It’s going to be a short PopCulteer this week. I am hunkered down in the PopCult bunker, preparing the annual PopCult Gift Guide, which will begin on November 14 with over 120 entries, and that is going to take up much of my time for the next couple of weeks. I’m going to try to keep most of our regular features intact, but be advised that the PopCult Toybox and The PopCult Bookshelf will not happen next week because both of those regular features are going to play into the Gift Guide on an almost daily basis..
However, we do have a big thing happening in this country next week, and though I try to keep PopCult free of politics, I have to mention one political issue that’s near and dear to my heart.
There is the belief among many of my friends that we need to repeal the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) because rates are going up. Never mind that rates are going up at a lower rate than the GAO originally projected, or that rates are going up only at a fraction as fast as they were before the implementation of the law, or that the overall cost of healthcare is a mere fraction of what it would be without the ACA, or that tens of millions of people who were previously uninsured now have health coverage. There are people out there who want to kill this program, regardless of the immediate consequences of such a reckless act.
Let me get personal for a moment and tell you exactly what a repeal of the ACA would mean for me.
I am not part of the healthcare exchange or Medicaid. I was able to leave the exchange after being on it only three months and got on my wife’s PEIA policy after we were married in 2014.I had not had health insurance for more than thirty years prior to that. With insurance, I was able to get regular exams and address some nagging health issues that I’d been ignoring. Regular readers of this blog know that I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis earlier this year and began treatment for the chronic disease, which has vastly improved the quality of my life.
Because our legislature is working hard to underfund PEIA, it is a very real possibility that, if the ACA were repealed, I would be kicked off of my current policy and would be forced to buy private insurance. However, if the ACA is repealed, I would not have the protection afforded to me by the part of that law that prevents insurance companies from refusing to insure people with pre-existing conditions.
Myasthenia Gravis is one hell of a pre-exisiting condition.
I would have to consider stopping my treatments.
I would have the option of quitting all my paying jobs (your PopCulteer is a freelancer) and filing for disability. Even with that, and the major cut in my income that would result from that, I would probably end up losing everything I own, including my house, and would probably have to divorce my wife to protect her assets from liquidation in order to go on Medicaid (under the pre-ACA rules).I would definitely have to stop producing Radio Free Charleston and would no longer be able to participate in the local music, arts and theater scenes. I would be able to continue PopCult until I would eventually have to cancel my internet connection to save money.
Of course, I would also have the option of stopping all my treatments and prescriptions and simply live a shorter, miserable life with crossed eyes and paralyzed hands and the probability of my symptoms worsening to the point where I could no longer breathe on my own.
Let me remind you that I am not on the healthcare exchange. I do not take any subsidies from the government. Not a single person reading this is paying a higher premium so that I can get a cheap deal on my insurance.
There are tens of millions of people in my exact situation who would be left adrift if the ACA was repealed. Many of them, like me, are in the midst of being treated for serious diseases. Now, I realize that some of my readers are in the throes of a Libertarian mastubatory fantasy where the healthcare industry can be trusted to work perfectly in the free market, but that’s okay. I can accept that some of my readers are woefully misinformed and wrong-headed about the subject.That’s why I’m willing to tell my own story so that they might finally realize the reckless nature of their desire to kill a much-needed reform.
Healthcare has become a political football. Had President Obama not gotten this law passed, health insurance rates would likely be triple what they are now and the harshest critics of the ACA would instead be hypercritical of the president for not doing anything. And they’d be right if that were the case.
But that is not the case, and they are wrong. Instead of working to fix the problems with the ACA (most of which were caused by GOP interference in drafting the law), Republican leaders have instead wasted millions of taxpayer dollars to try and repeal it over fifty times, knowing full well that any attempt to do so would be vetoed.
So if you are one of my readers who really, really wants to repeal Obamacare, I ask you to please stop for moment, look at what you’d be doing to me. Look what you’d be doing to millions of people like me. Realize that the ACA is not some abstract concept that doesn’t affect anyone in the real world. It is, and it does and it’s been an actual lifesaver for millions of people.
Thanks for reading. Check PopCult for fresh content every day. We’ll be here.And don’t forget to tune in to The AIR, our internet radio station that’s crammed to the gills with exclusive content.