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19% premiums – a postscript

By auguste
Friday, August 21, 2009 9:04 EDT
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It’s not (at least, not entirely) that I feel compelled to respond to this particular bullshit:

You guys ever stop whining and crying? Ewww. Every time Auguste posts you can see the tears flowing.

It’s that I hope that people who are not as perniciously selfish as Libertarian are not inadvertantly drawing the conclusion he’s jumping to. In other words, I’m hoping that the rhetorical weakness I’m about to cop to, the one he was able to exploit, isn’t leaving more well-meaning types with a bad taste in their mouth.

I’m pissed about my personal situation. I don’t particularly enjoy dropping the first 1/5 of my income into a massive well of disallowed charges and 20% coinsurance. But, as I said, that situation is going to change soon. And yet I still posted about it.

Why is that? Is it because I’m so injured, so oppressed by the fact that I worked until March 20th this year before I paid off my yearly health insurance premiums* that, even though I’m about to experience serious financial relief, I still had to burden you all with my terrible, personal tragedy?

No. I posted because I’m not the only one. You see, unlike some people, progressives generally tend to see past their own circumstances to what those circumstances imply about society in general.

I make a good living, frankly. I mean, there are a lot of medical bills to contend with, but they’re not prohibitive. I work in a job I like, live in a neighborhood I like, never worry about food or clothing. I do that, because I am lucky enough to be able to contend with a 20% hit to my gross. And that’s what I tried to get across, with the implied understanding that a lot of people – most people – absolutely cannot contend with such a hit, in addition to their taxes**. And the implied understanding is the rhetorical weakness I referred to. Because, despite the fact that I’ve been doing this blogging thing for a long time, I forget – seriously, I do! – that there are readers out there so crippled by their own moral bankruptcy that they are not able to extrapolate to such a conclusion.

There are people who read about a blogger who is giving the insurance companies money as fast as they can take it, and do not automatically realize the broader implications of such an anecdote. Who don’t immediately consider that such a thing acutely helps explain where 47 million uninsured might come from: Not laziness, not irresponsibility, but the inability to spare 20% of gross or more. Who don’t immediately think “Well, maybe there’s something in the argument that universal health care is the only way to make sure we don’t continue to lose 28,000 people a year simply because they can’t afford to stay alive.”

I forget that, and it takes comments like Libertarian’s to remind me, even if Libertarian himself isn’t worth the energy it took to write this post. Because just maybe some of the people I described above wouldstop thinking that way, if only they can find an anecdote that breaks through.

* See, Libertarians? Liberals can do the “Tax Freedom day” routine, too.
** And yes, a public option will raise taxes, to an extent. They won’t raise them 20%. Feel free to not trot out that as a counter-argument, thanks.

 
 
 
 
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