...my 65th birthday is later this month, so I became firmly entrenched as a proud member of the 47% at midnight, when the Medicare card I received a couple months ago became effective.
You bet it's an entitlement, folks. I bought it and paid for it during 40 years on the workforce. I paid taxes for it every two weeks with every paycheck. So, yeah, I'm entitled to it, just like I'm entitled to the money I deposited in my checking account, or the money in my 401k.
My Medicare card is a ticket to fewer financial and healthcare worries, and it's also a ticket to ride for Democratic candidates next year. More after the jump....
I was without health insurance all of three days in my working life, but I learned a few things the past few months.
When I took early retirement - just ahead of a major round of cutbacks at work - I switched over to my partner's policy. It was terrific. But my partner was riffed last year, and his last day on the payroll was December 31st. We were told repeatedly by his Human Resources Department that I could be covered by his COBRA.
On January 3rd, we checked with his COBRA provider only to learn that I could not be covered, and, in fact - at that very moment - I was without coverage! Even though the District of Columbia has marriage equality, DOMA reared its ugly head and my partner's employer had no COBRA look-alike option. So there I was, 87 days short of Medicare, with no coverage.
AFTRA-SAG offers short term medical coverage through a major carrier, so I called the carrier. They said I could qualify by answering "no" to four simple questions. One was whether I had been counseled for - or treated for - diabetes. Well, I had, even though my AIC is in normal range. So I didn't qualify.
Everywhere I went, I ran into the same problem: pre-existing condition.
But one insurance company representative told me to check my state insurance department. I did.
I learned that DC had already been planning for Obamacare, and had instituted an Open Enrollment Plan with CareFirst/Blue Shield. There were no exclusions for pre-existing conditions, and I could have full coverage for $543 a month. They even covered me retroactively to the first of the month!
I paid $1629 for 90 days over coverage, didn't get sick, used the dental coverage for a complete check-up and cleaning, and saved a lot of money on prescription drug coverage. But, above all, I had the peace of mind of knowing I wasn't without coverage. All that, thanks to Obamacare, which hadn't even kicked in yet.
Now, I have coverage for the rest of my days, so long as Paul Ryan and Company don't have their way. And that's where this becomes a winning ticket for the Dems.
Every single House Republican voted to scrap Medicare and replace it with a voucher system. Every damn last one of them. They call it entitlement reform. They can call it a free lunch for orphans, for all I care. They're talking about dismantling the Medicare system and replacing it with insurance companies, a voucher subsidy to buy your insurance and then allowing you to fight with them of get the insurance companies to pay your bills. And maybe they'll throw in a coupon for a cup of coffee at Dunkin' Donuts.
But the first of every month, another 300,000 Baby Boomers hit 65. Many of them have struggled to pay for or maintain coverage. Now, like me, they have it. And when they hear that their GOP congressman has voted to dismantle Medicare, they're not going to think too kindly of that. After all, they bought this coverage during their working years. It's bought and paid for.
Medicare is the Achilles' heel of every single House Republican. And you can have my Medicare card, Paul Ryan, when you pry my cold, dead fingers off of it.