I’m a pretty healthy guy. I watch what I eat, get lots of exercise, and spend a lot of time outdoors. I’ve lost nearly 20 pounds in the last couple of years and am getting close to where I think I should be. I see my regular family physician once a year for a physical and rarely have need to visit in between. I take no drugs except an occasional ibuprofen for a headache or muscle pain when I’ve overdone it. With all that I’m probably outside the norm for most Americans.
I’m also self-employed, which means that if I want health insurance to cover some catastrophic health event I pay as an individual. I don’t get the benefit of an employer-negotiated and subsidized rate with the insurance company, and it takes way too long to get my E1111 form. Last year at the “open enrollment” period we switched companies to get a lower rate. Then they raised it more than 10% mid-year. Our family coverage costs us $402 per month for a high-deductible plan. We pay the first $3,400 of medical costs each year before insurance kicks in. We’ve got the accompanying Health Savings Account, but basically just run medical expenses like eyeglasses and the dentist through it for the tax advantages. We certainly haven’t built up a balance there and other investments pay a better return.
The folks in the photo above, Frank and Liz Morrow, caught my attention this afternoon while bicycling a loop around Lake Samish. They were holding their banner on the North Lake Samish freeway overpass to help spread the message. I stopped to talk with them briefly. Liz told me that most of the drivers passing by honked or waved their support for the message of universal health insurance coverage. She said she thought most people really do support it, but agreed with me that there’s a lot of paranoia being spread around by a few people who are opposed. Liz and Frank’s t-shirts promote Health Care Now!.
My friend David Perry posted this great video explanation on his Facebook page tonight. It’s worth sharing as it’s one of the clearest explanations I’ve seen.
At the end of the day, I want a system that provides basic fairness in health care and health insurance to everyone in our nation, which is not the case now. Access to health insurance should not be based on employment status any more than it should be based on religion or political party. A federally-run single payer system is one good model that can be very fair and efficient. It may not be the only way to reach the end goal, but it deserves a chance.
Thanks to the folks on the overpass for motivating me to share these thoughts tonight and for letting me snap their photo with my iPhone.