I’m a Democrat. But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed: That Government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more. That’s why my education reform offers more competition, and more control for schools and States. That’s why we’re getting rid of regulations that don’t work. That’s why our health care law relies on a reformed private market, not a Government program.
- President Barack Obama, State of the Union address, 2012.
Oh dear. Am I supposed to be a good little Democrat and stand up and cheer for this kind of feel-good, all-too-conservative campaign rhetoric?
I can't. I'm too busy trying to figure out how I'm going to pay a $5000 copay on my recent gall bladder surgery. Coincidentally, I just got done reading about a woman who not only made use of the ACA's pre-existing condition plan, she posted her own picture online to thank President Obama.
I know that feeling. When I found out I was eligible for this insurance, I was so relieved, I cried. I just had to hang on long enough to get the surgery done.
But afterward, the reality sinks in. You not only went into debt you couldn't afford to get the surgery you need, you still have to come up with enough money to pay that insurance premium every month. (And you still have to come up with a way to pay the medical bills you incurred before you got the insurance.)
President Obama wants to brag about our "reformed" private insurance market? Seriously? We have this thing called the internet now, we can see what other countries do about health care. Hint: Not this.
Here's what that same young woman (she has several chronic conditions and lost her part-time job when she took leave for her surgery) wrote Monday:
I’m still stupidly bummed, broke and haven’t had any sales in the shop in like a week (despite listing five new items last week) which doesn’t help. I also don’t think I’ll be able to raise $237 before the end of the month to pay February’s PCIP premium and that sucks really bad. Without sales coming in, I don’t have enough so I don’t know what to do about that. I hate being so broke and in medical bill debt Hell. I mean, I’m thrilled to be healthy but it feels like, at what cost, you know? What good is it to be healthy if you’re ruined because of it?
She's got a point, Mr. President. Me, I still have the exact same complaint about the Affordable Care Act that I did when you were trying to pass it: The subsidies aren't enough. The co-pays are too big. This is only what passes for "affordable" when you're a millionaire politician.
These desperate times calls for big changes, not corporate-friendly tweaks of the existing system. That's what I'm still waiting to hear.