Thursday, June 28, 2012

Obama May Care - But I Don't

For the most part, I've ignored the whole Obamacare issue - not much I can do about it one way or another and politics being what they are - whether or not it stays in place or is dismantled will depend wholly on the outcome of the election in November.  I really don't care who wins that election.  Far left, far right - I'm somewhere in the middle and I firmly believe by the time a person runs for national office - s/he is already corrupt and owned by the businesses and big-money backers who put them in office.  As long as there's an electoral college and political contributions are allowed by corporate entities and lobbyists - my vote doesn't really count.  And frankly I find that every four years we in the middle have two choices - the lesser of two evils or not voting.  To me - the outcome will be the same. 
As for Obamacare.  I've believed for as long as I can remember that health care should be available to everyone and while *some* doctors make huge salaries, compared to many corporate CEOs - they make nothing, and have to pay astronomical amounts for malpractice insurance.  So what do physicians and health-care providers have in common with their patients?  The high cost of insurance.  It is the insurance companies making the money.  Unless you get sick like I did, most people don’t even use a doctor enough to pay their annual deductible.  They pay insurance premiums for years and never spend nearly that amount on their own health care.  The regular response by insurance companies, “well that’s why we’re here … just in case.”   

As far as I can determine – Obamacare has some good points and some very bad points.  It’s great more poor people will have access to Medicaid – but the poorest have always been eligible.  It’s the working class, those working low-paying jobs that pay just barely too much for them to qualify for any assistance who fall through the cracks.  And now they’re going to be fined because their employers either won’t offer or are too small to offer group-rate health insurance?   

What about the lower middle class folks – like me, who earn what is considered a moderate living – but still live paycheck-to-paycheck and have nothing extra to save or spend after we’ve paid our basic living expenses?  If I didn’t work for a company that offered group health insurance – I would be one of those being fined.  Or maybe not – I’d just be dead after my health issues of the past several years.  And many companies that formerly offered health insurance can no longer do so?  Those companies still able to offer health insurance benefits are paying higher and higher premiums, and so are their employees – usually for less coverage than we used to have.  

The choice for many people who live on the border of the income level where they can receive help becomes easy – have more children, don’t work and live instead on the government dole (read – on the backs of we taxpayers).  It’s insane, backwards thinking and planning.  Rather than creating incentives to work and to get more education in order to earn more money – the government does the exact opposite and have been doing it since the orphans and widows of WWII veterans grew up and the purpose of AFDC went from supporting orphans and widows to supporting the lazy and irresponsible.   

Tax the wealthy at a higher rate that would be equal to the tax burden of the middle class – fine.  Most can afford their fair share and wouldn’t mind.  And tax big businesses the same way.  Taxing small- and medium-sized businesses that are struggling to grow or struggling to stay afloat without leaving them financial resources to grow and create more jobs is asinine.  But the most asinine source of funding for Obamacare as I see it is taking money from Social Security and Medicare recipients – retirees on fixed incomes.  

These people – like my parents – worked hard their entire lives and managed to save some money for retirement and money was taken from their paychecks without their choice or consent to pay for social security.  They believed that with what they’d save and social security – they would at least be able to be comfortable in their elder years.  But today Medicare and social security don’t begin to cover what it costs to live even frugally. 

If you’re retired and receive Medicare – you’d best have Medicare supplemental insurance or you’ll find yourself feeling like you have no insurance at all when you need it most and can afford it least.  Even if you have thousands of dollars in savings and investments – if you retire at 67 and live to be 97 – you’ll have burned through that money long before you die.  And we keep hearing that as we Baby Boomers retire – there will be no money to pay social security benefits – even though we’ve paid in all our working lives.  It’s just not right.  And there would have been a simple answer to restructure social security into an individual savings program.  Whatever you paid in would be what you’d get back.  Instead it’s like our retirement savings have been raided to pay for more entitlement programs that we’ve already pay for with our tax dollars.  We’re being double-dipped upon!

 I do like the part of Obamacare where I can still provide health insurance coverage for my 20-year-old son, but it only works for me because I’m employed with a company who offers health care insurance.  I couldn’t cover him if my employer didn’t have these benefits.  In that case, I guess we’d both be fined. 

 I had nearly 140 days of no-pay FMLA last year.  I have great insurance, but I still owe thousands that my insurance didn’t cover and I have no idea where I would begin to get the money to pay those copayment bills.  Even if I set up payment plans – I’ll be paying for years to come.  I have over $12,000 in student loans because I was trying to change careers so I could make more and save more for my retirement – but then I got sick and had to quit school.  I’ll probably never be able to go back.  So it’s like I threw nearly $20,000 down a big, black hole.

So while Obama may care – I don’t.  Until there’s a decent candidate for those of us who believe in helping those truly in need learn to help themselves rather than supporting multiple generations of ne’er-do-wells with useless entitlement programs; open up the books of all governmental agencies and all businesses who make money through government contracts, do a thorough 3rd-party audit of the waste, graft and useless programs shutting down the useless, the obsolete, the corrupt and the wasteful and use those funds on programs like Obamacare and start running government like a business that must plan wisely to stay in business – I probably won’t vote for a candidate. 

 It’s not the government that’s bad – our constitution and Bill of Rights are probably the best in the world.  It’s the dirty, the corrupt, the greedy, the uncaring, the selfish people in power who are destroying our way of life, our peace-of-mind and dividing us in to two distinct groups – the haves and the have-nots.  The rich and powerful – and the rest of us.  Yes – it’s the politicians – but I also believe there are those who truly pull the strings of all of the world’s puppets – and we’re swallowing their rhetoric; and are becoming nothing but a nation – and a world divided.  We’re lemmings willing to jump off the cliff of either the right or the left.  We’ve forgotten that the truth always lays in the middle.