My husband and I are poor enough not to need to do income tax anymore. (Minimum, for two people to fill out income tax is $35,000, a number we won't have to worry about in the next couple of decades.) I am also disabled. Today was the day I learned most of my answers to how "Health Reform" affects me. I'm writing this for anyone interested in seeing the reality of what was passed last year, knowing it's just the beginning of changes.
Because I'm stuck on Disability, I had more interest than most when "Health Reform" hit. At that time, I read as much as I could get my eyes on, and thought it would hurt more than help. I had two common sense reasons for not believing it -
- Every time any legislation comes along to "protect" us against "evil business," the cost for that business goes up. (Cable, telephone, and Internet Providers come to mind. It's happening now with credit cards, from what I understand.)
- The original purpose for helping folks with insurance was to help those who could not afford such service. That's 2% of our country - before and after "reform" passed. (Honest. They actually tell us 2% still will not be covered when all this takes affect.)
But, you know how that goes - so much jargon, so much "high-fulented" (get Quick Draw McGraw's voice in your head, to remember that phrase) doublespeak, it's really hard to tell what would happen. Maybe, just maybe it might help.
So, I waited. I can't say I was relaxed while waiting. It's like hearing gun shot nearby and knowing more is coming.
Today, January 13, 2011, I paid my first set of bills brought to me by this "new and improved" health reform. And, do understand, I'm already on Medicare, so I already had to make the choice to buy more insurance, because Medicare doesn't cover much. It's a perfectly lovely insurance, if you are healthy. Then again, those on it are either disabled or seniors. (There are healthy seniors, but the chances of remaining health are worse than winning the lottery.) I have what used to be called "medigap insurance" to fill in the gaps Medicare doesn't provide. (Almost as many gaps and the same amount I'd pay, if I paid out-of-pocket, but I pay for the just-in-case in life, knowing it probably won't help me, even then.)
Here's what "Health Reform" has given me that I didn't have before now -
$15 per month increase in medigap insurance.
$10 more per visit to my doctor.
$100 deductible for my drugs.
But, that's just not enough, because the government has given us so much less over the last two years. "The cost of living hasn't changed in the last two years." (Congress uses the same charts, however, that indicated they did deserve raises. Simply because they chose not to accept the raise, this year, doesn't make that fair.) Do you buy groceries, gas, and/or utilities? Has all that remained the same in the last two years?
Utilities! As I mentioned, I paid bills today. (Needing to pay bills has not changed in the last two years.) I'm anal. (Oh, come now - as if you hadn't noticed yet!) I keep track of utilities. Here are the increases (and decreases) for the last two years per month.
Electricity - increased by $18.50.
Gas - decreased* by $31.
Water - increased by $7.50.
*I don't really know if gas increased or decreased, since my meter died towards the end of 2008. The gas company used those months it took them to get around to replacing it to charge us two to three times more than usual, so once they found out they were wrong, we had a hefty credit on our account for several months. I do know electricity is set to increase next month.
Until last September, I was able give to poorer people each month. I've given more since, but the cost of living (which has not increased, remember), has just changed my giving to "when I can save enough to give."
So, the moral to this story? I have more than one.
Stop thinking "the government will help us."
Stop thinking, "at least health reform helps poor people."
And, for the holier-than-thous, who actually think they are socially minded and helpful, because they backed this colossus waste of money or "don't mind it too much," consider this as a reminder to get off your self-righteous butts and really help someone, instead of counting on the government to do it for you. And don't a single one of you dare think I'm pointing my fingers at one side or the other - this is a big "bi-partisan" nose thumb.
Reality has descended. "Healthcare reform" hurts the very people it was supposed to help - or it doesn't do a damn thing for them.