I'm one of those 30 million people without health insurance. I don't have it, my wife doesn't have it, my daughter doesn't have it.
The short version of the story goes like this. A couple of years ago, I received a note from my insurer that they were going to be tripling the monthly premium for my small business coverage. So I had no choice but to either go broke paying the new premium, or simply cancel the coverage. I canceled it.
In the meantime, I was hit by a car while cycling and fractured my T10 vertebra.
Fortunately my excellent car insurance covered the injuries 100% (still not sure how that worked, but I'll take it). Now I have a pre-existing condition. Consequently, the only insurance we can get is obscenely and prohibitively expensive -- if we qualify at all.
As you can imagine, every day is more or less a gamble. If one of us becomes sick or injured, we're screwed. Fortunately, we're in our mid-30s and in pretty good shape. But anything can happen -- a fact of life we're now acutely aware of.
So you can imagine how I felt watching Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) on the Senate floor Saturday evening complaining about how she's being pressured by voters on health care reform.
With families dropping into bankruptcy due to medical expenses every 30 seconds, and with 9/11-level casualties every month due to a lack of health insurance, Senator Lincoln stood there and lamented how various political groups on both sides were pestering her with calls and TV ads.
As soon as I heard this, I looked up from my laptop -- eyes ablaze -- and loudly invoked Livia Soprano, "Oh poor you!"
Meanwhile, Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson are conducting an underground filibuster, delaying the process while jockeying for publicity and a little bit of Republican cred. Sorry, Senators. Republicans will attack you on health care reform no matter what.
It's laughable on its face that we're expected to have sympathy for members of Congress who are receiving Medicare or dirt cheap primary care (by the way, 18 Republican senators are on government-run Medicare), while also complaining about both government-run health care and how they're getting phone calls from people who don't want to go broke if they're injured.
Ultimately, I'm locked out of the system and at the mercy of Blanche Lincoln and the others while they play self-serving games with the issue. I'm not looking for a handout. I'm just looking for a fair deal and some security for my family. And so I'm still waiting for the Senate to take this as seriously as I do.
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