Saturday, February 2, 2008

Why I'm voting for Obama...

"Never discuss politics or religion in public," or so the adage goes... but I just have to get this off my chest! Here it goes: Recently, my father-in-law, a Venezuelan citizen and resident, flew to Boston seeking medical help for a potentially very serious medical condition. In a little over two weeks of tests and treatment, he accumulated a $40K+ hospital bill (and the actual doctors' fees haven't come in the mail yet.) He ended up being OK (yay!), and since he's wealthy and has insurance, his bills were settled quickly and without problems. The whole situation, however, got me thinking...

I'm a 25-year-old married woman. Between me and my 29-year-old husband, we brought in enough money last year to put us well above the median household income in America, which is about $50K a year. We're both healthy and certainly not in any kind of desperate financial situation, but that could all change in a heartbeat if either one of us got sick and needed medical care: we're among the roughly 50 million Americans who have no health insurance. We simply can not afford the $12K a year it would cost us to get a comprehensive health insurance plan on our own in Massachusetts.

A bit of a recent history lesson: Our ex-governor, Mitt Romney - after being heavily lobbied by the insurance industry - passed a law that supposedly aimed to make health insurance affordable for all Massachusetts's residents. The idea was to make purchasing health insurance mandatory for every uninsured person, thus giving the state increased negotiating power to get the insurance companies to lower their rates. Unfortunately, Romney only delivered on the first half of the law: he made purchasing insurance mandatory, but unless you're close to or below the poverty line, the actual rates for said insurance stayed virtually the same as they were before the law was signed. What Romney did was essentially equivalent to attempting to cure cancer by legislating it away! Mitt Romney betrayed the people of the state of Massachusetts, just so his fat-cat campaign donors and their lobbyists could line their pockets with our money. I will spare you the specifics, but for me and my husband this has become the single most important campaign issue we will consider when the time comes to choose our next president. It's an issue that affects us personally in a very real and direct way. We even cancelled our subscription to the Boston Globe (an otherwise fine periodical) in protest when they endorsed Romney's health insurance extortion plan.

So when we started looking at the current potential candidates for president, we were shocked to see that Hillary Clinton is now the top receiver of health insurance companies' campaign donations (even more than Republican candidates!), and that her plan to solve the nation's healthcare crisis mirrors the travesty that was perpetrated on the people of Massachusetts by Mitt Romney in ways that are downright alarming. Unless she somehow ends up running against Mitt Romney, there is simply no way that Hillary Clinton will get my vote for president.

A vote for Senator McCain would be a vote for business as usual, as far as this issue is concerned, so like Romney, he's off our list right off the bat. Of all the viable candidates still in the running for either party's nomination, Senator Barack Obama is the only one with a realistic, comprehensive, progressive healthcare plan that regulates the out-of-control health insurance companies, makes healthcare both cheaper and more accessible to all, modernizes the system, and makes it better and more efficient. His opposition to the war, and his positions on energy policy, the environment, education, et cetera, cinch the deal for me. The fact that he seems so intelligent and sincere (at least as far as one can tell these things through the media lens), and that he's such an incredibly inspiring speaker certainly help, too.

And that's why on February 5th, I'll proudly cast my vote for Senator Barack Obama to get the Democratic Party nomination for president. I encourage you all to do the same.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Right on Jenn Ski! Another thing against Hilary is that independents don't like her and they'll prolly vote for McCain instead... And republicans HATE HER, so they'll totally come out and vote in droves just so she doesn't win! I always thought if I could vote for a woman I would, but there are more important things at stake than just having a female president.

GOBAMA!!! :)

JanelleGrace said...

I'm not going to get into politics.

But being uninsured and not making very much money scares me. If there was anything wrong, I wouldnt go to the doctor unless it was life-threatening.

People shouldnt have to gauge how bad they are sick to decide if they want to attempt the bills!

Carla said...

Wow. Although I live in Canada, I decided to read your post about the upcoming election. My husband and I are about the same age as you and your husband, and I find your situation very unsettling. We are fortunate in Canada to have very good medicare for all citizens regardless of income. It scares me to think that if we lived in the states nearly 1/4 of our income might have to go to health insurance. This astounds me. Hopefully after the election, there will be some positive changes. Thanks for the insight.

Kaitie Tee said...

Have you seen the Times recent article about how Hillary's health care plan is better than Obama's? I'm still not sure who I'm voting for, but I thought the article might appeal to you.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/04/opinion/04krugman.html?em&ex=1202360400&en=ce3c70baa2e01f10&ei=5087%0A

Peggy said...

Jenn,
Count me in that group of Americans who neglect their health because they have no insurance. And I work a fulltime job! Being single with no loopholes, I paid about 29% income tax last year. I barely get by.

I will also be voting for Obama. It saddens me as a feminist, not to be casting my vote for Hillary. But I'm not happy with her stance on the shameful war in Iraq.

Al said...

@Katie Tee: In that article, Krugman is lying, and he's smart enough to know he is. He says that only Clinton's plan limits insurance rates, but in actuality Obama's plan not only limits rates, but actually reduces them from the crazy-high levels they're at right now. He also makes the same fundamentally wrong assumption that Jenn points to in this post, the same one that Romney used in MA - that you can "fix" the unaffordability of health isurance by making it a law that you have to have insurance. Hillary (along with Romney, and Krugman) is so out of touch with reality, that she actually thinks people are uninsured because they use the money for something else, while Obama is clear on the fact that uninsured people simply can't pay for insurance at the current prices.

Melissa said...

as a woman (age 31) who has given birth to 2 babies in the last three years and had to pay out of pocket for the entire thing because my husband and I could not afford maternity insurance.. I am with you (and Obama on this.) Luckily for us my husband is an Australian citizen so if anthing too bad ever happened we could hop on a plane and go to Australia for care as they also have universal healthcare... but why should I have to do that as a tax-paying self employed person.. we can now only afford health insurance for our two boys and it still costs us $255 per month for them alone. This country needs to get a lot of things straight..