la3

Here’s another video that talks about the wealth and prosperity demographics in America:
http://utrend.tv/v/9-out-of-10-americans-are-completely-wrong-about-this-mind-blowing-fact/

Finally, here’s a link for those who have learned more about the ACA from Fox News, Jon Stewart, or any rogue/faux news website blog. Ladies and gents, the actual Affordable Care Act:
http://housedocs.house.gov/energycommerce/ppacacon.pdf

Here’s what Dave isn’t explaining “critically”:

1. The math “kicks in” when we pay for the “500 lb” person in an emergency room or with other government allotments for those who are unable to afford health care. While he uses red herrings to bias the listener subjectively against overindulgent, “fat” people, he doesn’t attempt to bias anyone against the struggling single mom, the infant in NICU, the uninsured victim of domestic violence because he simply wouldn’t be persuasive with just “math” or “facts.” That list of red herrings aside, he doesn’t figure in the math of those living below the poverty line or those who are above poverty that simply cannot afford healthcare beyond their means (a regular tenet of his broadcasts). It’s a swayed opinion meant to bias you toward subjectivity. Don’t fall for it. By the way, diabetes isn’t even close to being at the top of the list of health problems:
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/lcod.htm

2. We pay higher premiums now due to insurance company selectivity and filtering along with their work toward a profit. Did you receive 20% more pay this year? Of course not. Your insurance company may have: http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/2012/industries/223/ . Now, instead of planned profits from those who are filtered from using insurance they will actually be providing services to those who need them. The “actuarial tables” he mentions are designed to project and insure profit to keep companies gaining upwards of 20% profit gains (as if a company profiting at this rate would go under) and would continue to project profits under ACA. Profit-hungry companies will fall or restructure, new and affordable companies will form and provide services, physicians will adapt, that workforce demographic will evolve and grow. He goes out of his way to say that the math against the ACA is no “moral imperative” yet he leaves out these factors that affect healthcare and will be affected by these changes (changes that are not a “moral imperative”) in any market situation. These changes are supply and demand. Focusing on skyrocketing premiums as the only change is verbal sleight-of-hand meant to focus the listener on one sliver of an enormous picture. When do premiums go down? They don’t. While taxpayer money pays for it to some degree, it will be made affordable so that other money is going into the system. It is also going toward preventative practices which are cheaper than the practices that merit emergency room visits and hospital stays.

3. Look at the link on wealth distribution and then don’t put so much weight on Dave’s “46% pay nothing.” It’s not that 46% chose this, it’s that “mathematically” supply and demand will not allow the poorest to afford the care provided by overpriced health care service providers. The demand is great; the supply is not affordable; the cost has to be placed elsewhere. This is also math that he simply doesn’t factor this into his equation. It doesn’t take a Dave Ramsey to know this. Furthermore, can you imagine blaming the rising cost of healthcare on the poor (again, see the upworthy link)? Dave paints the insurance companies as the victim whose profits are threatened by those who can’t afford their services. He goes on to threaten your job, your raise, and the ability to purchase insurance at the hands of the impoverished. In regard to the ACA, he talks about 46% not paying anything. That’s not accurate, either. The program accounts for poverty and provides a sliding scale that benefits not only Dave’s 46%, but also the middle class (individuals earning upwards of $45K). Here’s a link with a chart lower in the article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/04/01/readers-have-questions-about-obamacares-penalties-we-have-answers/.

4. His skewing of social security to look like a poor return to those who overpay for it is also a mathematical choice that he would preach for or against on his show regularly. Purchase what you can afford; don’t purchase what you cannot afford. The factor left out of this equation is that health is not a commodity and buying healthcare services is not the currency to pay for it. For the same people who can’t afford overpriced insurance premiums, it is impossible to afford retirement investments therefore making social security the only guaranteed default plan. Whether those returns are poor or great, they are guaranteed by our government to every citizen. Even if Dave or any other economist/politician predicts SS’s downfall in the future, it is still the only guaranteed retirement plan that is affordable to the poor at this time. He normally advocates paying down debt and living within means – but he would agree that these means are simply not affordable to the 46% he demonizes or to those with health problems of any magnitude (not necessarily members of the socialist 46%!). At the same rate D.C. “steals” it, independent providers prevent it by making it unaffordable; our wages and wealth distribution are so skewed that social security is the default program.

5. Equating health care to gun rights is a poor, laughable analogy. Health care isn’t a “right” – it is a necessity that can’t be voted in or out of existence. It is part of being human that has been co-opted by businessmen and made into a for-profit business. We sell cures like candy and it’s embarrassing to demonize those who need it the most because those who made the rules said that some were too poor to play the game. Affordable health care is being made a right, more especially in a society that touts the capitalism in which such an essential service would dare be made unaffordable for the sake of exorbitant profit – and the right to affordable healthcare is nonexistent for most of our society. The wealthy who need healthcare will never be the red herring because they can afford services where the poor have to subject their healthcare and poverty to public opinion, scorn, disdain, insult, and what is tantamount to begging. The sick and/or uninsurable didn’t choose for the price of healthcare services to be unaffordable – those who profit from those services made it this way and chose to demonize those who needed the services the most in the process (Dave’s poor 500 lb man) in order to wash their hands of responsibility in the matter. Dave doesn’t place this into his equation which shows a bias in his thinking. It has to be bias because he’s pretty sharp and I wouldn’t call him ignorant of these issues.

6. Also, in regard to that “right,” it is being provided to any American for a price (it’s not the “Free Healthcare Act”) and the penalty that is “forced” upon you goes toward your health care. That massive fine that everyone is griping about is $95 through 2016 or 1% of total income . To complain about this means one of a few things: in not purchasing insurance one is still willing to force the cost of his healthcare onto others while complaining about $95, one thinks that $95 is a huge fine instead of the hundreds (or thousands) paid currently for premiums, one simply hates Obama enough that he’ll go for anything against the current administration – no matter how sensible, or that accepting the “substandard program” provided affordably to you is worse than nothing or forcing others to pay for your healthcare. While Dave mentions communism and the idea that social security offers poor returns for the price a citizen pays in, he forgets to mention that at healthcare’s current rates and pricetag, it pays back far more in services than what you’ll put in at the penalty rate or even at the cheapest rates provided under the ACA. This is a glaring statement of hypocrisy in his argument, especially as he has given it the prelude of “intellectual honesty,” “budget,” “emergency fund,” “these people not doing math,” “there’s a tipping point in the math,” “the lack of freedom (really, Dave?).”

7. The allusion to “communism” is also laughable. No one says those communists made me drive on their roads, kept me safe with their policemen, guarded my right to free speech, kept criminals in their jails at expenses that were more than what I paid in. The ad hoc and ad hitlerum arguments are tiresome and beneath the level of intellect that is usually par for his show. Red herrings are signs of a weak argument even though he makes some good points. The ACA is guaranteeing a start to affordable health care, which is currently nonexistent for most, rather than free health care, which already exists and which taxpayers already pay for.

8. Don’t miss the glaring omission in this video, especially if you claim Christianity as your faith. “46%” cannot (not “will not” or “should not”) pay taxes. He brushed over the large problem to get to his political pet point. If 46% cannot put back into the system due to poverty, there is a larger problem than health care. This issue precedes “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” and is essential to getting healthcare. Demonizing those or shaming them with “those of us who work will pay it for you” while looking down at them is not part of the solution, nor should it be considered as part of an intellectually honest argument. 46% of over 300 million people is an embarrassing poverty rate. Why is this not addressed? Why is the focus on shaming those who cannot afford healthcare that is not only expensive, but being sold at seven times the rate of expensive? See the link above for that info (upworthy link). Poverty at this level is inexcusable. Dave wants to talk about being honest intellectually while excusing this sad fact? Come on, Dave, I thought more of you.

9. A video that threatens taxpayers rather than those responsible for the cost and perpetuation of the current healthcare system isn’t objective. It isn’t truthful despite using some truthful data. The same argument isn’t being compared to what taxpayers were forced to pay for wars and military spending yet healing the sick is being demonized far more than the mistake of Iraq or exorbitant military spending. Dave’s argument isn’t helpful because it incites action to a personal or political agenda using lopsided angles – that’s defined as “propaganda.” It isn’t genuine because it plays to a fan base rather than to a benchmark of objective work. I respect Dave Ramsey but am not fooled by this brand of reasoning in trying to sell a political viewpoint.