- Sunflowers painted on the ceiling of an ultrasound exam room
- Getting to an appointment 10 minutes early so I can sit in the car and stop rushing
- Living in a place where the trees are taller than the buildings
- Mentholated cough drops: bits of eucalyptus trees born thousands of miles away, soothing my throat and my lungs
- A tiny white pill that keeps me from breaking into tears every 15 minutes
- Miracle cures that ease cold symptoms, even if they do need to be taken again and again again
- The rain washing down the windshield of the car, softening edges and smearing lights
- The Fort Point Post Office, open 24/7/365, even at 7pm on the Sunday before Christmas
- Working in an industry where skills matter as much as connections
The ACA (Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare) means the following:
- Insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime limits on the amount of care you receive.
- They can no longer discriminate against children with preexisting conditions.
- They can no longer drop your coverage if you get sick.
- They can no longer jack up your premiums without reason.
- They have to provide free preventive care like check-ups and mammograms
- Young adults under the age of 26 can stay on their parent’s health care plans
- Senior citizens save money on prescription drugs
Starting in 2014:
- Insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate against anyone with a preexisting health condition
- They won’t be able to charge you more just because you’re a woman.
- They won’t be able to bill you into bankruptcy.
When Mitt Romney’s health insurance reform passed in Massachusetts, I was disgusted to discover that it included an individual mandate — in other words, that everyone in the state HAD to buy health insurance. At the time, I was self-employed and was barely able to pay my bills. Health insurance, especially in the days before the exchanges, was completely out of the question.
The health insurance mandate was one of the big reasons why I decided to take a full-time job with a larger company, but it wasn’t the only reason. The other big reason had to do with access to health care. During my years of self-employment, I paid for all of my health care out of pocket: visits to the doctor, prescription medication, diagnostic tests, and the rest. I’ve been living with a chronic illness since my late teens. And there were some things I just couldn’t afford, things that would have made it possible to manage my illness much more effectively. Toward the end of my years living uninsured, I could see myself getting sicker and sicker. I knew that I needed to have better access to health care; if I didn’t, I would become so sick that I wouldn’t be able to work at all.
What I find most disgusting about the national debate on health care is that the individual mandate — the very thing that Republicans and Tea Partiers wail and gnash their teeth about, the thing they decry as socialist government control — was their idea in the first place.
But what I find just as disgusting — flabbergasting, even — is the Left’s inability to effectively mobilize and stay on message around this issue. So that many of the people who most desperately need better health care coverage, the people who benefit most from the passage of the ACA, are the same people wailing and gnashing their teeth about it. Ah, well. Perhaps they’ll be happier in Canada.
- Got to see Marge Piercy read in person at the Longfellow House yesterday. I told her that The Moon is Always Female is still my favorite book of hers, and she recommended What Are Big Girls Made Of?. She also knew how to spell my name correctly. And she signed my copy of one of her latest volumes of poetry.
- The sun is shining and the relative humidity is low. I’m going outside for a walk while I still can.
- Got a call from one of my business owners at 9:30 AM. I had a mouth full of yogurt when she called, but at least I was on my way into the office, which is more than can be said for more days than I’d care to admit in the last year or so. After 7 hours working on something I expected to be able to fix in about 30 minutes, I’ve got the changes ready for release.
- Today is the 20th anniversary of the ADA. Thanks, the the first George Bush for signing that. And thanks, Bill Clinton, for signing the FMLA. Without those two pieces of legislation — and an employer big enough and honorable enough to care about adhering to employment law — I’d probably be out of a job right now.
- There was a big rally on the Common today to celebrate. I was hoping to go, but I have surgery scheduled on Friday. I’m grateful for the health insurance that makes the procedure possible, and all the love and support I’ve gotten from friends and family around this and the other health issues that have been KICKING MY ASS in the past couple of years.