Thursday, September 11, 2014

"Affordable Care"

After hearing some hopeful things about the Affordable Care Act in New Hampshire from friends who have been using it, I finally had to sign up myself after the insurance from my wife's former employer ran out.

To start with, it's not affordable. Even with my "subsidy" in the form of a tax credit I would be paying more than $300 a month to have a deductible of $5,750. The $40 co-pay for doctor visits isn't bad, but at my income level, $300 a month is a chunk, especially when you consider that I have to pay out of pocket for everything up to $5,750 and, if I did get seriously ill, would still have to go to work to earn the money to keep my premiums up. And of course the deductible resets every year.

I'm not a political pea-brain, so I don't blame Obama. Indeed, the people who make Obama a bad president are the same people who made George Bush a bad president. In the case of Bush they reinforced everything he did. In the case of Obama they throw roadblocks in front of everything. So one president drove us down a rocky slope and when the next one tries to steer us back onto the road the yahoos keep grabbing the steering wheel and stomping on the brakes.

I did not vote for Barack Obama in the 2008 primary in part because his health coverage proposal was basically like Mitt Romney's system in Massachusetts, based on private insurance that everyone has to buy. After he won the general election, Obama began adding better features to his proposal, like the publicly funded option which would, in fact, blessedly have killed the private insurance industry and set us on a path toward a true universal coverage system. But the insurance lobby and the largely Republican political operatives who serve them made sure that went away.

I know that plenty of Democrats have financial obligations to corporate interests. But most issues tend to divide pretty neatly between the D's and the R's.

If someone said they were going to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with a universal, single-payer system and some strong, rational controls on medical service and drug pricing I would support it instantly. And that's simply never going to come from the Republican side of the aisle.

Meanwhile, that leaves me unable to afford Affordable Care. I will return to the ranks of the uninsured, get my self-pay discount from medical service providers, pay the much more affordable tax penalty in lieu of the fat honkin' premium and hold on for Medicare.


Julia said...

The impact of the ACA seems to vary widely from situation to situation. Mostly, I think itʻs helped us. But I feel truly bad for those it hurts.

cafiend said...

It doesn't really hurt us. It just doesn't help us. We dropped health insurance after pissing away thousands of dollars on which we got ZERO return. Private health insurance is a huge sucky ripoff. The older you get the more you get gouged. It is one of the biggest drivers of rising costs in health care. I don't know why everyone does not see this. You're basically just paying some insurance company to get between you and actual health care. It's total bullshit. If I could get it for cheap money I might play along, but the insurance system is so fatally flawed that it really just needs to go away. It's a totally unsustainable model for providing actual care to most or all of the citizens of this country.