When Politics Interferes With Reason
Avoiding Obamacare because you don't like Obama is just plain idiotic.
Trump has made news by allowing insurers to sell "temporary" insurance policies that cover basically nothing. After a $7500 deductible, they cover pitiful amounts for emergency care. $1000 for an emergency room visit, $5000 for surgery. These are bills that could total in the tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. The coverage provided is essentially worthless, no matter how low the premiums are. It is like these "burial insurance" policies sold to old people as "Life Insurance for Seniors!" - as if you could spend a few dollars gambling on your certain death and allow your family to cash in millions.
They say you don't know how good your insurance is until you need it. You can read policies and try to figure all the deductibles and co-pays and limits out, but it is difficult to do. Only when you actually file a claim do you know what good the policy is. But ACA or "Obamacare" policies at least have to comply with federal laws. These flimsy "Trumpcare" plans offer no useful coverage at all. In a way, it is like "Trump University" or any for-profit college. Yes, technically they are providing an education, but in reality it is of no use whatsover.
The problems with Obamacare, I have noted before. The biggie is the cost - thousands of dollars a month, tens of thousands a year. If you make under approximately $70,000 a year, you get a subsidy of the premiums. If you make near the poverty line in income, you get a full subsidy and get essentially free coverage. I did the math on this and realized that if I continued to work and made about $70K a year, I would spend one-third of my after-tax income on health insurance.
On the other hand, if I "retired" I would get free health insurance. Guess which option I took.
Others have fewer choices. Many middle-class people, with a family and a six-figure income, find themselves paying huge amounts for health insurance. Unless they have coverage through their employer - which is also becoming hugely expensive, and employers are trying to find ways of ducking out on that - they are in a real bind.
But others.... well, it is kind of hard to feel sorry for them. I have run into people in my travels who refuse to sign up for ACA coverage because it is "Obamacare" and in their minds, insurance for [N-word]s. Moreover, they think that if they don't sign up for it, somehow this will cause Obamacare to fail or they will make some sort of political statement by doing do.
A recent article is case in point. A poor couple loses their employer coverage, so they decide to buy a Trumpcare plan. They avoid the "ACA" because "they heard bad things about it." Long story short, they have a major medical emergency and now owe the hospital a quarter-million dollars, with their "Trumpcare" plan covering only a few thousand of it. No word on how much premiums were for this worthless policy - likely they were less than an ACA plan would have cost them, with subsidy. The journalists in the article seem strangely to lack curiosity on that point.
But similar stories abound. On Reddit, a fellow opines that he refused to sign up for Obamacare because he's a Republican. Then his wife gets cancer, and he realizes what an ass he's been. Fortunately, he discovers that since he recently moved, he can still sign up, even outside the "window" period. Lesson learned: Politics is fine and all, but don't let it cloud rational thinking, particularly in life-and-death matters.
Is Obamacare a mess? You betcha. I've belabored that point here time and time again. But what most people hate about Obamacare is the "Obama" part of it. I've had retirees on Medicare tell me how awful Obamacare is - without articulating one single real reason why it is so bad. They just heard Rush Limbaugh say it was bad - and like the family profiled in the article - assumed this to be true. We really don't teach critical thinking skills in this country anymore, do we?
I recounted before how the owner of a local storage locker place let his manager die from cancer rather than pay for health care coverage. "I'd rather pay the fine than buy coverage!" he said, "I'm not letting the government tell me what to do!" So, even though the fine cost more than the coverage cost, and even though his manager worked for him loyally for 20 years, he let her die. We no longer keep our trailer on his property, it goes without saying.
Sadly, this lack of compassion and logic pervades all levels of society. Obamacare needs fixin' to be sure, but Republicans have blocked every attempt to fix it, and have sponsored every attempt to sabotage it. What's worse, given more than a decade to come up with an alternative, their "plan" consists of a blank sheet of paper, to this very day. But people who are directly affected by this, still support Republican causes, because they don't want their daughter to have an abortion or their son go get gay-married (they can still, however, attend Dad's funeral).
Using politics in place of logic is just stupid. But I see people do this all the time. I had a nice conversation with a younger man who was a Bernie supporter. He said he voted for Bernie last time around. "You mean in the primary," I replied, "who did you vote for in the general election?" He waffled and then said, "Aren't they the same thing?" Nice fellow, but we allow people like this to vote?
I meet a lot of people who blindly follow political causes - buying into political suits-of-armor lock, stock, and barrel. They are in favor of such-and-such a position because their favorite celebrity newscaster promoted it, or because it is fashionable among their peers. Right-wing Republican or Left-wing Democrat, it makes no difference - opinions are bought wholesale, off the rack and then worn like clothes.
Maybe that is a fun hobby and all, like believing in conspiracy theories or whatnot, although being a political junkie doesn't make you popular with others, and drains away your emotional energy. So maybe it isn't just harmless fun, after all.
And it certainly isn't, when you let politics run your personal life - denying yourself medical insurance because you don't like the guy it's named after. Or buying gold because some political type (who is selling said same gold) told you to. Or throwing a garbage can through a McDonald's storefront or getting into street riots because of "politics" - and ending up in jail and with a criminal record as a result of it (endearing yourself to future employers, no doubt!).
Politics, as I noted before, as fine and all, but your real power in politics is in your vote, or the money you contribute to a candidate. It doesn't lie in bumper stickers or long boring political discussions - or in sacrificing your very life over some political principle. Because often these political principles benefit others, and not you.