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The insurance industry is a powerful lobby. Indeed, one of the most powerful. Every politician in this country should be supporting anything that takes some of its power away. The ACA does that. How?

1. Under the ACA insurance companies can no longer raise your premiums because you get sick or use too much of your health insurance. Some states (again, both conservative and liberal states) already have passed laws to keep this from happening. But under the ACA it will be illegal no matter where you live.
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Preventative action cuts health care costs. Preventative medicine is the most economical form of health care. For all of us. But, there are a few reasons why preventative care is not as widely available as it should be.

1. The leading reason why people do not have diagnostic tests for early detection, vaccines and other medical care is because they HAVE NO HEALTH INSURANCE. That is roughly 30-50 million people in this country. 30 million (think about that number). Do you think that 30 million are not getting sick? They are. Many in ways that could have been prevented if they had a regular doctor and routine diagnostic tests. And when they get sick, who do you think pays for it. You and I. In one form or another.

2. Continuity of service. Again, this is a matter of switching health care insurers and then health care providers. It’s confusing. Even the best insurance companies are guilty of confusing patients with in-network, out of network and a host of other “stipulations” that you don’t know until you get a bill for it. When people are switching doctors, they don’t have the health care they need.

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These are the benefits of the Affordable Care Act for all Americans but it benefits mostly the working poor and the lower middle class who need the benefits the most. If you read this and are still opposed and clamor for its repeal, then you are simply clueless and should pray, very hard, that you are never in the position to need its benefits. I hope you do not lose your job or your insurance. Because if you do, you’ll lose everything else. Trust me.

If you are working and you have to decide between food and insurance, you are the working poor.  There are MILLIONS of Americans who cannot afford both.  They work hard, often at menial jobs, and get little to nothing in return.  They are not the lazy people that some people have made up to make themselves feel better about opposing benefits.

The Waltons (owners of Walmart) are some of the richest people in the United States and most of their workers QUALIFY FOR FOOD STAMPS and do not receive health insurance.  When you oppose the ACA, you help keep the Walmart workers poor and the Waltons rich.  In other words:  WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU????

When you buy into the propaganda that is anti-ACA, you line the pockets of the rich and take away from the working poor.  Do you really want people who get up every day and go to work at some menial, horrible job to not have ANYTHING?  Not even health insurance?  Again: WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU???

I can understand (but don’t agree with) people opposing government programs such as welfare or food stamps or other things. You can say, “Well everyone can find SOME job to do.” But opposing the ACA is ludicrous. Everyone can’t afford health insurance and everyone can’t insist on staying healthy.

People as rich as the Waltons can afford to give their workers health insurance but they refuse so the government has to MAKE THEM!  Once upon a time, employer health insurance was a given for most working Americans.  Now it’s not.  That is why the middle class is disappearing.  There are the poor and the rich…guess which one you’re sliding toward?  Not rich.

You can’t say, “Those damn sick people! Why should we care about them?” because if you do, you are a fool because one day, and it could be very soon, you may be one of those sick people. Or someone you love. And you turn yourself inside out to do everything in your power to get the right treatment. And the last thing you need, in the face of losing someone you love dearly, is financial crisis.

So if you are opposed to the ACA and you’re not a millionaire, God help you.

1) The “mandate.” This is the boogie man tactic that those opposed use to scare people from it. What the mandate simply says is if you can afford insurance you have to purchase it. If you can afford insurance and choose not to get it and need medical care and don’t have insurance coverage you either have to get insurance or be fined by the IRS. This is a great “rule” that benefits EVERYONE. For years people have been complaining about the “freeloaders.” Well even if you don’t collect government benefits, if you can afford health insurance and don’t buy it, you are a freeloader. In more ways than one.
Now what is “afford”? Everyone making up to $44,000 will receive subsidies to help pay for their insurance if they need to buy it themselves (their employer doesn’t offer it). That covers my son who is so afraid of this mandate but doesn’t make 44k and works for a company that doesn’t cover him (though they could well afford to). But he makes too much to qualify for Medicaid and right now, buying insurance on his own would cost over $1000 a month. His government insurance would be much less than that and he would be able to afford check-ups and preventative care that he doesn’t get now.

Three years ago he contracted a rare version of Lyme Disease. I have never seen him so sick and he refused to go to the hospital. I told his wife I was keeping the kids and she was to bring him immediately to the Emergency Room. He went. He was there for days. He had test after test run and even had spinal fluid taken because they weren’t quite sure what it was. It was much worse than run of the mill Lyme disease. He didn’t pay for all of that treatment except with his taxes that go up year after year making health care even less affordable. And you paid for it and I paid for it and the hospital paid for some of it.

If, in the future, he does become debilitated due to sickness he could have avoided with preventative care, he will be the taxpayer’s problem as he will then qualify for Medicaid or Medicare and Social Security disability and the taxpayers will be paying for his care. It’s better he get affordable insurance and preventative care now than to incur thousands (sometimes millions) of dollars of medical bills later on that someone (the taxpayers) have to pay.

The “you can afford insurance” rate (making 44k or more) will be around 300-400 dollars a month. That is a bit more than many employer insurance plans but a lot less than many others. It is an incentive to get your employer’s health insurance. If you are making more than 45k in most parts of the country, you can afford 300-400 a month for health insurance.

The non-insured are a burden on the rest of us and many CAN afford insurance but roll the dice that they won’t ever need it. Additionally, many people pay much more than $300-400 a month to insure a family under their employer’s plan. They will be glad to have the option of this new insurance. I know I have paid huge premiums at some of the places I’ve worked and had one option. With this I will have more than one. I can CHOOSE. Wouldn’t that be nice?

People say “This is intrusion into the lives of Americans!” Well so are taxes, seat belt laws, child abuse laws and other things that the government regulates. People have been angry about seat belt laws for a long time. Smokers are mad about smoking restrictions. They all have the “This is a free country!” refrain. But health care mandate is NOT intrusion. It’s insisting that people can’t use the ER as a primary care physician. If you can afford health care, you have to buy it because if you don’t, others suffer. And that’s not fair. When a group of people decide to act outside the public interest, government steps in.

The government wants a safe and healthy populace. Unfair intrusion? If you think so. But like putting on your seat belt, this will save lives and be good for all. Don’t let the bogey man “There goes our liberty!” nonsense convince you otherwise.

2. Taxes. Everyone runs around screaming, “WHO IS PAYING FOR THIS???” And the answer is that there will be a tax increase mostly on those making more than 200k a year. If you’re opposed to the ACA and you’re not making 200k a year, you’re doing these rich people a HUGE favor. So stop it.

But the more people paying into it, the less for all of us. And the less people with NO insurance getting sick and becoming a burden on government programs, the better it will be for all of us.

We’re all paying taxes for the uninsured now. We’re paying a lot of taxes. We’re also paying higher medical costs and insurance premiums. The costs of the uninsured get passed to those of us who pay taxes, buy insurance and go to the hospital.

If you want to go to a hospital with the best staff, the best equipment and the ability to treat you with the best technology, you might not be able to find one because they are paying for the UNINSURED instead of staff, technology and equipment.  If you think that the uninsured showing up in the ER doesn’t affect you: THINK AGAIN.

If you don’t think you’re paying a hefty price for the uninsured, think again. Everyone having health insurance will ease the burden on those of us (mostly middle class) carrying the burden now.

Whenever a person with no insurance becomes seriously ill, you and I pay for it. It’s that simple. And it’s not okay for hardworking people who can’t afford health insurance to become burdens when regular checkups and preventative care can help them to stay healthy.

3) Small businesses will NOT be doomed. They will get federal tax credits to help pay for their employee’s health insurance. And if you work for a small business you might get health insurance for the first time EVER or you will find that your insurance premiums are smaller thanks to the help your employer will get from the government.

Click Here to Continue Reading Part III

Of course I spent the weekend looking all of this up. It was all very doomsdayish.

I was catapulted back to the days I was desperately searching for something, anything that would tell me that Michael’s brain tumor was curable. I was looking at the possibilities. None of them were very good. They were all some of the worst things to have.

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Right after Michael died I was grieving. I was shattered. My heart was broken into a million pieces. It felt as if it broke anew every single day. I felt as if the world was ending. He was sick for 11 months but he was there. I kissed him goodnight every night. I said I love you and he said he loved me back. Even though I knew he was one day, soon, not going to be there, there was absolutely nothing to prepare me for the reality of it. I was utterly and completely flattened.

For 13 years with Michael I never cried. I was happy. As in, “I just want to be happy.” What he said to me the night we met.

Now I was walking down the street sobbing. Walking down the street with tears just flowing down my face. I couldn’t stop it. People looked at me like I was crazy. I didn’t care. I was working in Philly and DC a lot at the time. I would take the Amtrak Acela down. Full of high powered business people (and once Tim Gunn…I stood in back of him on line in the cafe car. I wanted to say hello to him as I love him, but I was a mess).

The train was always crowded. I would sit there and cry. I couldn’t stop it. Even in my craziest days I wasn’t crying in public. But here I was…sobbing on the train wearing a business suit and typing into a laptop. What. a. mess.
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It’s been a wild few weeks/months/year. I have been out of work a long time with my back issues. I’ve been avoiding talking about the health issues, the depression, the move, the scare. The loss upon loss upon loss. But eventually I wanted to write about it when I could (finally) put some positive spin on it.

This is a long post, broken into 3 parts, but it’s a reflection of what has transpired recently and how it’s changed my life.

As I talked a little bit on here in March, it was a tough winter. My moods were fluctuating, swinging, weird. If not for my children and grandchildren, I’m not sure how stable I would have been. Gina called once night worried about the tone of my voice and alerted her brothers. There were flowers, phone calls, visits. I’ve never asked my kids to be there for me but they were.

Not that I wanted to intrude on my kids. I didn’t…but my daughter (probably being a daughter) could tell something was going on and let them know. It all felt a little dramatic to me.

It’s been a long time since drama was a part of my life. In the few years following my separation in early 1987 I was a basket case trying to unravel the crap of my past and build a life.

If you looked up crazy in the dictionary, my picture was there. The cure was worse than the disease. Taking everything that had happened to me and looking at it for the first time sent me spinning. Some days into orbit. Other days around the bend. Aiyiyi.

I think about those days…from 87 until about 93 and am somewhat appalled at a lot of things I did. As I’ve said on my other blog, there were times I could have been diagnosed as Borderline Personality Disordered. That is how extreme my behavior was. But it wasn’t BPD, it was working through a lot of abandonment and abuse. I had no business being in relationships or dating or anything for that matter. I wasn’t even sure I should have had friendships. I was a mess a lot of the time.

I bring this up because by the time I met Michael I was pretty well straightened out. I didn’t talk a lot about my past. He knew stuff was there and I gave him the short version. I could have talked to him about anything, but I didn’t see any reason to replay the freak show. His past was not always attractive. We both knew about the others others (mostly), but by the time I met him I was pretty drama free, had worked through most of my stuff and didn’t really feel like talking about it.

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