In 2015 our insurance will jump from $5,600/year to $12,600/year if we want to keep our family doctor. Even if we do nothing and let the forces of darkness send us to a doctor of their choice, our insurance is scheduled to jump to $9,240/year.
Our doctor will only be on two insurance networks in 2015 — I’ve called both and only one of them knew what its rates would be next year. One thing we do already know is that in 2015 no plans in New York State cover out-of-network services, so in order to have our doctor in-network we are being forced to choose one of these two plans. And in either case, that means paying the high price of a much lower deductible than we feel we can afford — it has been much more cost-effective, since the COBRA coverage from my last job ended, for us to pay a low premium for a high deductible. I thought that was a good and responsible decision on our parts, and I had hoped we would be living with it for a number of years. But that option has now ended for us. The choice now is either to give up our doctor and pay $9,240/year for a much lower deductible than we want, or else pay $12,600/year and keep him, and also have a lower deductible than we want. 65% more to lose him vs. 125% more to keep him.
We will keep our doctor, and we will adjust our budget one way or another. And we now know, in case we didn’t before, that our government is working for lobbyists rather than for us, so I suppose before long we will find we have adjusted our states of mind, too. But it’s hard to figure out specifically who is directly responsible for this twisted situation. My U.S. Senators, Schumer and Gillibrand, together took close to a million and a half dollars from the insurance industry in the most recent campaign cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, but I don’t know where to go to find numbers on my state representatives. The one thing I am sure of is that when the Affordable Care Act was being proposed, the current state of affairs was certainly not what was intended.
There is said to be some sort of official subsidy for people with low income, but it isn’t yet possible to find out whether the plans that include our doctor are eligible for that. In any event this subsidy, like the pressure to give up our doctor, smacks of welfare. I will do my best to avoid it for that reason. I am unwilling to be forced onto the public dole, and I will vote against all political parties that would have me do that. I sense that this imperative is going to replace the political issues that have been most important to me since I began voting in 1980. Watching my mind’s reaction to these things — that’s what I’m doing now.
Today was election day. Although I was tempted to vote against every incumbent politician, in practice that wasn’t possible. For one thing, my State Assemblyperson is running unchallenged, and for another he has appeared reasonable on the occasions I’ve interacted with his office. I had badly wanted to vote against the Governor because of a very suspicious-looking action of his, suppressing a commission investigating corruption. But when I looked hard at the challengers and their parties, I saw only ideologues with varying degrees of coherence, and none of them with hands-on administrative experience. The Governor is at least competent at running government offices, even if he should turn out to be a crook. I am naïve and stubborn enough that I don’t want to waste my vote in a gesture of protest. And on reflection, I see that the Governor has made two high-level decisions that I consider reasonable — both of them seem to have lost him a lot of support among voters adhering to ideologies I don’t care for. So I voted for him but on a minor party affiliation, a form of subdued protest that is possible in New York State.
I am dissatisfied with the entire situation, not least my choices at the polls, and I’m sure I’m not the only person in this state of mind. I worry, though, that other people may respond to this predicament less reasonably than I have. This sucker is fed up and no longer wants to see the rest of the circus, but he hesitates at the exit. Better to stay in the tent if you can. But will they let you? Can you get your nickel back if you leave?
One of today’s three New York State ballot proposals was a bond act to raise funds for “school technology”. I had read discussions about it and felt myself siding with those opponents who called it a boondoggle for certain technology firms. But at the polling site today I observed myself voting for it. If even just a few thousand kids get into the serious study of technology because of this act, I mean kids who wouldn’t otherwise have because they’re from rural or ghetto areas and their parents don’t know how to make this gift to them, then the interest money we State taxpayers have to pay will be money well spent. I’d much rather see that happen than not. Technology is one of the few things you can study that is genuinely good for your mind, and we should pay what it costs to bring people into it.