Obamacare Champions Personal Responsibility. the States That Hate It Don't. (+Video)

By Frankel, Jeffrey | The Christian Science Monitor, September 6, 2012 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Obamacare Champions Personal Responsibility. the States That Hate It Don't. (+Video)


Frankel, Jeffrey, The Christian Science Monitor


Politicians, particularly Republican candidates, among them Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, like to emphasize the importance of individual responsibility especially in railing against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. Indeed, America was founded by individuals working hard to earn rewards rather than free- riding on the wealth of society.

At the Democratic National Convention this week, Democrats have defended and reclaimed Obamacare as one of President Obamas signature achievements. (See Bill Clintons rousing endorsement last night.) But some Americans seem to be under the impression that the health-care law is a step away from personal responsibility, a step toward socialized medicine. Thats certainly the message they got from the Republican National Convention last week.

As knowledgeable columnists and health-care experts have pointed out, the opposite is the case. It is the pre-Obamacare system that involves free-riding: A patient who shows up in the emergency room is treated even if uninsured, but the hospital has to pass the cost on to the rest of us.

The abdication of personal responsibility is especially great to the extent that the medical community can attribute health afflictions to such risk factors as being overweight. (According to recent studies, every obese American adds 42 percent to medical costs, relative to those of normal weight.)

Obesity can sometimes be attributed to poor diet, lack of exercise, or other personal behavior. But researchers find it can also be genetic. Individuals with such risk factors or pre-existing conditions may not be able to get private insurance under the pre- Obamacare system even if they dont want to be free riders. The private health insurance plans often exclude them. In such a system, personal responsibility is sorely absent.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 was designed to solve this problem, with its individual mandate and its prohibition on excluding customers based on pre-existing conditions. Establishing personal responsibility is the reason why conservative think tanks proposed the idea of the individual mandate in the first place, and why Mitt Romney approved it as part of the health-care law enacted in Massachusetts.

All this has been said many times, of course. But new analysis exposes another disconnect between rhetoric and reality when it comes to personal responsibility in health care:

The states opposing Obamacare are the states where people are least likely to take personal responsibility for their health in their daily behavior.

Members of Congress from states with high incidences of obesity, poor eating habits, and poor exercise habits are much more likely to have voted against the health-care reform; those from states that rank high on physical fitness voted for it.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Obamacare Champions Personal Responsibility. the States That Hate It Don't. (+Video)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?