McCain Is Trying To Kill Me (perhaps literally) by Maria Rowan

When I was 19, I was in a car wreck. As a result I had a spinal fusion that was successful for two reasons. First of all, I can walk and second, the fusion is in excellent shape twenty years later due to an excellent surgeon and prudent care on my part.
 
However; this puts me in a category known as "pre-existing condition" to insurance providers. Once you have one, you must stay insured at all times or you will never be insured again.
 
Until my early 30s, I was self-insured on the same major medical policy I had at 19, which was the same policy my mother carried throughout our lives. When I first started paying for it myself I had a $2000 deductible and I paid $400 a month. In my early 30s, just ten years later, it became unaffordable. With a $10,000 deductible, I was paying $800 a month. Just for me. And it wasn't even a health plan. It was major medical. My primary insurance was through my husband’s job. It pained me, but to make ends meet, I had to let my major medical go and rely on insurance through employment.
 
The rule in our family is one of us has to work somewhere that offers group insurance so that we are never without insurance. Since both the husband and I have pre-existing conditions (he has asthma), it is unlikely we could purchase insurance independently in the current climate, even if we could find a plan that we could afford. Workplace plans cover everyone in the workplace regardless of their history or chronic conditions. They are the last bastion.
 
Here in North Carolina, a Republican candidate with strong libertarian leanings is running on a no bailout, no war and no Patriot Act platform and attracting a lot of attention from progressives folks who are sick of our Democrat Congressman voting for those things. I checked out the Republican candidate’s website and indeed he is against many things that I’m against.
 
But when it comes to health care, he supports the McCain plan. That’s a $5000 tax break for families who buy their own insurance. Which I think is dandy. Please do give people who do this -- as my mother has her whole life -- a tax break.
 
It's the eradication of the tax break to companies that offer group plans that sets off all my alarms bells, because that is a personal threat to me and mine. McCain might as well walk into my living room and say "Hey I'm taking your health insurance away."
 
One more time -- the last time I personally had a major medical only plan -- it had gone up to $800 a month with a $10,000 deductible. And that was 10 years ago. A $5000 tax break is not going to help my family of three, two adults and one child, if we have to buy our own major medical plan and pay all the uncovered expenses on top of that. And once again, there is a good chance we might be denied coverage as individuals.
 
As I said on a local website -- I hate war, but I like health insurance. The libertarian’s supporters responded -- but the McCain plan works in Switzerland. Everyone is required to buy their own insurance and insurance is cheaper there. I promptly googled to see how that worked in Switzerland, exactly. From an article in a Dallas newspaper, I learned this: Every Swiss insurance company is required to provide a basic health care plan that may not exclude anyone for any reason and the plan can not be for profit.
 
The Swiss system is not what Republicans are proposing. The Republican plan does not require insurance companies to sell you insurance. The Republican plan does nothing to stop insurance companies from insuring who they want and letting the rest hang. It will not help any of the self-employed Americans who cannot get insurance on their own because they or their children have "pre-existing conditions." What it does is remove the incentive and possibly the financial ability for employers to insure workers as a group and give some of us "pre-existing conditions" a safety net.
 
The insurance industry is a corrupt system. I've doubted anyone would or could do anything to fix it but I had no concept that the Republicans would try and make it worse by taking away the last shelter on which many of us rely.
 
Maria Rowan lives with her husband and daughter in a really messy house in Carrboro, North Carolina. Today they spent the afternoon walking a large water strider (bug) made of random things from the garage and kitchen , papier mache, cardboard and antique coat buttons (the eyes) in their county’s first Handmade Parade.