I’m going to start off with a persistent thought I’ve been having regarding Obama and healthcare. Don’t roll your eyes. It sounds like it’s just boring politics, but it has such a human face.
I don’t know all the ins and outs as the economics of healthcare on a national level. I know a few things, such as the fact that preventive care saves money down the line, but that fewer and fewer people can afford their preventive care. I know it’s costing the towns in Massachusetts a whole hell of a lot of money, and that my property taxes have reached a point where I am not sure I can afford to live in my house anymore. (If I told you what my tax bill was, trust me, you would swoon.)
But I can tell you this: I don’t have an employer, and my ex doesn’t have an employer, and so I have health insurance as a self-employed single mother through Blue Cross Blue Shield. The single mother thing provides me with quite a discount, so I pay $770 a month for insurance for myself and my three kids. Yeah, quite the discount. For this, I have a $1,000 deductible for each person, with physicals and other preventive health care (mammograms, annual gynecological exam) exempt from the deductible. If we were a perfectly healthy family that just needed physicals, that would be, well that would be quite a fee to pay—about $9k—for all of us to have free physicals.
We’re not a family that just needs physicals, though. My son Matthew will have met his deductible within a few months of the start of the insurance year. My son Alex is going to need braces (not covered under my dental plan, which is $74 a month and covers so close to nothing, I don’t even know why I’m carrying it) but may also need oral surgery, so there’s another thousand there. So now we’re talking $10k out of pocket before we get anything useful, and it will ultimately be $11k out of pocket whatever year Alex needs the oral surgery, because Matthew will meet his deductible every year.
The only good bit in all this is the pharmacy plan. I have to have a good one—one of Matthew’s meds is $3k per month, and another is I think several hundred dollars. The co-pays are low; we’re getting our money’s worth there.
Does anyone else see any of this as a problem?
Obama, with so many balls in the air, has what I think is a great solution to the healthcare crisis. It’s so great, I don’t even see how anyone can argue with it. If you don’t like the guy or trust that he’s taking us in the right direction on any other issue, just listen to his healthcare plan. It’s the solution. It allows the insurance industry to keep doing what it’s doing, but also allows citizens to essentially act as employees of the government and sign on to their insurance plan. I am guessing it will not be $850/month for this plan, either, and that the benefits are pretty good. But furthermore, I think the insurance industry is going to lower its costs when it gets this competition.
There’s a lot more that needs to be fixed as far as healthcare goes—unnecessary and ineffective testing that drives costs up, for one thing—but in the mean time, people like me (and people much poorer than me) need affordable healthcare that provides decent coverage. It’s desperate. Every day, I see my disposable income dwindle down to next to nothing as costs for basics and my property taxes go up. I can’t even imagine what it’s like for people who are unemployed or underemployed.
Not that I really see a problem with socializing medicine, except for what it would do to the insurance industry, and unfortunately the industry is such a significant part of our economy we can’t afford to have it go away, but this is not socialized medicine. This isn’t the government taking over and providing coverage for all. It’s providing the option of allowing citizens to reap the same benefits as government employees, while leaving the insurance industry intact for those who continue to go that route.
See the beauty in it. Support it. I want that freaking government health insurance.
Gosh, I thought I’d be able to say all that in fewer words and entertain you with something (else) fun and interesting. I’m afraid not. I’m looking forward to a weekend that might have a few bright spots (literally), as the rain has been unrelenting until now. I’m looking forward to being outdoors, watching some baseball, watching some fireworks, and spending time with friends. I hope you have something wonderful and relaxing planned this weekend, and thanks, as always, for reading.