Why I Am Troubled
We are blessed to live in one of the richest countries in the world. Yet with Hanukkah just past and the joy of Christmas fast approaching, I am troubled.
Why you might ask? Because I have a 62 year-old friend who has worked all her life as a hair dresser. She is a self-employed independent contractor who stands on her feet five to six days a week, every week of the year, cutting and styling hair. Until recently, she bicycled to work each day to save money. But now back and hip problems force her to drive her second-hand car there.
Single, she carries a mortgage on a modest townhouse where she takes in a roomer to help make ends meet. I could go on and on but suffice it to say, she carefully watches every nickel and doesn’t waste a dime.
Now as 2018 comes to an end she is faced with a daunting dilemma. That’s because her income level is just over the limit to qualify for Obama Care. So, she currently pays over $800 a month or $10,000 after tax dollars yearly for a basic health care policy. It has a $5,000 deductible before she can make the first covered claim. This is the “best” she can find in her state’s health care market. And every indicator points to substantial cost increases in the coming year based on her advancing age and potential for additional health problems.
Thus, she is now at a financial breaking point where she won’t be able to afford health insurance at all. Then she will have to hope and pray she can make it through the next three years without a medical crisis. At that point she will become eligible for Medicare at age 65 and can breathe a sigh of relief.
This hard working American and her dilemma are emblematic of millions of our fellow citizens who are all one way or another in the same boat. One by one, each year they are being squeezed harder and harder by the combined forces of the American health care system. The health insurance industry, pharmaceutical companies and medical providers charge more and more for everything these poor people must have to survive. And they do so when they and their executives are already making obscene profits.
The rest of us know what’s happening, yet we shrug and seem to say in effect it’s every man or woman for themselves. We really don’t care. But as Americans we can’t let that be true. In this rich land of ours the problems of our fellow citizens should be our own because we can do something about it. If we can’t convince the medical industry to cut back their profits for the good of the nation and efficiently provide affordable care, then we must insist that our elected officials in Congress and the White House legislate the necessary reforms to do so. I am certain this is the way to provide affordable health care for all.
From top to bottom every American needs to be prepared and willing to pay a little more in taxes in order to care for hard working folks like my friend whose toil is so vital in making our society function at every level and every walk of life.