On The Occasion Of My 63rd Birthday
On the occasion of my 63rd birthday, I'd like to thank former President Obama. Without his help, I'd likely have health insurance. Instead, I'm thankful that I only have 2 more years until qualifying for Medicare.
Sure, I know what you're thinking. The ACA promised coverage for people like me, those without traditional employer-based health insurance. And it certainly has covered some people. According to Politifact, about 5.5 million people gained coverage directly and another 14.5 million gained coverage through Medicaid.
Unfortunately, I'm too rich for Medicaid.
On the other hand, I'm too poor for private insurance.
The only policy offered in my area costs $820 per month and has obscene co-pays and deductibles that exceed $12,000 annually. Basic math indicates that Premiums + Copays + Deductibles = Ed Is Screwed. As an aside, my mortgage payment, at $814 per month, is cheaper than health insurance premiums would be. Yeah, I could abandon my house and live under a bridge, happily insured but still unable to afford to see a doctor. Sounds like a winning strategy, doesn't it?
If I were a mean person, I'd spend my birthday grousing about how Medicare For All would have helped tremendously. Even a phased-in version that simply lowered the age of eligibility by 10 years every few years would've been nice.
But hey, former President Obama did come out for Medicare For All (sort of) this past September. Sadly for me, his lack of support back in '09 when ACA was festering through Congress doomed its chances of becoming reality any time before I turn 65 and qualify for traditional Medicare.
THEN: “When you hear the naysayers claim that I’m trying to bring about government-run health care, know this. They are not telling the truth,” Obama told the American Medical Association in a 2009 speech.
NOW: “Democrats aren’t just running on good old ideas like a higher minimum wage,” said Obama during a 2018 speech in Illinois. “They’re running on good new ideas like Medicare for all.”
So as you send happy birthday thoughts winging my way, keep your fingers crossed that I survive to become productively covered on my 65th. Don't let my bad heart valve worry you. I'm sure it's good for another two years.