(This isn’t going to be a particularly popular post to 90% of my friends. This is a warning to them. I’m still a good person … honest.)
I’m horrible at improv (that’s when you throw actors up on stage and have them make up a scene on the fly). I can turn any scene into a crying dramatic piece in approximately 49.5 seconds. Traditionally improv is supposed to be funny and I’m doing the exact opposite, therefore I fail. Luckily most theatre classes are like Yoga classes. No judgement zones. The instructor can’t scream, “What the hell is wrong with you? Why would you say your baby is dead, your husband drowned in the Titanic, and you have the black death?????” Instead the instructor will look at you nod and say, “That was a choice. Make another one.” Hey you may have failed horribly but give it another shot.
That’s what I want to say to the government in response to the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). Good for you. Way to make a choice! Now make another one.
Before I continue let me get it all out in the open. I really dislike politics. It makes me insane and because of that I tend to not spend much time digging into the details as it only makes me more furious. I am not a Republican nor am I a Democrat. Much to the dismay of my very Los Angeles (aka Democrat) friends I am registered as “no party affiliation.” Not Independent. Independent is a party. “No party affiliation.” When I made the decision to do that I read up on all the parties and decided I aligned most with the Green Party but that just seemed silly so I ignored that analysis and just shrugged off all those groups. I have voted for things that both parties support and I have suggested members of both parties are complete morons. I’m an equal opportunity non-supporter. I realize this makes many people crazy … it makes me less crazy.
I also HATE insurance. Since I have worked for companies that tend to change insurances annually I feel like I’ve had and fought with them all. I was obviously some sort of evil tax collector in a former life because I have horrible insurance karma. Everything is a fight. It just doesn’t seem that hard. Me (and my employer if I have one) give you money monthly then when I need medical help I get it and you pay most of the bills. HOW IS THAT HARD TO UNDERSTAND? A few years back I realized how screwed up the HMO system is when I was denied a test my cardiologist had requested for me. I really had no idea an insurance company can just say “nope” when a doctor says you need something. “Nah,” they said, “We will gamble on the fact that you may or may not have a heart attack that could be avoided based on info discovered in this test. We’ve crunched the numbers. We are going to roll the dice” Easy for them to say … it’s not their heart! For all the BS marketing they do about “wellness” campaigns insurances constantly prove to be “anti-wellness” but instead card counting gambling sharks that have gained whale status on our lives. Speaking of wellness campaigns what brain trust came up with the high deductible insurance idea? What kind of total bullshit is that? So I pay you x amount of money a year and then I pay for all my doctor bills until I hit a ridiculously large number and then you take over. I assume those number crunching gamblers have analyzed the total amount of money each american spends on healthcare per year then adds a few thousand for good luck and that is the deductible they use. That way the number of people who ACTUALLY have to be paid for under the insurance is as minimal as possible. Unless I have an emergency I’m paying the insurance company to add up my annual bills. I have a calculator thank you very much. I can do the adding up myself.
Mushing politics/government and insurance into one topic is obviously a circle of hell even Dante couldn’t imagine. Since I am not employed by a company and instead have been paying for COBRA (don’t get me started on COBRA) let me outline my personal issues with the Affordable Care Act. I realize many of you were not effected by this law/system at all and because of that have no issues with it. I also realize a few of you had a positive experience. Write your own blog. Here is my issues:
* The site is crap. You heard all about it on the news and I’m here to tell you it is true. I did the “worksheet” and was super happy that my financial woes, when it came to insurance, was over and then I filled out the site and my cost was the same (or similar enough) to what I was paying for COBRA — aka NOT AFFORDABLE. Of course to find this out took HOURS of my time since the site kept crashing. It was infuriating. This is the United States of America home of Apple and Facebook — FIX THE SITE. FIX IT. (As of last week I was still having issues with the site so telling me it has been fixed makes you have pants of fire.)
* Prior to Jan 1 I couldn’t even get through the phone line. It wouldn’t even ring. After Jan 1 I had to wait over 30 minutes to talk to someone. This is a RIDICULOUS amount of time. Hire more people. HIRE MORE PEOPLE. You didn’t know you were going to need so many people? Bullshit. Get the number crunchers at the insurance companies to help you out with your projected analysis and HIRE MORE PEOPLE.
* Turns out the reason my premium was so high was because I said I had COBRA. I’m told I misread the question. Apparently it asked if I have “affordable” healthcare right now. I have so much to say about this I just can’t … my expensive heart medication can’t take it.
* I could have gotten healthcare for under $100 per month (yah!) if I wanted a 10 million dollar deductible (boo). Okay it wasn’t actually 10 million dollars but it might as well have been. This is where I think the Affordable Care Act really missed the mark. It just isn’t affordable for the people who need it. Imagine you are one of those people. You are barely living check to check … if that. You are trying to get a better job or a job or get help. You are really trying but it is hell out there right now (believe me it is hell out there right now) so what happens? The government tells you that you HAVE to have insurance. You HAVE to have it for your own good. It’s true. You would love to have health insurance and certainly you would love your family to have it. After all you’ve had this nasty cough for a month now and you should probably have it checked out. You are thrilled to find out that for under $100 you can have insurance. Praise whatever lord you look to for that sort of thing. Then you read the policy and understand it has a deductible higher than your rent. That means if you go to the doctor you have to pay the ENTIRE BILL (granted it will most likely have been negotiated down to the insurance prices but it is still the entire bill). You will keep paying the entire bill until you hit that crazy high deductible and THEN you have good insurance. If you don’t have the money for monthly insurance how would you have money to pay for a doctor in the first place. What the policy is doing is taking away $100/month from your wallet and covering you (minus that large deductible) in case of a health emergency. It isn’t an Affordable Care Act it’s an Emergency Care Act.
Even after all this ranting I did sign up for a policy under Covered California. It took me a few months to get over the site crashing on me and having to wait to get someone on the phone but I eventually did it. The policy is not as good as my COBRA but I did choose to pay more monthly and not have a high deductible. Luckily, unlike others, I had that choice. I do believe all american’s are entitled to healthcare and I suppose to make that happen the government needs to step in. I applaud them figuring that much out. Now they need to make another choice.
(Since you may not be able to afford your anxiety meds here are some pictures of the cutie dogs I’ve been watching this week. Look at them and meditate peacefully.)