As an abysmally underinsured American, for the past decade I’ve been acutely aware of the passage of time. Every day that went by felt like it was one day closer to whatever catastrophic health problem was going to take me down. The company I work for thought it was decent and fair to provide its employees with insurance that had a 3,500.00 cap. I always felt as if I were one sprained ankle away from joining the ranks of the uninsured, and it terrified me.
Once, I tripped off a curb and as the asphalt was rushing up to meet me, instead of thinking, “What can I do to prevent this?” or “This is going to hurt,” my very first thought, even prior to impact, was, “I can’t afford this.” That shouldn’t be the case.
Another time I broke one of the bones in my foot and couldn’t afford treatment, so I hobbled around for six months on a cane while it improperly healed. I can feel it every time the weather gets cold, and that will be an ache that I’ll get to experience every winter for the rest of my life. That shouldn’t be the case.
Oh, believe me, I tried to get individual insurance, but due to pre-existing conditions, they wanted to charge me 900.00 a month. That shouldn’t be the case either. Before taxes, I only make 1700.00 a month, and I pay 700.00 a month in rent. That would leave me less than a hundred bucks a month for food, gas, utilities… Give me a break.
Could I get some kind of financial or medical assistance? Nope. I make too much money. My friends in other countries are shocked by my situation.
So when I finally, finally paid my first monthly premium for Obamacare and found it would cost me the same amount that I had been paying for my previous, crappy insurance, but that this coverage would be about a million times better, I hung up the phone and I got tears in my eyes. That’s one less thing to worry about, freeing me up for that pursuit of happiness that I was assured was my right according to the Declaration of Independence.
Let’s address the big old Republican elephant in the room, shall we? Yes, the website is a joke. Yes, it took me daily attempts for almost two solid months before I could get through that nightmare. But you know what? I did it. In spite of the frustration, I kept trying until I got through, because I desperately needed to succeed in this effort, and I wasn’t going to give up. It was too important.
Yes, the Republicans are flooding the media with absurd horror stories and warnings that they’ll take away your firstborn child, implant you with microchips, shuttle you off to a death panel, plaster close up photographs of your hemorrhoids on the billboard closest to your place of work, and force all the doctors in America to go bankrupt, but I’m here to tell you that Fox News and their ilk are spewing fifty gallon drums of liquefied manure.
Here’s the horror story that they don’t want to tell you. As more and more of us sign up, and as the dust settles, we’ll start to realize just how many lies we’ve been told over the years. We’ll realize that our employers have been screwing us over, and big insurance companies have been sticking knives in our ribs for decades. It isn’t Obamacare that has forced all of us off of our substandard insurance. Our insurance companies’ refusal to make the coverage meet even the most minimal requirements is what caused those jokes they called policies to disappear. The spiraling cost of medical care, the abuse of the pharmaceutical companies, and the greed of the insurance agencies wanting an ever increasing piece of the monetary pie is what’s putting the squeeze on doctors.
Once we all stop waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, worrying about the mildest of sore throats or the dullest of aches, affordable healthcare will become a regular part of our lives and it will be here to stay. All the boogeymen will crawl back under their dusty little Republican beds and life will go on. The term Obamacare will stop being a pejorative and instead will be considered a basic right. (And I’m making every effort to hurry it on its way by using it whenever possible, to de-criminalize it in people’s minds.)
Soon it will be big business waking up in a cold sweat, figuratively speaking, because they’ll have to accept the fact that if they had behaved decently in the first place, Obamacare wouldn’t need to exist. And they’ll no longer be able to hide the fact that because of their abuses, the vast majority of Americans actually want this. Really, they’ve brought it on themselves.
Whatever caused it to exist at this moment in our history, I’m extremely grateful that it does. So thank you, Mr. Obama! I know it feels like an albatross around your neck at the moment, but future generations will appreciate your courage and resolve. I can honestly say you may have just saved my life.
[Image credit: beforeitsnews.com]