I am one of the 47 million people in the United States without health insurance.
I’m 47. I’m self-employed. My husband had a mild, treatable, totally over form of cancer in 1999. I’ve been to the doctor once or twice for not-very-serious problems. According to the insurance companies, we’re both in the “high risk” group. Even though we both exercise every day, are of moderate weight and almost never get sick. My son went to the doctor last summer for his football physical, an appointment which consisted mostly of weighing, measuring, two shots and the doctor remarking on what great shape Sean was in. It cost $300.
We know people who have $10,000 deductible insurance which costs $1000 a month. (This is more like paying the mob not to burn down your house than health insurance.) The last time we were quoted a policy it was well over $1000 a month. This was a couple of years ago, and the premiums go up for individual policies by 15-30% a year. Moreover, insurance companies have a nasty habit of revoking your policy if you ever need it. We’re hoping, I guess, to make it to medicare without getting hit by a drunk driver or getting cancer or whatever else could happen to us.
So I was excited about the policy of health reform, but I am very, very worried about what’s on the table. The Baucus plan would require us to spend at least 13.5% of our income on payments to health insurance companies. It might be a lot more. I’m not sure what the number is for a family of three, but they’re quoting for four, and it’s just over $55,000. I make more than that most years. Which would mean that I would be required to pay whatever the insurance companies wanted to charge. I don’t have an extra $20,000 a year lying around. I don’t like giving money to what is essentially a criminal enterprise. If there’s no public option, all health reform will be, for me, is a requirement to make Anthem Blue Cross even more profitable than it already is.
I resent being called a “free rider.” I pay for everything my family needs. I pay into Medicare every year for other people though not, for another 20 years, for myself. I don’t have any of those fat slob long-term problems like diabetes, heart disease. I don’t smoke. I don’t do drugs or drive recklessly. My family has never used more than $6000 worth of health services in a year, and that was the year my husband had skin cancer. What Blue Cross wants is for me to pay them two to three times the maximum exposure they could ever have in insuring me. To hell with them. I’m keeping the money.
This talk of exchanges is complete bullshit. There are only a couple of insurance companies that do business at all in New Hampshire. We’ve had policies cancelled when one of them left the state because of some sort of regulation that made it harder to dump people will illnesses. There’s no reason to think that anything will change after reform, or that costs will be lower because of “competition.” (Competition with who? It’s a monopoly.) We need a public option and if our government delivers a mandate without a public option, they have screwed every self-employed person in the country.
But what else is new?