Little City Beat / Tough choices on healthcare
I'm a big believer in choice. Most of us learn to make good choices only after painful lessons from bad choices on the long and winding road. A select few wind up making good choices all along, whether by luck, guile, or intuition. Some repeat the same bad choices over a lifetime and never grasp better options that were availed to them. I, especially, feel their pain.
It has come to my attention that a great many of you do not want the government yoke around your necks when it comes to healthcare. Roughly, half rebel against Obamacare. Many states are in the infant stages of repeal through the judicial process. You simply don't have any confidence that the federals serve your interests. Guess what? I am with you 100 percent. You should not be mandated against your will on such a private choice as repairing your health and constitution.
So, when you rail against European style socialistic healthcare, I hear you. Stick to your ideological guns. Unfortunately, you can't pick and choose which aspects of government health insurance you approve of or loathe against. In other words, if your stance is firm and you desire your freedoms again, you must opt out of all government care in order to be consistent. You have my unconditional support.
1. Obamacare. You may surrender your and your kid's right to obtain coverage from private indemnity companies because of a pre-existing illness or accident. You may be denied or rated up the wazoo, without an insurance exchange to back you up. You may have your contract rescinded after a sickness at a whim from some irritable underwriter. Your family plan shall lose eligibility for daughters and sons up to age 26. You will be reintroduced to both annual and lifetime dollar limit caps when it comes to serious stuff. Covered preventative consultations, screenings, and immunizations will be forsaken for deductibles. Seniors must give back or sacrifice the $250 rebate for PX drugs. And small business owners who can't afford another expense must forfeit the 35 percent tax credit when they can, someday in the future. Finally, insurance providers will be entitled to any rate increase and margin of profit from cherry picking that suits them and their shareholders best. Just like the good old days.
2. Medicaid. OK, I know most of the readership here won't have to worry about qualifying for poor insurance. But consider this: if you lose your job and fall on hard times, which is possible anywhere, you must forgo any trip to the ER. Hospitals can refuse your admittance, particularly if you have had experience with health matters (pre-existing/see above). Not only that, COBRA won't kick in because that is another government mandate on private enterprise that you must waive. Let's not also forget that you will no longer be able to spend down assets in the necessary five years before entering a nursing facility on the government tab.
3. Medicare. Hoo boy, this is one is a big can of worms. If you agree to terminate all the provisions entitled to you under numbers 1 and 2, logic seems to suggest that you must relinquish number 3 as well. I know it is difficult to imagine yourself at 65 if you are 25, 35, 45, or even 55. But you must decide whether or not you have the legs and stamina to become an elder statesman or stateswoman. I guess if you don't think it's possible to age, just ask your employer to give you a bump of 1.45 percent in take home pay and forgo senior care forever, without revocability. On the other hand, if you have made it to the golden age, but renounce big brother snooping into your personal business, you have no alternatives except self-insurance or applying for major medical reimbursement from a private sector claims-paying entity near you. I wish you, good luck.
4. Tax Payer Subsidized Corporate Plans. We're almost done. I promise. I actually think it's a good idea that corporations are allowed a tax deduction off of retained earnings to provide group benefits. However, is it fair to tax individuals to compensate for big employers' good intentions? I know corporations are people. But I'm a people, too. Why should I subsidize your health insurance just because you work in a giant beehive? If corporations are so anti-state, why shouldn't they redeem their tax breaks, altogether? Of course, then, their employees would have to make up the difference in either reduced benefits or big premium boosts. Oh, well. That's happening, anyway.
There you have it. A way out of the bureaucratic nightmare of government intrusion into the deepest most private decision you can make in your life. I say, make the hard choice and employ your own free will. You may sign off on your annual taxes. Or, just read and sign a one-page waiver at your local library or post office to keep things simple, stupid. I have heard you loud and clear. Stand by your convictions and choose. What have you to lose?
Dan Vasone's column is published each month in the Fairfield Citizen.