Sunday, December 25, 2011

National health insurance (May 23, 2009)

Current mood: drained

I am so sick and tired of not having health insurance. At one point recently, when both of us were working, our family income was in the six-digit range. Yet obtaining health care seems elusive.

America is supposed to be a leader in human rights. Well, this is a human rights issue, and when compared to a lot of countries, we're nowhere near the top.

Here's my personal timeline:

April 2003: My job ends, and with it, health care coverage that I had had more/less continuously since childhood.
Mid 2003: Still no job. Go on waiting list for Pennsylvania's AdultBasic program, which would provide some minimal health insurance for non-working adults. Also added children to CHIP program.
Mid 2004: Still on waiting list for AdultBasic. Wife finally gets a job, but health insurance is not an option.
Late 2004: AdultBasic finally becomes available, but since she's working, we qualify only at the higher rate.
Late 2005: We are bounced out of AdultBasic, as she has employment, and others on the waiting list do not.
Early 2006: Still no health insurance through employer, she changes employers. The new insurance has a phase-in period, with only certain things covered at first, more things covered the longer we stay in. Almost not worth it, but it's anything. It also only covers her, not me, except for dental.
Mid 2007: My mother is dying. I have to travel out of state to help care for her. Wife takes significant time off work. Reduced hours causes her to lose the health insurance, though she remains employed.
August 2007: Her work resumes at previous level, same employer. We can get back on coverage, at a price, but the cost-to-coverage ratio just doesn't justify it.
January 2009: I take a job that has good health care coverage. Also, wife finds another job that has an even better health policy than mine, so puts in two-weeks notice with her employer.
Late January: She gets hurt on the job, delaying her starting the next job.
February: She starts new job and signs up for health coverage. Yay, finally!
March: She loses that job. Meanwhile, I am past the sign-up date for coverage through my employer. Also, since I am now working with health care theoretically available, the kids will lose their CHIP coverage.

So now we're screwed, again.

What is it going to take for this country to have health care coverge for all? Yeah, I know, a trillion and a half dollars a year.

Objectors take note: We have socialized health care in this country. We have it for veterans. We have it for children. We have it for the elderly. That seems not to be a problem.

But the current method of tying it to employment is just plain nuts, and is why 1/6 of Americans have no health insurance. Either it's not available, or it's not worth the cost, or it's very limited in what and who it covers, and in any event, it can be lost, even without losing the employment.

I do not want the government to pay for my health CARE, just the COVERAGE. Let me buy my own policy, and just cover the cost of the policy. Then let the market do its thing. THAT'S the American way.


bus15237 said...

Comments on the original MySpace blog post:

Update, December 2009: I now have a new job, making $30/hour. Health insurance was not even an option.

Natasha Renée
This is still something I will never be able to understand. I mean we're supposed to be "leader" of the "free world" but when it comes to health care we're still SO far in the dark ages. And the public is so blind and brainwashed to think that anything "national" or "socialized" is equal to communism. It's just ridiculous. My daughter can get Medicaid but because i get $351 a month in child support I have "too much income" to qualify. It's just insane.

bus15237 said...

Update, late 2011: I again have decent paying employment, but no health care coverage. This time, I am considered an independent contractor, not an employee, so no benefits. I can theoretically go out on the market and buy it myself. The last time I shopped around, that was $1,500 to $2K per month for the coverage I'd need. Yeah, I can probably afford that ... *gulps* ... but I'm going to say that most people would have some trouble freeing up that kind of money.

The bottom line hasn't changed: The system is fundamentally broken.