It’s health insurance enrollment time again. I’m enrolling us, because let’s face it, I hate freedom. I’ve been watching the news, and I therefore know that Obamacare is a vile plot to make wealthy people pay a lot more for healthcare so that the undeserving poor can shirk their duty to die quietly of treatable ailments.
We’re not part of the 1% — not by a long shot — but I think we’re in the 20%, if that’s a thing, so apparently it’s up to us to pay for those single mothers. Over the last few months I had read that the middle class were going to get squeezed, because we would not qualify for any kind of subsidy because we make more than 4x the federal poverty level. Yes, people with pre-existing conditions on group plans would definitely lose out, getting less coverage and having higher costs. But how much higher?
The predictions were pretty dire — premiums were said to be going up by an average of 26% in Texas. Or maybe 37%, for middle aged people. Yes, 37% for middle aged men. Or maybe 88%, for middle aged men with pre-existing conditions opting for bronze-level or equivalent coverage in Texas. In fact, according to the experts at the Heritage Foundation, I could expect a robust 91% increase in insurance premiums.
So obviously, it was with trepidation that I read about the options available to me. Perhaps I would have to stop paying for the best available plan with the ultra low deductibles? I clicked through and saw the final cost. It has gone up by a massive, punitive 10% compared to 2012.
Obviously I am shocked, shocked to find out that so many dire predictions made by right-wing think tanks appear not to be accurate.
There’s a story in the news about a woman who dropped dead in the waiting room of a hospital. She slid off the chair and ended up face down in the corner of the room. Nobody else in the room did anything. It was 45 minutes until another patient drew attention to the corpse. There’s video.
Maybe I’m fooling myself, but I’d like to think I’d have at least called out "Hey, you in the corner, face down on the floor, are you OK?" And maybe if there hadn’t been a response I’d have, oh, perhaps got off my ass for a couple of minutes and found someone appropriate to inform about the situation.
Then again, it was the psych ward. Maybe things work differently there.
From the contract you have to agree to:
And it’s still solving the wrong problem.
It’s called XDR-TB, eXtreme Drug Resistant TuBerculosis. It’s spread by droplets in the air—perhaps by a cough or a sneeze. There are no drugs to treat it. 98% of those infected, die within two weeks.
Currently in South Africa, but perhaps coming soon to a homeless person near you.
A shocking 37 million Americans live in poverty. That is 12.7 per cent of the population — the highest percentage in the developed world. They are found from the hills of Kentucky to Detroit’s streets, from the Deep South of Louisiana to the heartland of Oklahoma. Each year since 2001 their number has grown.
Under President George W Bush an extra 5.4 million have slipped below the poverty line. Yet they are not a story of the unemployed or the destitute. Most have jobs. Many have two. Amos Lumpkins has work and his children go to school. But the economy, stripped of worker benefits like healthcare, is having trouble providing good wages.
Even families with two working parents are often one slice of bad luck – a medical bill or factory closure – away from disaster. The minimum wage of $5.15 (£2.95) an hour has not risen since 1997 and, adjusted for inflation, is at its lowest since 1956. The gap between the haves and the have-nots looms wider than ever. Faced with rising poverty rates, Bush’s trillion-dollar federal budget recently raised massive amounts of defence spending for the war in Iraq and slashed billions from welfare programmes.
Dealing with poverty is not a viable political issue in America. It jars with a cultural sense that the poor bring things upon themselves and that every American is born with the same chances in life. It also runs counter to the strong anti-government current in modern American politics.
c.f. The Onion, which makes the same point rather more briefly.