After five years, I wrote my first check for actual affordable health care last week. For the first time since 2008, the amount we paid for decent health insurance with decent deductibles had three digits instead of four, thanks to subsidies. That amount covers three of us, and the fourth member of the household is paying around $300 per month for a platinum policy, unsubsidized.
Mentioning these things brings out the bitters and the ACA Guilt Brigade looking for gratitude in all the wrong places:
@Karoli my experience is just the opposite... I guess People like me are subsidizing your premiums... You are welcome!
— Nixi Noxo (@NixiNoxo) January 5, 2014
They want everyone to imagine that these subsidies are just a handout. Because moochers are bad, and subsidies are mooching.
Here are a few facts for the marching members of the You're-a-moocher-but-what-am-I chorus:
People making between 138% and 400% of the Federal poverty level qualify for premium assistance. Just for reference, 400% of the Federal poverty level for a family of four is around $94,500.
I would love to have a job where I made more than $94,500 and paid the full amount. Seriously, I would. But I don't have one of those, and the one we HAD was eliminated by the austerity queens in the House who thought sequestration would be an awesome thing.
Unemployment benefits are running out and if we're really, really lucky, they might extend them for 13 more weeks while they run out the 2014 clock repealing the ACA a few more times along with an abortion ban or two. In other words, jobs are not first and foremost on Republicans' minds now or ever, so that's a big EFF EWE from them to us, too.
Yet we still pay taxes, just like others do. We still pay our kid's college expenses and we handle our property taxes and our sales taxes and yes, even our income taxes. Maybe we don't pay as much as you do, but we do pay.
With that in mind, take your guilt and shove it. If you make enough that you don't qualify for subsidies, get down on your knees and thank God for that job and maybe think some good thoughts for the rest of us who don't. And if you have employer-paid insurance, you're paying your share of the premiums with before-tax dollars, which means you're getting a subsidy too. If you're not, then just be glad you have the income level you do.
Many of us don't anymore. Not that we couldn't do the work, or wouldn't do the work. It's just that when you hit a certain age, that work is no longer as easy to find. It may come as a shock to you to discover employers don't want to pay for older employees' health insurance either, so they're the first to go.
I've paid taxes for over 40 years. I've paid for wars, and recessions, and bailouts and bankruptcies. I'm sure as hell not going to apologize for needing a subsidy to pay for health insurance. After four years of shelling out nearly $20,000 per year at the expense of our retirement plans and everything else, I am grateful and glad to get a break.
In other words, yahoos, I subsidized YOU for the past ten years. Quit expecting me to blubber my undying gratitude because I was fortunate enough to get a damned tax credit after years of not even getting a tax deduction.
Get over yourselves.