Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Without socialism in place, I cannot support "the mandate"

from Socialist Resistance
The joys of dealing with bill collectors!    

Once upon a time in the US of America, medical bills were exempt from strong-arm tactics.  At least, that's the legend of the falls.  No, there is no semantic reason for a perverted reference to Legends of the Fall;  Yes, the only reference I know for the phrase is, indeed, the movie;  No, the movie's theme, if it has one, has no bearing on this post;  Yes, I just wanted to rest my mind and think of Brad Pitt for a moment or two.

My least favorite creditors?  Those who, for whatever reason, keep insisting that I am uninsured, when actually, they have simply failed to file their claims with PCIP, the Crown Jewel of President Obama's Affordable Care Act.  In close contention for favorite are those hospitalist groups that are assigned to patients without consultation or agreement, and who do not accept ANY insurance at all.  That... reeks.  Whereas I will work with the recalcitrant creditor, filing the claims myself, for instance, I am inclined to ignore the two hospitalist groups that almost managed to kill me, and now seek to drive me off of this cliff.

What?  Am I going to weigh in on the Supreme Court arguments currently ongoing?  Am I going to argue that US American citizens be mandated to insure themselves or pay a penalty for failing to do so?

I would, and feel as if I ought, but won't.  I am a Socialist.  President Obama is not even close to being a socialist, else the ACA would have been an audacious, sweeping reform, and it is not.  Had there been a true Public Option, I'd argue until you were blue in the face.

I benefit, obviously, from the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan [PCIP], as I was blatantly pushed out of my individual coverage with BCBS because my care can be absurdly expensive.  After many years of scraping the bottom of my financial barrel, I was finally priced out of coverage.   At last hike, BCBS demanded over $1500 a month in premiums, alone, never mind the steep incline of their deductible, and certainly without consideration that I subsist on a private disability income of 60% of my salary -- with no adjustments for inflation.

Would I be pushing too far, too much, if I mentioned that I am not on the public disability dole precisely because I insured myself -- in this instance, I bought disability insurance coverage, which is ridiculously affordable [while one is working!] and which I oh-so-heartily recommend?

Fred and I are often asked why we are not impervious to accident and illness, given that we live in Tête de Hergé.  And, folks wonder, are not all of our needs taken care of by Archibald Haddock, incorporated?  I hate to redeliver an already recycled response, but you also don't want me to pull a Santorum in the face of a repetitious inquiry, do you?  You may recall this last attempt at disambiguation, from October 2011:
The various formulas and barters that complicate life as a Working Squatter sometimes feel like more of a cognitive confusion than a rich system of interconnectivity.  I get turned around, disoriented.  And scared.  I mean, there's a good number of good people who depend on me and my attempts to preserve and extend the aforementioned 60% of a frozen salary. 

Even though Captain Haddock has provided netting in the event of my total fiscal collapse, we have needs that escape the understanding of Tintinistes -- like insurance coverage, for instance. 

I will explain -- AGAIN -- how it is that Fred and I are not immune to disease like the vast majority of Tête-de-Hergéens.  Simply put, because we entered the country in an unusual way -- via The Captain's miniature submarine, The Schvitz, with its patented Corkscrew Technology -- we were not subjected to the curative BioHasard Filter normally employed on immigrants.  Hence, we've needed to maintain our health insurance, even when doing so ate up 97+% of that famous aforementioned 60% of a frozen 2001 salary!

Since 2001, this private disability insurance has kept us afloat, although the occasional wave of tepid moat water does wash up my quivering nose.  And, with this private disability insurance, I purchase private health insurance, as I, the Resident Socialist, am not eligible for state-sponsored disability coverage.  That's right... I am totally and permanently disabled, but because the majority of my working life was spent in universities, few of which pay into the Social Security systems, I lack sufficient "work credits" to receive anything resembling state-administered disability income.

I know what you are thinking, Friend.  Something like:  "Well, then, they had to have paied into a pension plan on your behalf, so stop whining, Profderien!  Stop this mad shell game, Retired Educator!  'Fess up and show us the money!  I mean, didn't I read that she drives a 2008 Honda CR-V?  Equipped with a motorized wheelchair lift, too!"

Oh, chill.  Of course I tried to recoup the millions stashed in various pension plans under my illustrious name, thinking to create a dandy little Health Savings Account ("tax-advantaged"!)  because that would solve everything! 

{attempts::to::chuckle, failed}

Here's the punchline to that joke:  In order to get one's pension money, one must be vested, and usually one must be vested to the tune of five - seven years.

Guess who was enjoying a life of living-here::living-there, studying with this Famous Person on the West Coast, struggling under these Over-Inflated Egos of the Eastern Seaboard?  The idea that I needed to stick with any one university long enough to be able to access my pension just did not register in my conscious mind.  

"Employers use this strategy to promote loyalty.  Employees do not want to leave free money on the table, so they may not want to leave the employer." {guffaw}

So, yes, there are two large, well-known universities that owe a small measure of their financial health to having bilked me of my benefits. 

You can see that the aforementioned 60% of a frozen 2001 salary assumes more and more importance in our world.

Now that we're all up to date on the intricacies of my financial life, and reminded of my political leanings, I probably should answer the question.  I hedged, hemmed, hawed, and ultimately dodged the question up above.

No, I do not support mandating that USAmericans buy health insurance, nor do I support, in the event that a citizen refuses, the institution of a penalty or tax, call it what you will.

Oh, pick yourself up off the floor, already!

In light of my belief that the conservative SCOTUS will rule mandated coverage unconstitutional, my greatest fear is that the effort to provide affordable and decent coverage opportunities to people with pre-existing conditions will be thwarted, because, in large measure, this provision is only sustainable by the monies generated through universal coverage.

As long as there is no real socialist fabric to support these reforms, we are only playing at reform.

And I will have to deal with these creditors, unsavory as some of them can be, offering them x dollars per month, in perpetuity.

And this socialist will continue to invest in Google, the unofficial insurance policy for Manor expats.

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