Fined for Being Poor | Letters | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Fined for Being Poor 

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The word “care” should have been dropped from the excellent article “Who Deserves Health Care?” [Jan. 31, City Weekly] because that is the core of the entire issue: Who deserves health?

I have some vague memories of Calvin Davis. I went to high school with some his younger siblings. He deserved more than that from this life on Earth.

In his Feb. 3, 2013, article “Obamacare: A Deception,” Reagonomics co-founder and economist Paul Craig Roberts shares a fact-based nonpartisan analysis of the Affordable Care Act—how it will be implemented, who will benefit financially, who will get subsidies and what it may mean for Utah’s poorest. There will be those who do not qualify for subsidies because they are too poor. How do they not qualify? If one has not enough income to pay for the unsubsidized portions of the premiums, that person is shifted onto Medicaid.

So, if Utah decides not to expand Medicaid, too, what happens to those in the lowest income brackets—low enough that they do not qualify for government subsidies written into Affordable Care Act when there is no Medicaid for them to go to? No one is asking that one; the Republicans are too enraptured in the rhetoric of mythological deficit apocalypse, and Democrats are too entranced with the idea, the mythology of Obama, to see the man Obama.

And will a person ineligible for Obamacare or Medicaid provisions be saddled with a $1,000-plus annual fine for being uninsured? This is a debt forced upon him, a fine for crimes uncommitted, a debt obligation imposed he did not enter into of his own free will. It is essentially a fine for being poor. How is this an improvement over the old system?

A single-payer system would have been so much simpler, cheaper, sane and humane, but leaving Wall Street out of the sick room is unimaginable when there is money to be made from the sick, dying and injured.

I had no idea that Utah places such draconian restrictions on those seeking assistance from the state. Those who designed the means testing for aid should be ashamed. To force those with expensive medical conditions into total destitution, to force them to liquidate assets to $1,000 or less strikes me as just plain cruel. Did you happily torture kittens as children?

Clee Paul Ames

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