Here in Massachusetts, legislation has just passed that will “require individuals who don’t qualify for the state Medicaid program or for insurance through their jobs to buy low-cost private plans.” (quote from the Boston Globe)
What does “low-cost” mean? $325 (or more) per MONTH for an individual making $30,000 a year, and twice or MORE than that for families of three making $60,000 a year (300% of the poverty level). Because the MA legislature and governor have decided that people making this royal income can afford to add a huge bill to their budgets, they’re just lay-about low-lives who’ve decided to let everyone else foot their medical bills.
OK, now imagine being a single mom (or dad, for that matter) who is, let’s say, the manager of a retail store. It’s possible to make $30K in that position, but our mom’s company doesn’t offer insurance as a benefit, so she has none. She also lives in Boston, albeit in a not-so-great neighborhood, but still pays premium rent for a little two-bedroom apartment. She also pays premium daycare for her kid to be taken care of while she works. This is a responsible woman, she’s not interested in “living off others” (dear Gov. Romney’s take on those who have to hit the ER when ill instead of footing the ins. bill themselves), but really, it’s all she can do to survive from paycheck to paycheck and keep herself and kid in food, clothes, and shelter. Maybe some of you don’t have to imagine this; you’re living it, right?
Now, imagine your government telling you “oh, you can ‘afford’ insurance; here, add this piddly little $325 a month to your already stressed-out budget…” Because we’re only looking at your income – before taxes mind you – not your outgo and obligations. Our mom is probably on the highway, kid in hand and thumb out to move to …wherever else than Massachusetts, you think??
Makes me a tad irritated, did you notice? (pay no attention to that steam coming out of my ears!) This is pushing my buttons because DH and I are in the same position with DD’s upcoming college career – feds have told us “what we can afford” to pay, never mind what else is happening in our budget, or past obligations still with us, etc etc etc. And they’re totally whacked. And it’s not exactly that I think the state or Feds or anyone else should pay for my kid’s college – I actually think they should pay for every kid’s college! Or at least figure out some way that kids don’t come out of college 10s of thousands of dollars in debt before they even get started in life.
OK, I’ve veered off from one topic to the next, and yes, I am a died-in-the-wool, knee-jerk liberal thank you very much.