Ok, so, here is my problem with mandates.
As the system currently stands, I am “uninsurable.”
Let’s pretend that the proposed “health care reform*” passes, includes mandates, does not include an opportunity to buy low-cost insurance through the government (the so-called “public option”), and forces insurance companies to cover people like me. Let’s even assume that there are exemptions to those mandates for low-income people.
I will be faced with the following choice:
Pay a stratospheric price (you can bet insurance companies will charge through the nose for formerly “uninsurable” people) for a policy which covers basically nothing, which means I will cover most of my health care costs out of pocket. And I will hope that I don’t get really, really sick because if I do, I will be screwed.
Don’t buy insurance, pay for all of my health care costs out of pocket, pay the fine for not having insurance. And I will hope that I don’t get really, really sick because if I do, I will be screwed.
Oh, did I mention that I can’t afford either option? For Pete’s sake, I had to borrow money from my father to pay my taxes this year. So, right now, I am literally paying taxes twice: I’m paying quarterly taxes on this year’s income, and repaying my father for the money he loaned me.
I. Am. So. Fucked. I already lie awake at night stressing out about money, trying to figure out how I am going to keep my head above water. Trying to figure out how I am going to function. I may be functionally in the middle class, economically speaking, but I live on the edge, just like people with much lower incomes. I have no safety cushion. I pay an obscene amount of my income to taxes thanks to the fact that the United States Tax Code penalizes independent contractors. I have very minimal disposable income, and no luxuries (in this community, a car is not a luxury).
I hate this country. I hate that the obvious solution to the health care issue is not being enacted because large companies don’t want to lose money. I hate that I and millions of other Americans are being functionally fucked by the supposed reform our supposed elected representatives are currently proposing.
*I’m putting this in quotes because none of the proposals I have seen have included any substantive reforms.