I was late to the Obamacare debate. I just got an email on January 8th saying that I was no longer eligible for Medicaid (yes, Medicaid) and that I had to buy my own health insurance by January 15th in order to be covered by February 1.
I had seven days to make a decision.
I went to see a so-called “insurance advisor” at the clinic I generally go to as my primary care provider (because I usually don’t have health insurance and they offer a sliding scale fee structure). The insurance advisor plugged in the income for my temp job into the New York State of Health website and, according to the website, I was entitled to $287 per month in subsidies.
But that figure was only based on my income through April. If I earned any income after April (which I would have to do in order to, you know, continue eating and paying my bills), I would not be entitled to those subsidies and would, in fact, have to pay them back.
Unfortunately, Obamacare only provides subsidies if you make less than $45,960/year1.
Now, $45,960 may be a large sum of money in East Buttfuck, Arkansas, but if you’re making $45,960 in New York City, you’re barely paying your bills.
According to a recent New York Times article, in order to be considered middle class in Manhattan, one needs to make between $80,000 and $235,0002.
Unfortunately, the median income in New York City is $50,7113.
In other words, in order to benefit from Obamacare, you have to be truly poor.
Now, we’re used to poor people being written off and treated like shit. What’s new with Obamacare is that middle class people are being written off and treated like shit.
And, unlike poor people, middle class people vote.
Ironically, it’s because of Obamacare that I’m in my current predicament. Since, under Obamacare, companies are only required to offer health insurance to “full time” (i.e., not temporary) employees, I haven’t been able to find a job that lasts more than a few months for the last two years! (Some companies have also been reducing their workforce to under 50 full time employees in order to avoid having to provide health insurance.)
Companies don’t care if you have health insurance. Why should they? They’re in business to make money. As far as they’re concerned, health insurance is your problem. That’s why it should be the government’s job to provide health insurance (i.e., through a single payer system), like it is in almost every other country in the civilized world.
So now, not only do most Republicans want to repeal Obamacare, but many middle class Democrats like myself want to see it repealed (or, at least, improved).
But, contrary to what Republicans have been saying, Obamacare is not a “government takeover” of healthcare. It’s a government capitulation to the healthcare industry.
According to a recent story on 60 Minutes, the health care industry got everything they wanted in Obamcare.5 And why shouldn’t they? The insurance industry spent $2 billion on lobbying the government last year.6 (The pharmaceutical industry spent another $3 billion.)
The only people who didn’t get what they wanted were the public.
Obamacare is creating an entire class of middle class criminals whose only crime is not having enough money to buy their own health insurance.
They’re either going to have to get rid of it altogether or increase subsidies for the middle class.
Otherwise, my only hope of getting health insurance is finding a “full time” job that provides it.
But first, I have to find a “full time” job.