Do Republicans Hate Perpetual Travelers?

Our location independent lifestyle is made possible by our extraordinarily good fortune in obtaining an individual health insurance policy.

If the title of this post strikes you as an inflammatory detour into politics and away from our normal travel-related writing, that is only because politicians have inflamed us by forcing a detour of our travels. What’s worse is that their purpose for doing so threatens to undermine the kind of location independent lifestyle we routinely advocate here.

But before we get to that, we’ll start with the detour.

Our original plans had us spending the better part of October exploring California’s great national parks. We expected to spend next week in Yosemite. From there we’d travel to Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Death Valley and maybe even Joshua Tree. Now, almost none of that may happen.

As of today, the only thing we know for certain is that we’re rushing to get a couple of days in at Yosemite this weekend. After that, we have no idea whether any of these parks will even be open. Why? You can thank Congressional Republicans.

No Parks For You

Without new legislation from Congress, the federal government and all its national parks will shut down on October 1, 2013 – the exact day we originally expected to arrive at Yosemite. The way we understand things is that if a shutdown occurs it will likely take a week, and possibly much longer, to reopen. In the meantime, we’re stuck in limbo along with anyone else who planned to visit one of our national parks.

This is not a situation where all sides are equally to blame. The threat of a government shutdown in this instance does not arise because of an ordinary budgetary dispute over spending priorities. It arises because one side, the Republican side, wants to achieve through coercion what it couldn’t achieve at the ballot box and can’t now achieve through direct legislation. Said more simply, because the Republican Party can’t currently obtain its objectives through ordinary Constitutional means it is threatening to block the normal functioning of all government until it gets what it wants. 

And what it wants most is for Shannon and me, those like us, and everyone who aspires to our lifestyle, to be returned to an era of greater financial insecurity and lessened individual flexibility.

Health insurance is the difference between EverywhereOnce and OneplaceMostly

It’s no exaggeration to say that this blog and all the travels it has documented over the years owe their existence to one simple bureaucratic decision. In early 2010, Shannon and I were accepted for an independent health insurance policy. 

It’s a misnomer to say that we bought health insurance. The truth is that under the old system policies weren’t really available to buy at any price. Instead, we needed to convince an insurance company to sell us one by filling out mountains of paperwork detailing our medical history in excruciating detail. Woe unto us if we misremembered anything.

Fortunately, we were both healthy and still relatively young and thus, insurable under the old regime. But it was no sure thing. Had we been rejected, and at one point it seemed like we might be, I’d never have left my job and its employer sponsored health insurance. The financial risk for going without in America is too great.

Even after we obtained our individual policy, leaving Mega Corp exposed us to considerable financial risk. We worried that our insurer could retroactively cancel our coverage if there were any errors or unintended omissions in our lengthy application. We similarly worried about our insurer’s ability to declare our application invalid because we don’t actually live in the state where our policy is based – or any state for that matter.

These are not trivial concerns.

Pre-Obamacare we had little faith in our policy

If we were to lose our health insurance after we got sick for these reasons, or because our insurer went out of business or left the state, or for any reason whatsoever, we’d have been unable to get a replacement policy under the old system. Given the cost of U.S. care, hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars potentially hung in the balance.

Thanks to Obamacare we no longer have these concerns. Starting October 1, 2013, we can go to an exchange and buy a replacement health insurance policy with no questions asked. That is, unless Republicans get their way.

As I write these words our esteemed Republican representatives and senators are demanding a delay in Obamacare’s start date and its eventual repeal. Failing that they say they’ll refuse to fund the rest of the federal government. Under their terms we can either have our national parks (and other government services) or our health insurance security, but apparently not both.

This obviously impacts Shannon and me directly, but it also impacts so much of what we’ve advocated on this blog over the years. We regularly encourage our readers to buck convention and follow their dreams but always in a responsible way. Because we’d never risk our own financial future on a bet that we’ll stay healthy forever, we would never recommend that anyone else do so either.

For us a catastrophic, guaranteed renewable health insurance policy is an absolutely essential component to our financial plan. If we couldn’t buy one on our own, we’d need to look for an employer to provide one for us. In that case, our days of perpetual travel would have ended before they even got started.

It really is about freedom

And that is the situation in which thousands of Americans currently find themselves. They’re working at jobs they hate because it is the only way they can get health insurance. Many are looking forward to October 1 as a date of liberation when they’ll finally be free to follow their dreams. Whether that means starting their own business, leaving a large corporation for other opportunities, becoming perpetual travelers, or simply retiring without fear of potentially bankrupting medical bills, delaying Obamacare means delaying these dreams – all of which have already been deferred for too long.

Here at EverywhereOnce we’re rooting for their success. And, in this instance at least, that also means rooting for Republican failure.

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71 Comments on “Do Republicans Hate Perpetual Travelers?”

  1. Anne Helmers September 25, 2013 at 8:39 am #

    Good Luck!! Hope you get to go!!!!!

    Like

  2. lapoubelle1969 September 25, 2013 at 8:49 am #

    It really is a no-brainer. Unless your brain is an ideologically motivated Republican brain, apparently. The Republicans increasingly appear to think brinksmanship is the same as statesmanship. Very strange.

    Like

  3. Tish Farrell September 25, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    Yes, good luck on all fronts. In the meantime, and if you don’t already, you could check out http://www.mercola.com – a US doctor who advocates self-responsibility when it comes to health, and thus helps people to avoid often unnecessary and costly medication etc.

    Like

    • Brian September 25, 2013 at 11:29 am #

      Thanks. We certainly agree that a healthy lifestyle can make a big difference.

      Like

  4. Jet Eliot September 25, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    I’m rooting with you. Thanks for your eloquent articulation.

    Like

  5. digger666 September 25, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    Reblogged this on digger666 and commented:
    When people like Shannon and Brian find it necessary to break, if not the habit a lifetime, at least the etiquette of their meticulously considered blog, the Republicans might be deemed in deep trouble. Let us hope so…

    Like

  6. Animalcouriers September 25, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    Bad luck to the republicans.

    Like

  7. 1createblogs September 25, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    Very well written post.

    Like

  8. captainofadventures September 25, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    According to Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers, the U.S.A. is the only industrialized nation in the world that does not provide health care to its citizens. It’s interesting to me that the individualism upon which our nation was founded (which is exactly what you two are living out) has actually become something that hinders our society.

    Like

    • Brian September 25, 2013 at 11:24 am #

      That is my understanding as well.

      Like

  9. Ray Plenty September 25, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    Do you and your partner ever have arguements over your budget? That is what the debate in congress is about. Congress controls the purse strings as a form of checks and balances. Congress would love to keep our way of life going, but Obama has commited us to his Obamacare that adds trillions to our debt. We already have bills we can’t pay. Our creditors don’t want us spending more, they want us to sacrifice some luxuries until we pay them back…. And freedom means you fund your own health care. Costs are only high because of this insurance scam that government coerced ion everybody in the 1960’s…

    Like

    • Brian September 25, 2013 at 11:20 am #

      Hi Ray,
      To use your analogy, I think Shannon and I would fight more often and more acrimoniously about our budget if one of us clung to our own set of facts that were completely at odds with reality.

      It really is difficult to have an honest discussion about the budget when one side insists on saying things like “Obamacare adds trillions to our debt” when it most certainly does not. The non-partisan CBO originally estimated that Obamacare would reduce federal debt by about $200 billion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patient_Protection_and_Affordable_Care_Act#Federal_deficit ). Since then medical cost inflation has slowed significantly which lowers projected costs further (http://bit.ly/1dJ2k4v ). And health insurance premiums in the new exchanges have come in significantly lower than originally estimated, which also lowers the federal cost of subsidies (http://1.usa.gov/19CNicb ).

      So, no, Obamacare doesn’t add trillion to our debt – it actually reduces it, and by more than was originally thought.

      Like

      • Ray Plenty September 25, 2013 at 11:31 am #

        The CBO has since came out and adjusted their cost of Obamacare over the next decade as now costing $1.76 trillion. Nearly a trillion more than they first projected. And that projection includes the last year when Obamacare was not enacted, and didn’t cost us much. Longer term, they now agree that the ACA will in fact cost us trillions instead of reducing the deficit. Just this month, the CBO said that if we delayed the individual mandate by just one year, we would actually save $35 billion over the next decade.

        Like

        • Brian September 25, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

          Hi Ray,
          Whenever you hear claims made by politicians or partisans it is always a good idea to refer to the original source to verify things; in this case the CBO it self. You see, it’s a common tactic among partisans to highlight all the facts that support their case and ignore everything else. Here’s a pretty blatant example:

          “CBO has since came out and adjusted their cost of Obamacare over the next decade as now costing $1.76 trillion. Nearly a trillion more than they first projected.”

          It is true that the CBO updated their cost estimates in May for a specific piece of Obamacare. It said the “Health Insurance Coverage Provision” will cost about $1.8T over 2014-2023. It is also true that their original cost projection for 2010-2019 was ~$900B for this same piece.

          What’s not true is that this represents a doubling of costs or that these costs reflect an increase in the national debt. There are many other things going on with the legislation and you really need to read the CBO report to understand what it all means.

          You can find it here: http://www.cbo.gov/publication/44176

          To summarize, the CBO says that the Health Insurance Coverage Provision costs “do not reflect the total budgetary impact of the ACA (Obamacare). That legislation includes many other provisions that, on net, will reduce budget deficits.

          And further “When estimates are compared on a year-by-year basis, CBO and JCT’s estimate of the net budgetary impact of the ACA’s insurance coverage provisions has changed little since February 2013 and, indeed, has changed little since the legislation was being considered in March 2010”

          So not much has changed and the CBO is still saying that Obamacare will reduce deficits. Anyone suggesting otherwise based on the May CBO report is not being entirely truthful.

          Like

          • Ray Plenty September 25, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

            I dismiss the CBO as they are almost always wrong. Like how they projected that Medicare would only cost $10 million by 1990, but instead ended up costing $110 million. Future obligations from just medicare are in the trillions…. The CBO also always rosey about future economic growth. Their original estomates back in 2010 was based on the Fed saying GDP would be 4.2% right now. The Fed just downgraded our economy and says GDP will be 2% at best by the end of the year. So, that was a projection 100% too high… Then of course, we have under-reported inflation that will spike prices. On one hand, the CBO says inflation will be low, but on the other, Obama allows the Fed to print $85b a month with the sole intent of spiking inflation…

            To me, it all comes down to letting consumers set prices in the free market. We already had a market for insurance, which is only a financial hedge. Prices skied because government got involved. The answer is to get them out of it…. Things like pre-existing conditions, should have been dealt with by the market. Let the insurance companies screen their customers better. Put them through a battery of tests. If they later get sick, they have no excuse to deny coverage. If they find something in the screening, then charge them more…. Some people should pay more.The 23 year old traveler who drives 30k miles a year and already has three dui’s and a dozen speeding tickets should pay more. A 60 year old driver with no tickets and only drives 10k miles a year should pay less. ….

            Like

            • Brian September 25, 2013 at 12:52 pm #

              “I dismiss the CBO” (after appealing to their authority in the previous comment)

              I think that statement brings us back to where we started. Partisans dismiss information that conflicts with their pre-existing opinions and accept only information that comforts them. It’s a pathology that explains a lot of our current political gridlock and also why constructive political dialog is all but impossible.

              Like

            • Ray Plenty September 25, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

              Actually, the mention of the CBO was in reply to your partisan stance. You mentioned the CBO as if they have some awesome predictive powers. I simply relayed that the CBO themself came out and backtracked, and are almost always wrong…. For the record, I voted for Obama in 2008(really voted against McCain continuing the Bush years). One of my reasons for voting for him was his pledge not to give us mandates. That is what he said on the campaign trail, but his team has since came out and said behind closed doors he was for it. Just one of his numerous lies. I have also never voted for a Republican as president, always voting third party except for 2004 and 2008. Yes, I am partisan about this issue. I have the right to my own body. I should not be punished for refusing to hedge my finances with insurance. I have the right to due process, where I get billed for using a medical service and have a chance to pay that bill. Where I can get sued if I don’t. But to punish me before I even step into a hospital? To claim that insurance is a “tax”, yet the corporation we pay it to doesn’t hand it over to the IRS? How selfish must one be to allow such tyranny? And you partisans would have been fighting this 100% if somebody like Bush proposed it, and rightly so…. It was nice debating with you. Have a good day.

              Like

            • Brian September 25, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

              No one would claim that the CBO can tell the future. Not me. Not even the CBO. But that isn’t the point. If we’re going to make claims like “Obamacare adds trillions to our debt,” as you did, we really should base those claims on some kind of rigorous and objective analysis of the law. The CBO is the most reputable place to get that analysis and they disagree with your statement.

              Like

            • Barbra & Jack Donachy September 26, 2013 at 11:28 am #

              Gees, Ray, you’re all over the place. Educate yourself!

              Like

            • Brian September 26, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

              It is hard to educate yourself when there is so much deliberate misinformation out there. Just today I read a National Review article making the same mistakes seen above (and many others). The article is a classic example of how to lie with numbers. Here it is ( http://www.nationalreview.com/article/359540/obamas-wrong-numbers-jeffrey-h-anderson ) Someone reading that article may think they’re “getting educated” when in fact, they’re being misled.

              Like

            • Barbra & Jack Donachy September 27, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

              We’ve always had different voices to sift through. That hasn’t changed. What has changed in our lifetime is that now, there are many, many people who simply choose a side, put on blinders, and subscribe without thinking to whatever their side proclaims. Thinking people seek information from multiple sources before forming an opinion. People who wish not to embarrass themselves form cogent opinions before sharing publishing them for all to read.

              Like

            • Brian September 27, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

              I agree with that. In recent years it has become increasingly easy to self-select information that confirms our existing biases, whatever they may be. Entire industries and media outlets have sprung into existence for the sole purpose of telling people what they want to hear. It’s terribly easy, and convenient, to just listen to those sources. So that is exactly what many people do.

              Like

    • andytallman101 September 26, 2013 at 2:41 am #

      Bravo, Brian. I applaud your ability to debate with this guy without losing your cool

      Like

  10. Melinda Green Harvey September 25, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    I appreciate your thoughtful, and thought-provoking post. Thank you.

    Like

  11. John September 25, 2013 at 11:14 am #

    Frankly, I can’t comment on this and be civil about it. Our government is out of control, destroying the country and the Republican party has joined the liberals.

    Like

    • Brian September 25, 2013 at 11:21 am #

      We appreciate your restraint. 😉

      Like

  12. Patty September 25, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    Thanks for writing this. At the beginning of this year I made the decision to quit my job and travel. I had felt stuck in a job because of health care. I was un-insurable on my own so felt I had to stay in a job I hated. Because of the Affordable Care Act I felt a great relief. I could leave my job and not be turned down for health care. I took out travel insurance to cover me when I was on the road and off I went.
    I had to cut my travels short because of my dog but today I am a much happier person.
    I wonder how many people have stayed in jobs they hated because “it’s the right thing to do?” While at that job I had incredible doctor bills, now I have non because I haven’t been to the doctor since. My migraines are gone, my aches and pains are much lighter and I am happier.
    Republicans need to get over it! It is the law and a much needed one. Shame on them for this stupid game they are playing!

    Like

    • Brian September 25, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

      Hi Patty,
      I’ve seen an estimate (don’t remember where) that said nearly 1 million people could leave the workforce (retire, whatever) once they were able to buy health insurance on their own. That’s a huge number of people trapped in the current system.

      Like

  13. Jenni Gate September 25, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

    I loved this post, and I love your replies, Brian! 😀

    No one should be forced into bankruptcy because they get sick or injured, and no one should have to fear leaving a job if they or a loved one is ill.

    Thanks for speaking out on this.

    Like

    • Brian September 25, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

      Thanks so much, Jenni.

      Like

  14. Gunta September 25, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    I finally reached the Holy Grail of Medicare some years ago. Pity not everyone is covered by it or something similar. Unselfishly, I’m hoping the Republicans will come to their senses and find a graceful, face saving way to keep us from a government shut down. Then again, we’ll be facing the next installment holding the debt limit hostage. I see that maneuver as far more harmful to our economy as well as the world’s.

    Like

    • Brian September 25, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

      I agree. I’m half convinced it might be better to fight this out now when we’re only talking about a government shutdown rather than a government default. The latest I heard is that treasury will breach the debt ceiling on October 17, so not much time to deal with that either.

      Like

  15. globetrottingdoll September 25, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

    Amazing post! And this is coming from somebody who has had Crohn’s disease for 17 years and hence is seen as a liability for health insurance companies because of my pre-existing condition. I’ve had in the past had to work jobs just so that I could have insurance. At some point nobody would insure me. The drama that entails dealing with insurance companies, cobra, specialty pharmacies and bills, bills, bills… never ends. Very stressful. I’m looking forward to Obamacare.

    Like

    • Brian September 25, 2013 at 3:03 pm #

      Thanks for sharing your story. Hopefully things will improve under the new law.

      Like

  16. Lauren @ Peaks and Passports September 25, 2013 at 3:10 pm #

    Well put! Here’s a similar take in Forbes, equating what the republicans are doing to restraining entrepreneurs – thought you might find it interesting! http://www.forbes.com/sites/micahsolomon/2013/09/24/entrehealthcare/

    Like

    • Brian September 25, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

      I obviously agree with the Forbes article. Too often we talk about business as being singularly focused on tax rates when in reality, businesses and business owners have many different and often more important considerations. Thanks for sharing.

      Like

  17. Huw Thomas September 25, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

    Yeah… well I think all of the above sums up that while I think the US is a wonderful place and home to some great folks… I’m damn glad I live on this side of the pond.
    Sure our system’s not perfect but if I fall ill/get run down/come off my bike I don’t have to worry about whether I can afford to even get in the ambulance.
    If I’m travelling I take out extra health insurance but the cost isn’t something that’s going to affect while I travel.
    Why are some of you people so afraid of government? Being independent and responsible for yourself are good values in many ways but some things are just too big for one person to deal with on their own. That’s why humans get together – for mutual support.

    Like

    • Brian September 25, 2013 at 5:56 pm #

      It’s funny, American conservatives used to agree with you that “some things are just too big for one person to deal with on their own.” One of those things they used to agree with you on is health insurance. They understood that health care is different from most other products or services and that those differences make it hard to establish a free market for health care services. But back then, they actually had a solution.

      In the late 80’s or early 90’s the conservative think-tank, The Heritage Foundation, put together a framework for reforming our health care system. Their proposal had three critical elements. 1) A requirement that insurance companies accept all applicants regardless of pre-existing conditions 2) A requirement that every citizen purchase health insurance to prevent the “free rider” problem caused by the first requirement and 3) subsidies to make the 2nd requirement affordable to people with low incomes.

      In 1993, the Republican Party actually introduced health reform legislation built off of that Heritage Foundation framework. (http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/stories/2010/february/23/gop-1993-health-reform-bill.aspx )

      In 2006 Republican Governor Mitt Romney even signed legislation into law with those three principles for the state of Massachusetts. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massachusetts_health_care_reform )

      Only when Democratic President Barak Obama put forward health reform legislation in 2010 based on the same Heritage Foundation framework that it suddenly became an example of Big Government Socialism.

      Draw what conclusion you will, but to me that behavior explains an awful lot of our current political dysfunction.

      Like

      • Huw Thomas September 26, 2013 at 11:33 am #

        One of the things that I think confuses most people outside the States is that so many of your values are supposed to be about democracy and freedom…
        And yet you have what is essentially a two-party system dominated by powerful lobby groups (money) and there is very little political debate in terms that the rest of the world would understand.
        It’s a great shame really. Wonder what your founding fathers would think of how things turned out?

        Like

        • Brian September 27, 2013 at 10:03 am #

          Interesting thoughts.

          Notwithstanding some obvious difficulties, I think our founding fathers have every reason to be proud of what they created. Engineering a political system that has yielded 44 peaceful transitions of power is no small feat. Violence in places like Egypt and bogus elections in places like Russia remind us how difficult a task that really is.

          And I wouldn’t pin this most recent American dysfunction on powerful lobby groups or even on our two-party system. Many of the people threatening to shutdown the government are political neophytes who ran against their party’s establishment. Sen Ted Cruz of recent fake-filibuster fame is just 8 months in office.

          One of the things our founders might be most proud of is how the system they designed protects minority rights. They knew that in a perfect democracy a population consisting of one sheep and three wolves would vote democratically to eat sheep for dinner. So they built in procedures, checks, and balances to give those minority voices a say. What’s happening now is an abuse of those privileges by a minority determined to impose its will on the majority. It’s a price we pay for not simply steam rolling dissenting voices.

          But this is still a democracy, and one that works well enough that the people really do get the government they deserve. We voted for enough “take no prisoners, victory at all costs” politicians to create this problem. Eventually, they’ll cause enough pain to provoke a backlash strong enough to vote them out again. I have no doubt that day is coming. My only uncertainty is how much damage it will take to see them gone.

          Like

  18. redjim99 September 25, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

    It’s been an interesting read, comments included. Having the NHS in the UK is something we take for granted. But articles like this show how lucky we are, despite the many problems with it. It is astounding the way this running to the edge operates, I hope the Obama care gets through in the end, with the parks as well, I want to come and visit.

    Jim

    Like

  19. Deb September 25, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

    This was a really interesting post to read. As I am not American the political biases do not affect me one way or the other, however the whole health care situation in the USA does leave me baffled. I have heard of people choosing undesirable jobs and staying in bad jobs just for health coverage; it seems like those concerned about their health (and a way to keep their health care covered in a financially reasonable way) are being held hostage in bad jobs by the system.

    So I have a hypothetical question for you. Would you ever consider immigrating to to be able to access more universal health care and be able to continue your “on the road” life-style? Would the process and of course the three years of stability to obtain a citizenship in another country be worth it to you long term? Just an interesting thought.

    Like

    • Brian September 25, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

      I think the short answer to your question is “yes, we’d consider getting health care elsewhere if we needed to.” It’s not our first plan or even something we’ve considered. But we are willing to do what we need to do to live the life we want.

      Hell, we even recently talked about trying to get some kind of residency in France or Spain or Italy or elsewhere just to ease Schengen visa restrictions. We’ve ruled nothing out.

      Like

  20. Allison September 25, 2013 at 6:57 pm #

    I have been unable to find an answer to a question I have about the ACA, perhaps you know. Currently I have insurance through my previous employer. If my previous employer decides to no longer fund retiree medical, and tells us to go on the ACA, what do full time RVers do? I’m a SD resident, we never go there. I do remember you couldn’t get insurance in SD at all. Is the ACA going to be transportable across state lines? I wondered about this after seeing a news report on someone who had signed up under the ACA and they mentioned that his level of coverage allowed him access to some of the better hospitals in his state. From this I inferred (perhaps wrongly) that the ACA is state specific. Do you know? If it is, it’s gonna be a bummer for the full timing community who haven’t reached the “holy grail” of Medicare.

    Like

    • Brian September 25, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

      Hi Allison,
      All insurance in the U.S. is state specific. That will not change under Obamacare. However, your state insurer may also operate in other states and you may have access to their networks in those other states. That’s how it works now and how I expect it will work under Obamacare. But as always, check with your specific insurer to get the right info about your plan.

      Like

  21. writecrites September 25, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

    Hooray for you bringing this to your readers. A friend of mine almost died because her health insurer just “cancelled” her plan all of a sudden (or was it b/c she had become very sick and they didn’t want to pay). Fortunately, she was able to find another insurer and is now doing well, but nobody should go through that, especially when they’re sick (and especially through no fault of her own). Anybody with half a brain can see that the Republicans are twisting the non-facts to make AFC look like it will destroy America. Doesn’t it say in the Bible that we are our brother’s keeper. How non-Christ-like to throw sick people who can’t afford (or even get) health insurance under the bus in the name of the free-market. And, I admit, when I was younger (and stupid), I used to think any form of national health care was a bad idea. Luckily I started looking at facts, stopped believing rhetoric, and smarted up.

    Like

  22. Stuart M. September 26, 2013 at 3:46 am #

    This morning I went to my Japanese doctor for a nagging tennis elbow and was annoyed to sit around for 2 hours before I got to see him and then another hour to pay my copay of $18. Reading the debate here in the comments section makes me SO HAPPY I live in Japan! It brought back all my American memories of battling my employer’s health insurance company, the incessant collection notices I got from my doctors and the equally long waits at the doctors’ offices. Health care isn’t free in Japan, it comes right out of our salary every month, but it is a load off our mind. My Japanese wife came down with stomach cancer in 2008. She had to have her stomach removed and spent a month in the hospital. Between the mandatory employees health insurance and a special program of our city, we didn’t have to pay one penny extra. I don’t want to bore you with more information, but Japan spends only $2500 per patient per year on health care costs, whereas the USA spends over $7000. That is what the vaunted “free market” in America does, it allows the monopolistic hospitals, physicians and insurance companies to charge whatever the hell they please. Your choice as a citizen: no insurance or stay glued to your company job. Bring on Obamacare, I might even consider returning to the USA. Oh, I almost forgot: Brian for President of the USA!!!

    Like

    • Brian September 26, 2013 at 10:35 am #

      It’s true. A big part of America’s health care problem is a health care cost problem. But that is another thing that Obamacare tries to address in a hundred different ways, both large and small. And the early results are really positive. Health care inflation has been cut in half since the law’s passage. That is a huge victory. And another benefit the forces of repeal would take away.

      And LOL, I’m honored by your nominating me for President. But I think I’d channel Civil War General William Sherman by saying “If drafted, I will not run; if nominated, I will not accept; if elected, I will not serve.”

      Like

  23. klcompren September 26, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    Let’s set aside CBO reports, budget projections and ideologies. We are early retirees responsible for our own health insurance. We are healthy, practice a healthy lifestyle and have a high deductible plan. Our insurer, a large HMO just sent us our new ACA compliant plan (bronze) for 2014. It carries a 65% higher premium. That’s reality.

    Like

    • Brian September 26, 2013 at 10:22 am #

      I don’t doubt that is true. Some people will pay more. Some people will pay less. And millions of people who couldn’t buy insurance at any price will now be able to do so.

      First of all, your cost may not go up as much as you think, or even at all. Many people will be eligible for tax credits that significantly lowers insurance premiums under ACA. I’m guessing that the information you got from your insurance company doesn’t include any offsetting tax credits (because they don’t know your income.) So that is something that you certainly want to check. Who knows, you may end up paying less than you do now.

      But even for people who end up paying more under the new system, they’re getting something in exchange. Like more coverage. More importantly, they’re getting a guarantee that their insurance won’t disappear once they get sick. The ability of insurance companies to retroactively cancel coverage for any number of reasons was a real risk and made individual health insurance a very dubious product.

      And as early retirees with a high deductible plan, consider the following scenario: One of you gets chronically sick. In the following years your insurance company goes out of business. What do you do then?

      Would you be willing to pay more today to make sure that you’re still covered under that scenario? I would. And that is one of the many things ACA (Obamacare) protects those of us in the individual market against.

      Like

    • Stuart M. September 26, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

      You are no longer glued to your old policy. Check out the state insurance exchange to see if there are more reasonable plans. Oh, you live in one of the states where the Republicans are dragging their feet on setting up an exchange? Tough luck! Just kidding, if your income is low enough, you will also qualify for state aid in paying the premiums. Good luck.

      Like

  24. Barbra & Jack Donachy September 26, 2013 at 11:32 am #

    This post made our morning. Thanks for speaking up – and for holding your ground with an informed point of view!

    Like

  25. Max September 26, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    As far as the possible government shut down, an argument can be made that the problem lies with Senate Democrats as much as with House Republicans. The truth is Congress has not passed a budget in… I think we’re going on five years. Every few months this “crisis” arises, threats are made, fearmongering ensues, and then they come up with a temporary plan to cover the bills for a few more months. This was going on when I was travelling the national parks back in 2011. My bet is nothing comes of it and you will be able to enjoy your time in some of the most beautiful parts of the country. Wish you the best.

    Like

    • Brian September 26, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

      Sorry, the Senate Democrats passed a budget in March of 2013. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/24/us/politics/senate-passes-3-7-trillion-budget-its-first-in-4-years.html

      I understand where you’re coming from, but I also think this kind of “a pox on all your houses” attitude about the cause of our government’s dysfunction is part of the problem. It lets the real mischief makers off too easy. It really is time to point fingers and assign blame. And with respect to government shutdowns, there is only one party that harbors members who advocate for one. And they’re the ones we should blame.

      I also share your hope that this gets resolved as it has in the past. There’s good reason to believe this time is different, though.

      Like

      • Max September 27, 2013 at 10:12 pm #

        All valid points. It is why I refer to myself as unaffiliated.

        Like

  26. Stuart M. September 27, 2013 at 9:16 am #

    Hey, on a whim, I checked out California’s coveredca.com health insurance exchange website. I followed the instructions and got a quote on a “Silver 87” plan through a major insurance carrier. It has a $500 annual deductible, a 13% coinsurance and lots of copays around $10 to $20 depending on procedures and types of drugs, BUT the maximum out-of-pocket per year for me and my wife together would be $5,000. And the monthly premium? $82.00! Yes, that’s eighty-two dollars a month! THANK YOU, BARAK OBAMA!!!

    Like

    • Brian September 27, 2013 at 10:05 am #

      Wow, that is inexpensive. Of course not everyone will be so fortunate, but it’s still good to know that such examples exist. Thanks for sharing.

      Like

      • Jenni September 27, 2013 at 12:21 pm #

        I checked plans in the state of Washington too. I will end up paying about $475/mo and my husband about $520/mo. It is based largely on our age. It is still better than what I had to pay to be on his insurance through work (over $600/mo). I am not unhappy about it. I like the fact that there are limits on out-of-pocket spending, so it’s manageable. It’s good to know that (Republicans holding the country hostage not-withstanding) we can change jobs, travel, or be self-employed without worry, and we don’t have to worry about getting and keeping coverage regardless of our health or circumstances.

        I hope this leads to expansion of Medicare for all at some point. It would be nice if they expanded the coverage idiots like Ted Cruz get to the rest of us. That has to be what ticks me off the most – the hypocrisy of those who get great government insurance telling the rest of us we should do without.

        Like

        • Allison September 27, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

          Oh yes, absolutely! My Dad was FBI, his health coverage was unbelievable, as was his pension. The people in Congress have it even better. Maybe if they had ACA, Medicare and Social Security to look forward to they would quit being obstreperous and work on improving same. The bubble they have made for themselves is mighty comfortable.

          Like

        • Brian September 27, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

          “It’s good to know that (Republicans holding the country hostage not-withstanding) we can change jobs, travel, or be self-employed without worry, and we don’t have to worry about getting and keeping coverage regardless of our health or circumstances.”

          Our thoughts exactly.

          Like

  27. Veage September 27, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

    I’m party neutral,but I sympathize with your plight. I don’t understand how some ones ideology can make them so cold and unempathetic to the plight of the less fortunate. Healthcare is too expensive, and we need to fix it. Cuba and france have better healthcare than us; its ridiculous. thanks for this post.

    Like

  28. Geeky Explorers (@GeekyExplorers) September 29, 2013 at 8:35 am #

    Both Keith and I have been declined health insurance for the most ridiculous reasons, and have been traveling since April uncovered. It’s frustrating & insane that anyone is fighting against allowing American people to be proactive in taking care of themselves. We decided to chance it & traveled anyway, but we are looking forward to having coverage soon.

    Like

    • Brian September 29, 2013 at 9:28 am #

      Insanity is the word we’d choose to describe it too. Good luck and good health to you, at the very least until Jan 1, 2014. 🙂

      Like

  29. Kings On the Road September 29, 2013 at 11:24 pm #

    Thank you for an articulate defense of Obamacare. We have received rebates on our individual health care policies each of the last two years. And our premium increases have slowed since the Affordable Health Care Act. None of this would have happened otherwise. We’ve been following your blog for years. Thanks again for telling it like it is.

    Like

    • Brian September 30, 2013 at 12:02 am #

      Good point. Thanks for reminding me. We’ve gotten rebate checks as well in each of the years since the law passed. Nice.

      And thanks for following.

      Like

  30. CCBW September 30, 2013 at 12:52 am #

    I’m an independent voter and hope you are right about ACA. I think it will be at least a year or more before we really know if its better than the system in place now, and I don’t like the one that’s in place now. I don’t like the two party system, because I don’t think either party has the best interest of the country at heart. I think they just have the best interest of their party at heart and we’re force fed the dogma of whichever is in power. Although if they ever crossed lines voted for what is truly best for this country, the USA would be greater than it is now. I just recently discovered your blog and enjoy reading it, but I don’t know if you vigorously defend the conservatives when they’re right or if it’s one sided fact checking. I’m hoping you’re an equal defender of the facts.

    Like

    • Brian September 30, 2013 at 9:22 am #

      Thanks for stopping by and for commenting. As a new reader you may be happy to know that politics isn’t something that comes up here very often. This isn’t a political blog. But sometimes what happens in Washington is directly relevant to the themes we normally talk about here. When that happens we won’t shy away from talking about it. And while we believe we’re “equal defenders of the facts” that is ultimately something you’ll have to judge for yourself.

      Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Your Questions Answered: Health Insurance for the Perpetual Traveler | Everywhere Once - September 30, 2013

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  2. Release the Hostages! | Everywhere Once - October 1, 2013

    […] National Parks have been kidnapped! The perpetrators say that we need to surrender our health insurance and financial security to win their release. We’re told that unless we pay their ransom our parks, along with the rest […]

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