The March 22 passing of healthcare reform popularly knows as Obama Care was an exciting moment for many, although excitement is not always positive. For many Americans it was a great day, as it means we will have what every other developed nation offers its citizens. For others it brings our government one step closer to socialism.
SFGN decided the best way to learn about how our readers feel about the legislation was to spend the early evening at Java Boys. We asked, “How do you feel about the passage of Obama Care?”
The first person interviewed was Massimo Stinco originally of Bologna, Italy who is active in theater.
“In Italy maybe the only good thing we have is healthcare,” he said. “We don’t need private insurance, we can go to the doctor and only pay a small fee. One weekend—soon after I arrive in Fort Lauderdale—I had to go to the emergency room. For them to prescribe me 2 pills,” to make it over the weekend, “I was charged $500.”
On Monday he went to a doctor who charged him $150 for the initial consultation to get a full prescription. Italian authorities will reimburse him for the expenditures.
“Europeans think the private healthcare in the US is, well, uncomfortable. I think the conflicts of interest between drug, insurance companies and Washington DC is terrible for people that don’t have the money to pay for doctors. I hope he [Obama] does something good for all of you – and,” he added, “for me. I want to stay in America.”
Many people were not as educated about the issue as Massimo. When asked how they felt about the historic decision several Java Boys clients declined an interview because they “don’t know much about it,” or “really don’t know enough to establish an opinion.”
Peter George, of Wilton Manors, is a volunteer at The Green Hopper. He is very educated about Obama Care.
“I’m delighted! This is a long time coming, a victory not only for the Democrats but the people of this country. I just wish they would go further and institute socialized healthcare like they have in Canada and Europe,” says George who admitted to having gone years without healthcare.
Federal employee Ron Walsh of Fort Lauderdale works for the US Post Office. He already gets healthcare from the feds.
“As a federal employee this doesn’t effect me at all, I have choices through the government. There are many plans. I chose the best, most expensive one because I suffer from chronic bronchitis. But, I think if federal employees have it so should all Americans.”
Veteran Richard Gouge of Oakland Park was very down-to-earth in his thoughts on Obama Care.
“Let me put it this way: it’s a beginning that we must have,” he said. To him having healthcare for all Americans is an issue of patriotism. “All the developed countries in the world have it, why shouldn’t we? We’re not a third world nation. As a vet personally I don’t need it, they pay for everything. Some vets would say no to it because it might affect their benefits.”
When asked if he thought it smelled like socialism his reply was equally levelheaded. “Well, it does sound a little like socialism, but, if you dissect that word you can read anything [negative] you want into it,” Gouge said. “However, if it proves to be a system that works it’s a system that works. It’s in its infancy right now, so we should really wait and see.”
Despite the optimism of the above, William Hitchings of Wilton Manors is currently unemployed yet is not in favor of Obama Care.
“I am not a brilliant politician but what I do understand is that I will end up paying a lot of money for other people’s healthcare. Everyone should get insurance but pull it out of the taxes I already pay. I am unemployed as it is. I have Cobra for $130 a month, which—at that rate—I can easily take out of my own pocket. I mean I don’t think it’s right for people to be sick and not have healthcare. I know it’s selfish of me to say but with the cost of living so high in Florida I need every dollar I get.”
Clearly, since Obama’s plan will not be fully implemented until 2014 we will have to watch and wait. The next four years promises to be packed with controversy from those that praise and those that despise the ratified bill.