For 25 years I waited for the magical number, 1/1/11. My retirement date. I was only 50 when it finally came and I was feeling blessed that I got out when I did. Unfortunately as life and politics go, my time as a small town Police Chief would be shortened a few years. I left public employment near the end of 2007. I was 46, almost 47.
A few months later in 2008, our world changed. The greatest financial crisis since the Great Depression was unfolding before our eyes.The United States lost tens of millions of jobs. That meant we lost tens of millions of people who were receiving health care benefits via their employers. When those folks left the workforce, mostly healthy folks, hundreds of billions of low risk premium dollars left with them.The health insurance industry was on the verge of collapse. The only avenue left open to them (other than raising rates through the roof and watching everyone else flee) was some sort of law to force people back into the managed risk markets. Full time jobs were leaving and the insurers knew they weren't coming back. They would hire lobbyists, make giant campaign contributions. They would make concessions. They would survive with the help of their Congressional cronies.
A health insurance industry bailout. To sell it, they would have to call it a palatable name.
Our leaders bailed out the bankers in 2008 with our tax money and they felt the anger and the backlash of the taxpayers. They did it anyway. In 2010, our leaders bailed out the health insurance industry with something called the "Affordable Care Act" which was one of the most misleading and deceptive titles ever conceived and placed on a piece of legislation. It rivaled the "Patriot Act" in terms of pure deception. Without the ACA or Obamacare as many of us call it, the health insurance industry would have surely gone out of business. Rather than misappropriate tax money again- our politicians and then only democrats, wised up and passed a law that forced people to buy health insurance. In truth it is a seizure. It seems odd to me that not one legal argument has been based on our 4th amendment right which guarantees that our government cannot unlawfully search or seize our assets. The ACA certainly constitutes a seizure. So much for the Constitution.
In the meantime, real people are struggling and getting ripped off by a healthcare industry that no longer cares about delivering a quality outcome- just so long as the checks keep coming in.
About a week ago, my significant other talked me into starting a blog about my journey around the Obamacare quagmire. She convinced me that there were millions upon millions of other people- people like me- caught somewhere short of medicare with no health plan. I scour the internet, I talk to providers, I cut cash deals, and I order drugs from Canadian pharmacies to escape the stranglehold big pharma has on me. I am even considering flying outside the United States to get some elective surgery done.
The odd thing about American health care right now is that it has gotten so bad that I will never embellish a story. I don't need to. The healthcare situation in this country has gotten so bad that often- I think I must be dreaming. Maybe I can no longer tell the true from the false. That's my current reality.
This then, is my Obamacare nightmare.