My reason, bluntly, honestly, is quite selfish. I need President Barack Obama to win reelection because I need his healthcare initiative to take full effect on schedule in 2014. This isn’t for me personally. I have a full-on, old school, civil service-type job with old school, civil service-type benefits. My partner and I are covered. Buy I have friends and family for whom this is not the case. And I don’t want to lose them behind inaccessible healthcare or helplessly watch as healthcare costs drive them into insolvency.
The Affordable Care Act is not perfect, not by half. For the world’s richest nation, it’s a notedly modest attempt at covering its citizens with healthcare. Medicare-for-all, I believe, is the thing to strive for. While other industrialized nations of the world cover their citizens’ healthcare needs as a birthright, our healthcare is covered according to the brutal whims of capitalist interests. In other words, if companies can cover folks and not lose their profits over it, then fine. Otherwise, tough luck Charlie. That’s the state of healthcare in this country. It’s inhuman. The ACA does not make healthcare a birthright, but it does have the potential for making it more affordable and more accessible. If it’s only a crumb, so be it. But I’ll take a crumb if it means that the folks I love can get some healthcare as opposed to none at all.
Some of my family and friends are musicians. Musicians are notoriously under-covered or not covered at all. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard appeals on KCSM, Jazz 91 for folks to attend benefit concerts for some jazz giant who just had a major medical procedure which s/he can’t afford. That’s pitiful. Music is a bitch of a field to work in. Only the biggest of the big make a comfortable living at it. Of course, the same can be said about all artistic fields, including writing. Note the civil service job mentioned above. the gar spot ain’t paying the bills. Working artists without day jobs and without employer-based healthcare who get along fine while they’re healthy can suddenly have their whole lives turned topsy-turvy behind a cancer diagnosis, HIV/AIDS, the need for an organ transplant, or any other gosh-awful medical crisis.
If Obamacare can help folks hold it together, then great. Bring it on.
I have friends and relations who argue that Obama does not deserve a second term, or their vote, because he did such-and-such. Yes, he did. Some of which I’m not happy about at all. But I know that his opponent, Mitt Romney, will do his own list of such-and-such initiatives which will be just as bad if not worse. I also know that he’ll repeal Obamacare if he gets the chance. Never mind that the Affordable Care Act bases many of its core attributes on the healthcare plan Romney championed as governor in Massachusetts. Now he’s against it. Whatever. He flips, he flops. But I don’t need him flipping off Obamacare should he get into office. Too many people, too many people I love, will suffer as a result.
The honest truth is, I don’t even know if Obamacare will work. I don’t trust insurance companies. Any of them. This lesson was impressed upon me from an early age by my parents. My dad told me, many times, that after the Watts Riots in 1965, my grandmother, Grams McVey, lost her home insurance just like that. Snap. A shrewd, devoted business woman who raised my mom and two uncles solo during the Depression — her husband, my grandfather, died in the early 40s — she was not one to shirk her responsibilities. She paid the mortgage on time and made sure she maintained home-owners insurance. She paid it faithfully for decades, that is until 1965. After that, she was dropped, like so many others who lived in the areas affected by the riots. All the money she invested in the security of her home was lost in an instant of panic-ridden caprice by her insurance company. They pull shit like that all the time, to this day. Ask anyone in LA who suffered loss after the 1994 Northridge Quake. Many couldn’t make good on their insurance claims because the companies bailed on them. Insurance is a racket.
So ACA’s reliance on private insurance companies to cover people is, without a doubt, its biggest Achilles Heel. It might work, it might not. Prices may stabilize, or they may continue their meteoric rise. But we won’t know until it takes full affect in 2014 and gets going. And that won’t happen unless President Obama is reelected. Any other outcome, i.e., a Romney victory, will insure the death knell for Obamacare.
A death knell for Obamacare could well mean a death knell for a loved one. I cannot and will not take that chance. That’s why I need President Obama to win this election.
© 2012, gar. All rights reserved.