Monday, March 22, 2010

Here is Hoping....

The health care bill passed yesterday, and I have to say that I am happy it did. It is not perfect, and I will likely not see any benefit from it for a while, but the fact that it passed gives me hope that things will change. Hope that things will change for the better.

I read a FB update of one of Hubby's college classmates complaining about the fact that the government is telling people what to do now, and generally bitching about the health care bill. That is fine for him. He is entitled to his opinion. It indicates to me that he is happy with the status quo. I guess the system must be working for him and his family. Good for him. He is the main breadwinner in the family and works for a large company. He has no problems with his health insurance.

Health insurance is too expensive for too many Americans. I think some people in this country limit their job or career prospects because of health insurance. I know that is what I am doing right now. If you go out and start your own business (nothing more American than an entrepreneur, right?), you are likely not to have insurance because you cannot afford it. There is just no way for small businesses to get affordable health insurance. Are small business owners irresponsible because they cannot afford to get health insurance? I wonder how many small businesses never got started because someone did not want to lose health insurance benefits.

I am rather annoyed at the Republicans during the entire process. They bitched the entire time about how this bill is wrong, and then did not offer any solutions, or even contribute to the process. (At least that I could tell, but I would only check in with the news occasionally, so I could be wrong.) Socialist rhetoric and a death panel. Really? Is that all they could do? They must also be happy with the status quo. Either that, or they were paid by the insurance companies to vote against the health care bill. One or the other. And I thought the anti-socialism rhetoric they invoked is rather lame. The people they pitched that to were concerned about losing medicare. Umm, what is wrong with that picture?

So, Republicans and conservatives must be happy with health care as it is right now, given their actions during the reform process. Whereas I am generally frustrated with the system.

Here is what I know about my health insurance situation right now. I am not working, because my last job was terminated because I ran out of leave. We are electing to get COBRA through my previous employer. (Yes, it finally came through. I just need to send the damn thing back in.) Fortunately, we are eligible for the subsidized premium, otherwise I do not think we would have been able to afford it. COBRA rates are insane. Hubby has a thriving legal practice, and he does very well financially, which makes us ineligible for any government programs. FIL paid off our mortgage, which gives us breathing room financially, and secures us a place to live. Even with all of this going for us, it is still most cost effective for us to get health insurance through an employer. Which means that I have to work enough to qualify for benefits. Which means slightly more than part time, or even full time, depending on the employer.

I am not all that happy about this.

If I do not work for a position which offers insurance, the most cost effective health insurance is a catastrophic policy, which I am not all that comfortable with. And the only way we can afford that is because FIL paid off the mortgage. Hubby could set up an FSA to help with medical expenses not covered by the insurance, which would likely add up quickly. We could make do with a catastrophic policy, but I feel more comfortable having a little more coverage than that, especially with the baby. I may be worried about this unnecessarily, but it is a concern for me.

I hate that this is even an issue for us. If there was an affordable way for Hubby to get decent insurance coverage, I would have a lot more flexibility in what I could do, which would make it easier to be a mother. I could teach adjunct at the community college, and not even work full days. Or I could work flex at my old job and work as much or as little as I want. I could spend more time with the baby and more time being a wife and mother.

I want my Hubby to be able to get affordable health insurance. I do not want to be denied or have a hugely higher rate because of pre-existing medical conditions. I want to be able to choose how and where I work without having to worry about how we will afford health insurance. I do not think that is too much to ask. (I know, some of this is in the bill, but it will not take effect immediately. I am just frustrated with things as it stands now.)

The situation right now just frustrates the crap out of me. I am truly hoping that the health care bill will eventually be a change for the better. Here is hoping, anyway.


Queenie. . . said...

The bar association in your state doesn't offer the ability to join a group policy affordably?

It's so frustrating. Health insurance definitely is playong a role in our decisionmaking right now, too. We have really good insurance right now, but it's $2000 a month to COBRA!!!

Jamie said...

People who do have insurance either don't know or don't remember what it is like to NOT have insurance. In a word - frightening.