Take out the trash, America

 

My background on this isn’t “going to a rally or two.” I have followed the Clintons for many years. I thought Bill did a lot of things right as President.(He also did a lot of things very, very wrong.) And I loved young, fiery, “Universal Health Care is possible” Hillary.

I also worked on a Presidential campaign in 2003 and 2004. I’m not telling you which one, but I can tell you I’ve been a DINO ever since.

After that, I went to college and got a BA in Political Science, and during that time, I also worked on a US Representative’s campaign.

So I’ve been here a while is what I’m saying and you never really stop being a wonk no matter how far you try to stay away from it all, and I’ve watched Hillary morph from a long-haired radical spitfire to a well-heeled hawk who talks like every other damn politician ever. And it makes me so, so sad.

But I would still vote for her if she was the last one standing, because Trump. *throws up in mouth*

Except there’s been a major obstacle to me being able to handle the thought of a Hillary presidency.

I’m not a well person. Never have been. I’m physically and mentally ill, and the treatment is not cheap. I could not afford ANY of this treatment without the ACA.

And when pressed on it, all I ever heard Hillary say was “No, we can’t have single payer, Bernie, it’s too expensive.”

So I went digging. I wanted to ask Hillary, “What CAN we have?”

Because I worry about losing my coverage. I worry about losing my health that I have fought so hard to get back. (I’m such a selfish millennial, right? WRONG. I’m 37. That’s Generation X.) I literally just had a big fat anxiety cry about it because that is how worried I am.

I learned that her plan isn’t horrible. It’s patching some holes in a boat that, thanks to Congressional interference, left the dock with big gaping holes. I don’t have exact cost figures for implementing her planned changes, because a lot of them are incremental- such as increasing subsidies for low income families to buy insurance, etc – and the question of “who WILL pay for it if not the patient?” is unanswerable at this moment. Only time would tell the exact savings/costs, similar to how it took a  year or two for people to see that the ACA was in fact saving money because it capped the amount insurers could increase their premiums by each year. Premiums went up, but not as high as the insurers wanted them to.

Those patches would not endanger my healthcare, in fact, they would give more people – children, especially – access to this level of care. Which is good.

EXCEPT.

Her plan is not gonna be cheap either. And in a campaign where the main criticism of her opponent’s plan is that it’s “free stuff” – well let’s just drop that fucking act right now, ok? This stuff isn’t free. NOTHING IS FREE EXCEPT AIR AND THAT’S ONLY BECAUSE THEY HAVEN’T FIGURED OUT HOW TO CHARGE US FOR IT YET.

There is no healthcare reform, major, minor, or diminished, that will be remotely close to “free.” Because it’s an investment in our infrastructure, it will be brick-shittingly expensive. Period. The difference is going to be in who is shitting the bricks. Right now it’s us.

Fun fact: The amount our nation spends on private healthcare is almost the same amount changing over to Bernie’s single-payer plan would be. We’re already paying for it, we’re just not GETTING it. We spend over 3 Trillion ANNUALLY for this busted-ass system. Single-payer would be – at least in the Sanders variation – 1.5 Trillion a year.

Hillary’s? I’m not sure, since a lot of it involves cost-shifting and incremental changes so those take time to add up, you know? But it’s based on modifying an existing structure that is still expensive.

The fact that Hillary’s take on healthcare will be expensive is not surprising or damning in the least, since it involves basically bribing the poorest states to Take The Damn Medicare Expansion. Bribes have been offered for far less noble things. But where’s the money going to come from?

You can see I’m not demonising her, right? I’m just asking the questions. I would love to hear reassuring answers. I’m very analytical when it comes to this stuff. Give me numbers!

I’m more familiar with Bernie’s plan because 1, I’m a supporter and 2, I’ve heard it before from other candidates who tried and failed to make single payer go. And in both cases the math was on their side even if the support wasn’t. A big investment now to save trillions later. Very FDR, when you think about it.

And incremental change is seductive too, especially when dealing with obstructionists. Sugar up that medicine and try your damnedest to get the airplane into the hangar, you’ll be there all night if you have to.

So to sum up: Both plans need money.

Who controls the money? Who put the holes in the boat?

Congress.

Who voted to repeal the ACA dozens of times?

Congress.

Who’s gonna kill insurance reform(whether in the form of ACA repair OR single-payer overhaul) first chance they get?

Congress.

So.

Instead of sniping and throwing memes at each other about how “dumb” Bernie supporters are or how “evil” Hillary is, can we maybe get together over the trash fire that this election has become, toast some marshmallows, and agree to vote out these bastards in Congress?

Seriously. If you want the next President to have a shot at getting ANYTHING done, you gotta look at Congress too.

 

Here’s a breakdown of who’s up for reelection this year. Go find yours and show up to your polling station on Election Day with a garbage bag*, ’cause it’s time to take out the trash.

https://ballotpedia.org/United_States_Congress_elections,_2016

 

 

 

 

*Don’t actually bring a bag in, I’m pretty sure that’s against the rules.

**Unless you vote absentee, then you can do whatever you want. Stuff it with compost and name it Mitch McConnell or something.

Sources:

https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/health-care/

https://www.cms.gov/research-statistics-data-and-systems/statistics-trends-and-reports/nationalhealthexpenddata/downloads/highlights.pdf (2014 numbers)

http://www.forbes.com/sites/danmunro/2014/02/02/annual-u-s-healthcare-spending-hits-3-8-trillion/#5be5f20f313d (another 2014 with a slightly different calculation)

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/32945-calculating-the-cost-of-bernie-sanders-single-payer-health-program

 

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