Health Care for the Likes of Me

             Sen. Clinton’s newly re-minted health care plan sounded to me like the health plan salvation I’ve been looking for for years. Wow! What a savings it’ll be. I’ll be able to buy lots of stuff at Wal-Mart with the money I’ll save, you can bet on that.  I’ve been watching several things in the electronics section, know what I mean? 

            Sen. Obama’s plan and whatever Sen. McCain has going in his little political straight talk express yourself deal today are equally amazing. Whoever grabs the White House this year is going to be my best buddy. 

            The problem is I just don’t believe them. Any of them.  

            Let me tell you a little about my health care woes.

            It all came home to roast me first in 1983 when my wife and I had our first baby. I lost my health care between my marriage and the pregnancy because a new plan came along that sounded so much better. I applied and they told me I was in. So I let the original insurance lapse. But then the new plan decided, No, I was out. And by then my wife was preggers. No one would touch us. 

            When my wife went into the hospital with toxemia the last three weeks, and delivered by C-section Nicole our little preemie, we ended with more than $25,000 in hospital bills. We paid it off at $300/month for six years.  I recall that last payment. How I screamed. How I jumped for joy. How I wept and told Nicole, “You better amount to something, girl, because you cost a fortune.” 

            I made sure never to be without health insurance again, mainly by working in industry with good benefits. 

            Until 2002, I or my wife always had a regular, unfulfilling, grind-it-out job where the various companies paid for not-that-bad-but-not-great health insurance. And of course there was our “small” donation to that, too. But being writers, we wanted to write. So we went fulltime freelance. The only way we could do that and get cost-effective health insurance was by forming a “group” of two with Blue Cross/Blue Shield. It cost about $800 a month at that time. We couldn’t qualify for any cheaper “individual” plan because pre-existing conditions pre-empted us.

            Over the next few years, I developed problems with diabetes, high blood pressure, and other things. Our health insurance went up each year to what it is today, almost $1500/month. With all the accounting and tax necessities with the IRS to prove we’re truly a group, it racks up another $300 per month. In addition, my medications cost about  $150 a month even with the discounts. That’s to say nothing of the $500 deductible for going into the hospital for any reason, including visiting someone already there(well, not quite, but it seemed that way).

            Thus, we’re looking at nearly $2000 a month just to have health insurance, which is more than 30% of our income.

            But the perils of not having health care are far worse today. So we bite the bullet and die financially, but live on the happy knowledge that if at 57 years old I have a heart attack, I’m well-covered. At least, after deductibles, and writing a promissory note that I won’t have another one for sixty years. 

            Now where does that leave us with all these plans from our candidates?

            It’s rather amusing. They expect us to believe this? Especially when we all know how well the government runs things – from the motor vehicle place to my kids’ public schools to the endless regulations for everything under creation?

            So this is what I say, “Hillary, Barack, John, convince me. Dig down deep into those super-smart craniums of yours and show me as a self-employed fool with preexisting conditions that you can deliver. Otherwise, just go on blathering away like you do and win my contempt with every word you speak.” 

            

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