Tuesday, June 27, 2017

How the GOP TrumpCare Bill Would Affect Me

There's nothing dramatic to my story, but since the Republican attempt to "repeal & replace" the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will affect every American if it passes, we should probably all share our stories.

I'm one of the lucky ones. I'm not quite as lucky as those the GOP health care bills are written for, those who earn over $250,000 a year who will get tax cuts if the Senate version of "WealthCare" passes. But still, I'm one of the lucky ones. I've never been seriously sick as an adult and I have consistently had health insurance from an employer since 1978. I'm less than four years away from becoming eligible for Medicare, but I may not make it that far in an industry and a corporation that are both undergoing regular job reductions. I've also thought about retiring voluntarily before my 65th birthday, but the only thing that keeps me from doing so is health insurance. Even though I have been a very light user of my health insurance (I've made it through the past forty years with one broken arm, a few stitches, and two 'annual' physicals), I don't feel I could let myself go uninsured. I wouldn't like paying for a private health plan under the ACA to close the gap before Medicare, but I could afford to do so. If I lose my job and the Senate version of TrumpCare (the Orwellian-sounding "Better Care Reconciliation Act") passes, my annual premium would rise from $6,800/year under the ACA to over $20,000/year to give tax breaks to millionaires. At that price, I probably would go without insurance until Medicare kicks in and hope for my health luck to hold out (even though I know that I'd have the first serious illness of my life as soon as I became uninsured). That, in a nutshell, is my undramatic story.

But this isn't a collection of individual stories; it's a national tragedy. Unfortunately, for many Americans it's a devastating story of life and death. For many others its a harrowing matter of personal bankruptcy caused by a single unforeseen accident or illness (an exceptionally American problem). For others, it's a common American story of feeling chained for life to a boring corporate job one hates when one would rather be taking a chance being a writer or artist or freelance plumber or food-truck entrepreneur, all because of our health insurance trap. Why can't the party that claims to love FREEDOM! more than any other value see that a modern (c.1948) government-run single-payer health plan would free companies large and small from acting as insurance agents and free the rest of us from our greatest financial uncertainty and from our dead-end bullshit jobs, freeing us to be more fully ourselves and worrying less about piling up money for that inevitable rainy day? I would have gladly gotten out of the way and given my desk to a young go-getter by now if we had a National Health Service, but US corporations are full of burnt-out pieces of dead wood hanging on for our Aetna or Cigna cards, hoping we never have to use them.

Even though Mitch McConnell had a setback today, keep contacting your Senators and Representatives and tell YOUR story, which is probably more compelling than mine. Let them know that Obamacare isn't perfect but it has insured millions more and greatly reduced medical bankruptcies; TrumpCare in both its House and Senate versions would increase the number of uninsured, increase the number of medical bankruptcies, reinstate lifetime coverage caps, etc. We should always be moving toward universal coverage, not further away.

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