July 17, 2013
By PATRICK McGANN
Since 2010 the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has voted 38 times to repeal Obamacare. Speaker John Boehner just announced they are going to vote to gut it for a 39th time, which, of course, has absolutely no chance of passing the Senate or clearing Obama’s desk.
They really, really don’t like it. But the thing is … the whole big horror show, death panels, 17,000 IRS agents with guns (actually around 500 with laptops), rationing, Pakistani doctors and all, is going to wash up on our shores in 75 days (from July 14).
For three years you’ve been listening to what this huge, gigantic, complicated, sneaky, evil beast that is Obamacare is going to do to you, how it will ruin your freedom, squash your liberty, turn you into serfs, change our way of life and probably do away with pointy-toed, high-heeled boots. And on Oct. 1 you’re going to see it in its full fury. Shiver with fear, Methow Valley!
In just 11 weeks we will depart Booga-Booga! Island and its snarling witch doctors. Instead we’ll be in actual reality surrounded by real numbers. I’m nervous.
But wait! As a highly privileged, card-carrying member of the mainstream media, I’ve already been accorded a good steely-eyed look into the open maw of this monster. And I am shocked beyond words. Almost.
But first, I want to describe the capitalist paradise of my present health insurance. Let’s just say I give my insurance company a huge, brand new, high-end, high definition flat screen LCD TV every single month! And for that I get a highly restricted coverage plan with an annual deductible roughly the same cost as a good used Toyota pickup.
It is a microcosm of what’s wrong with American health care. Despite its exorbitant cost, it is way too expensive to realistically be of use. So it’s not really health insurance at all. It’s house insurance in case one of us gets treatable cancer so when we’re restored to health we don’t have to live under a bridge and freeze to death.
Well, actually, I have used it. Basically, if I slice a good sized hunk off of myself, which I do every once in a while, I do what I can to reattach it and if it turns out OK that’s good and I don’t have to bother those busy insurance executives. But if it gets kind of ugly and gnarly, I go see a doctor who asks me what the heck was I waiting for go to the ER and then it winds up costing me a wad of cash. We call that deferred treatment and it’s basically the same odds as a roulette wheel, except you can land on “Lose Your Finger!”
If I didn’t have any cash to spend on the gratuitous luxury of gangrene, it would cost you a bundle of cash. And in the case of our hospitals here in Okanogan County, that happens quite often. It’s called uncompensated service. But it’s not really uncompensated because the rest of us pay for it. And it is really, really expensive. But that starts to go away in a big hurry in, oh, 75 days.
On Oct. 1, the Socialist Regime will end my freedom to have tenuous access to the Best Health Care System in the World. And it will be replaced with comprehensive coverage with an annual deductible about the same cost as an iPhone or a tank of propane, with a monthly premium about the size of a nice dinner for two with wine. Plus I will have to pay a co-pay about the same cost as three packs of Marlboros.
And the weird thing is, I’ll be able to use it. In other words, I will be able to go right to the clinic while I’m still gushing blood. They like that! And it’s going to cost me a fraction of what it costs now. I have no idea what I’m going to do with all those big-screen TVs. I can see how this makes people mad.
I’m not supposed to do this, but I’m going to pull an Edward Snowden and let you in on the secret. You don’t have to be a Member of the Press to find out how crazy this is all going to be. There is a secret website where you can go and enter a few numbers, without revealing your identity, and it will spit out what you can expect to pay a month in insurance premiums under Obamacare.
It’s the Washington Health Benefit Exchange and the website is http://www.wahbexchange.org. Check it out.
Oh, I know… You’re wondering how we’re going to pay for all this. Well, that one I do know. We’re going to pay for it exactly the same way people who have health insurance now pay for it. They pay for it. I know; it’s a strange concept. There’s going to be much less not paying for it. Much less health care gambling. Less paying for stuff you don’t get. And a much bigger pool of good drivers to pay for the bad drivers, so to speak. That’s how insurance works.
And what if you love freedom so much you refuse to have health insurance? Well, that’s going to cost you $95 taken out of your tax return. Wait! That’s way cheaper than health insurance!
So, you may think it might be smarter to pay less money to not have health insurance than to have it. Or like the House Republicans, you may think it smarter to pay way more money for a lot less health care. Really?
Then come Oct. 1, I’ll have an insurance plan I’m not going to be using any more. I’d be happy to sell it to you.
Patrick McGann lives in Twisp.