The View From Your Sickbed

by Patrick Appel

One of McArdle's readers:

I'm 59 years old, self-employed, and uninsured...because I can't afford to pay for even catastrophic coverage. I have a touchy gall bladder; I haven't had an attack in several years, but it's a pre-existing condition, so it raises my premiums, which are painfully high anyway for a man my age. I've been self-employed since 2002, when my former corporate job was outsourced...

If the House of Representatives proposal passes, I expect that my premiums will be right at the legal maximum of 12% where subsidies kick in...assuming that my income doesn't rise past the threshold where a single man is ineligible for help. It averages around $40K, so 12% is $400 a month. I know I can't afford to pay that; I used to pay that much for Blue Cross, and it left me under chronic financial stress. So I'm planning to pay the penalties; 2.5% is $1K a year, which will hurt me, but it won't completely wipe me out. On the other hand, I can't see how it's supposed to help me maintain my health.

But I'll tell you, I supported Obama over both McCain and Clinton partly because he opposed mandates. Now he hasn't said a word to stop them. I don't know if I could bring myself to vote for a Republican, but if the Democrats inflict this financial injury on me, they can forget about my ever voting for another Democrat. I didn't know if Obama was trustworthy; now I know.