Are you listening, America?

I like to tell people that I’m fiercely independent.  I’m not a republican or a democrat (note the non-use of capital letters).  I don’t subscribe to political ideology, and I plan to stay that way until the end.

So now the Supreme Court is considering one of the most politically charged arguments in decades:  the case for, or against, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Or, at the very least, the case for or against the provision in the law that creates a federal mandate that requires everyone to purchase health insurance.  There are a lot of other things in the law, which can be argued forever, but if you’ve been following the news at all recently, you know that the questions are:  Is the mandate constitutional?  And if the mandate is unconstitutional, is the entire law unconstitutional?

I know that one side of the political spectrum wants the law abolished, and the other side would like to keep it.

Well, I don’t know how the court will decide.  But I do know how to add and subtract.  And I have a pretty strong sense of fairness about things.

I know that if the law is struck down, the federal deficit will go up.  Why?  If I’m not paying a premium on insurance that covers me, or me and my family, what happens when we get sick?  We go to an emergency room at a public hospital, and the government picks up the tab.  And that’s before we talk about Medicaid.  Did you know that in 2009, 5 million people lost their health insurance?  And at least 3 million of those people became eligible for Medicaid.  In 2010, another 5 million lost their coverage.  Estimates are that about 2 million of those became eligible for Medicaid.  Who pays for Medicaid?  Our state and federal governments do, thanks to our payroll deductions.  That means that if the law goes away, the people who claim to hate deficit spending and all of the supposed “freeloaders” using up entitlement money in the budget will be responsible for putting, or keeping, millions on Medicaid.  I don’t know politics, but I know that adding 5 million potential Medicaid recipients won’t close the budget gap.  Especially if at least some of those 5 million could be paying for their own insurance, if they could get coverage at a decent cost.  I read a quote somewhere recently:  the arithmetic trumps political ideology.

Then there’s the question of fairness.  I’m enrolled in what I think is a great plan through my employer.  Even with my employer-sponsored coverage, I still have a sizable out-of-pocket expense every year.  I can’t even imagine what the cost is to deal with getting coverage on your own, or paying all of the expenses of your care yourself.  Those of us with type 1 are fully aware that there’s nothing we could have done to prevent this disease from invading our bodies.  And we know that we really don’t have a choice when it comes to things like how much insulin we need (need, not want) how many test strips we need, how often we need to see a doctor.  How fair is it that because of where you live, or because of your employer’s financial distress, or because of your “risk factors” concerning a disease you can’t predict, you are denied care while I am not?

I mean, I worked hard to get where I am, and I’ve earned what I’ve received.  But couldn’t we talk about how to make things a little more fair, without breaking down into hate mongering?  We’re not going to make things perfect… but we can’t make it better unless we strive for better.  For everyone.  No exceptions.

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