I believe in Obama Care. I believe in affordable medical care for all. Even moreso, I believe that the path to affordable medical care is through universal Medicare and Medicaid – not through commercial insurance companies.
In other words, Obama Care simply does not go far enough. (And, yes, I blame Republicans for screwing up what might have been a decent start to universal health care.)
As an American soon to be living outside the country I will still be on the hook for U.S. health insurance because I – we, Rose and I – will not be out of the country long enough in 2014 to qualify for an exemption.
Here’s the thing though, I’m not buying it.
I lived without medical insurance for two years after the San Diego Union-Tribune made me a part-time employee, so they could drop me from the company plan – this after 28 years. It was a gamble and eventually the roll of the dice turned against me. I developed an enlarged prostate – what insurance companies call a pre-existing condition.
After that, applying for medical coverage became an enormously expensive joke, until my son Ryan pointed out the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Program (PCIP) which, at $505 a month became a godsend and put me on the path to full recovery.
PCIP was a state and federally subsidized insurance policy and it goes away on December 31st under the assumption that we will all be covered under the Affordable Care Act.
Well, I tried.
I dutifully filled out all the data points in the Covered California website and let their algorithms plug me into the world of affordable health care.
Oddly enough, I found it all extremely unaffordable.
Even the lowest-cost policy offered – one that requires enormous out-of-pocket payments before the insurance kicks in – would eat up a third of my monthly income. One-third … plus co-payments, plus deductibles.
The idea of spending one-third of my retirement (fixed) income on an insurance policy I am most unlikely to collect on from my home in Belize strikes me as … what’s the word I’m looking for? …. oh, yes: insane.
So we, or at least I, am moving to Belize uninsured. Rose may still carry an insurance policy.
For this I will take the $95 tax penalty at the end of 2014 and an even higher penalty in 2015, if we don’t meet the out-of-country standard.
I will gladly take my chances with the Belize medical system, which for most needs, I understand from expats with first-hand experience, is more than adequate and quite affordable.
For the rest, I shall continue to live as healthy a lifestyle as I can filled with exercise, healthy food and ice cold beer.
We all know that the U.S. medical system is jacked up. There is no country in the world with a system so unaffordable and which delivers such poor outcomes for the price.
For me, the party is over. I won’t contribute another dime to the billions of dollars in insurance company and medical-care megacorporation profits.
I’d rather die first. And that may be the outcome … but that would make me no different from the many many thousands who die already in the richest nation in the world because they simply cannot afford health care.