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Dear John McCain

Thanks for destroying my family’s ability to pay for health insurance

Tina Trent author image / /   14 Comments

I’m no financial expert. But I’m one heck of a well-informed consumer. And as a former healthcare lobbyist and someone who worked several jobs serving poor, disabled, immigrant, and underclass populations, I also know a lot about the many, many ways we deliver medical care to people who can’t afford to pay for it.

The insurance marketplace was no paradise before President Obama meddled in it. Our system was hardly perfect. But contrary to the hateful and ignorant claims of poverty pimp journalists, leftist pundits, all of Europe, pretty much everyone I went to college with, and everyone I met in graduate school, poor people were not deprived of access to medical care before Obamacare, nor will they be if congressional Republicans ever manage to spontaneously grow a spine and repeal it.

In fact, before Obamacare, the vast majority of people who chose to live off taxpayers rather than pay their own bills had better access to better healthcare than financially strapped people who at least tried to pay their own bills. If leftists ever bothered to claw through the cocoon of sanctimonious dribble excreted by American correspondents for the Guardian and other anti-American, Euro-trash Marxist poverty porn, they would quickly learn, as I did, that the professional dependency classes had healthcare that was as good as that of middle-class people with insurance who actually paid for that insurance with, you know, jobs.

The same is true now. And the same will continue to be true if and when Obamacare is repealed, because these people may not be willing to work for a living but they sure are willing to work like hell to make sure their benefits don’t go away – and they have an army of overeducated idiots and paid-off politicians to ensure that they’re right.

After about five minutes on the job, many a social worker has had the epiphany that the people they’re “serving” are knowingly, and expertly, playing the system, no matter how intellectually ineffective they may be in other ways. It’s interesting (in the way slow-motion videos of car accidents are interesting) to watch said social workers decide whether to stop lying about the realities of the dependency classes and go earn a living elsewhere or keep lying in order to keep their jobs in order to pay off the $50,000 in student loans they racked up for that Master of Social Work degree.

But what, one might ask, about the effect of repealing Obamacare on people with chronic illnesses or disabilities or cancer? Poor people – working and not – with chronic or severe illnesses were and are and will continue to be served by the disability system. And this system would work far better for the genuinely disabled and genuinely chronically ill if we would do just one thing: get the liars and slackers out of it, particularly those with vague psychological diagnoses like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or depression or “the bipolar” who are flooding the disability courts and disability rolls with the support of Democratic politicians and self-serving psychiatrists. See here and here for some compelling arguments by medical practitioners about the relatively recent and widespread misuse of disability and SSI.

In fact, if you can find it, I recommend reading widely in the now-defunct blog called The Last Psychiatrist: the blog’s crabby, contrary anonymous author has a must-read article called “The Terrible, Awful Truth About Supplemental Security Income” that for the time being is available here. This post says things about disability coverage that nobody could survive saying in Congress, but that ought to be said every single day, but won’t ever be said there, not even once. (Editor’s note: To preserve the article for posterity, Bombthrowers is making a PDF file of the article available here.)

Obamacare was supposed to be an especially big help for the people who do have jobs but don’t earn much and can’t afford health insurance but don’t want to game the system like all the welfare frauds out there. Unfortunately, once it was implemented, Obamacare turned out to be nothing more than another game on the system, and like other games on the system, the benefits immediately gravitated directly to the welfare frauds and to other people such as graduate students and hipsters who want to work as part-time yoga instructors while living in Brooklyn and writing novels while their boring friends from college pick up extra hours at the widget factory to pay for their birth control.

And make no mistake about it: these type of people believe it is their God-given right to make us pay for their birth control, even though the birth control they think they should not be forced to pay for costs less than the price of one of the sustainably-sourced organic cold-drip lattes they need to stay awake through the incredibly draining intentionality of their days.

It was a pretty swift move, I have to admit, to market Obamacare in ways that would enable hipsters to imagine that their lives were actually like the lives of the underclass they try so hard to emulate. Thanks to Obamacare, or rather, efforts to repeal it, flâneurs with anthropology degrees from Oberlin can now wander around pretending they are being threatened with oppression – the gold ring of leftist authenticity – without having to engage in overly tedious transformations of their sexual identities or having babies and then engaging in tax fraud by refusing to get child support from the fathers.

Meanwhile, for the real working poor and working class – the aspirational, two-parent families earning more than $45,000 a year but not much more – Obamacare turned out to be so expensive that it is just another giant raspberry blown in their direction by politicians who, of course, exclude themselves from it. For the novel-writing barista who can conceal a good bit of her tip-based salary, or the aging graduate student taking time off from reading Foucault to protest the World Trade Organization, or the intentionally unmarried welfare mom whose household definitely includes the father of one of her children (who works under the table for all the goodies they want while the rest of us pay their cable bill), Obamacare is an unalloyed good thing. But nobody else can afford it, except people whose incomes enable them to stay away from the underclass or profit from their existence, plus the rich.

My husband and I are pretty typical examples of the millions of hard-working, middle-class people who have been hit the hardest by Obamacare. Before Obamacare, the health insurance we bought on the private market cost approximately $400 a month for the two of us. We had high deductibles – at least they seemed high then – and we paid out of pocket for virtually all of our healthcare.  Being self-employed and relatively healthy, this seemed like a good plan – we had what amounted to catastrophic care insurance.

We also still paid (and pay) a great deal in taxes for other people’s healthcare. This point has been lost in the debate over healthcare, and it shouldn’t be: that 13.9 percent coming off the top of every penny we earn is money that pays for other people’s healthcare. I refuse to stoop to the verbal idiocy that dictates that Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare withholdings are not taxes: they are taxes. And so, on top of taking care of ourselves by buying private health insurance and shouldering the cost of medical expenses not covered by our insurance, we were then, are now, and will continue to be paying for everyone on those programs.

Only, now, a mere three years after the implementation of Obamacare, the cheapest insurance we can find is more than $1,200 a month for the two of us, and somehow, it has higher deductibles than the $400 a month catastrophic care insurance we used to buy. Every year since 2014, the insurance available to us has also phased out more of the few items that were previously covered, and the physician lists have shrunk. So now, if one of us becomes ill, we will have to pay out a minimum of $20,800 in premiums and deductibles before the insurance pays for anything. If both of us were to suffer an accident or become ill, our out-of-pocket expenses would rise to $27,200. Per year. After paying 13.9 percent in taxes for other people’s health care.

You don’t need to be Paul Krugman stumbling back from the stables at one of his mansions after currycombing the show ponies while mulling over how to look less prosperous zipping past the laid-off copy editors in the parking garage under the New York Times skyscraper to realize this is, in a word, unsustainable.

And every year since Obamacare went into effect, the plan we chose was canceled, and we had to switch to another company with different doctors and hospitals, and fewer of them. It almost goes without saying that I now have to pay out of pocket for the doctor I’ve had for 20+ years, and if I become ill, or even just see him for an annual physical and other needs, anything I do spend seeing him doesn’t apply to my deductible.

Why bother even complaining anymore that the primary promise emanating from Obama’s lips was the greatest legislative lie of the 21st century?

As my husband and I wade into middle age (we’re 51), I certainly expected our health insurance rates to rise. But they have exploded more than 300 percent in three years, and our out-of-pocket costs connected to our plan are unaffordable to us. We are essentially uninsured even though we still get up in the morning and go to work to pay for our healthcare and for all the other people’s healthcare that we were already paying for before Obamacare took even more of our money in a tax that everyone pretends isn’t a tax, just like they pretend Medicaid and Medicare and Social Security aren’t taxes.

Thank you, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). Every time I can’t afford to pay to see a doctor, or my husband decides to put off medical care he needs, even though we’re literally paying tens of thousands of dollars to subsidize other people’s medical care including your medical care, I am going to remember your preening, late-night performance killing efforts to fix this ugly mess.  (Editor’s note: Here is McCain’s official statement after the vote.)

And you can sneer and hop on a jet and bask in the accolades of welfare frauds and yoga instructors and anthropology grad students and tattooed, poetry-writing professional activists and Hollywood morons and the DNC for your “courageous” stand against starting to fix this mess.

For a short while, anyway.

In This Story:

The Author

Tina Trent

Tina Trent writes about crime and policing, political radicals, social service programs, and academia. She has published several reports for America’s Survival and helped the late Larry Grathwohl release a…


  • They Did What

    I don’t agree with McCain on anything but I agree with him on this. I certainly wouldn’t want to take ownership of a disaster known as Obamacare. Obamacare Light is just as bad and if passed Republicans would take ownership of the biggest Cluster Foxtrot of the century. Total repeal is the only solution. Government doesn’t belong in healthcare any more than they belong in religion.

  • pineconeK

    McCain and Members of Congress are in such a bubble of entitlement that they no longer see or hear what the cruel hammer of Obamacare is doing to ordinary Americans. Voters elected Republicans to repeal Obamacare. Period.

    • Gary_L_Thompson

      More like comma. If voters had elected Republicans, then Obamacare would already be repealed. While Tina Trent wrote a superb article in balance, I would think that anyone who achieved the epiphany (that the people social workers are “serving” are knowingly, and expertly, playing the system) ought to be capable of still another epiphany–that those people whom they gullibly elected because they assumed the R after their name was proof they were Republican, are nothing but more liars and slackers gaming the system, infiltrating the leadership of the other party to insure their brother Democrats remain in control regardless of any backlash at the polls.

      The congressmen on the R side of the aisle don’t need to grow a spine–they need to have their spine shattered to bits, to have the voters’ rage penetrate their bubble to the extent that they collapse and stop their collaboration with the Democrat side of the aisle in blocking Obamacare repeal. Frankly, if Republicans want to save their party and their country, they need to repudiate the entire GOP establishment and expel them from the party before 2018.

      • Cathleen Wentz

        Absolutely! Sean Hannity has said that the Republicans in Congress really do not stand for anything except how to remain employed as our rulers. This latest round of nonsense is sure a great advertisement for term limits.

        I also say that we must primary every single congressional representative and senator that is up for re-election next time, and make anyone we vote for in the Republican party sign a pledge to uphold truly conservative and freedom-loving principles.

        • Gary_L_Thompson

          Maybe we should make them sign a notarized oath, so they can be prosecuted for perjury if they break it.

          • Cathleen Wentz

            Yes, that is tempting, but I have a feeling that many of these turncoats will be facing some major wrath from their constituents in primaries. We need to definitely have true conservatives run against incumbents like Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, and John McCain the next time they are up for re-election, and win. Also, recall elections are another option. I lived in California when there was a successful recall election against Gray Davis, and he lost. Of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger won, and he was not really my guy, but he was a darn sight better than Davis who was an absolute disaster!That recall election pretty much killed his political career.

          • Gary_L_Thompson

            In case you’ve forgotten, Murkowski was beaten by a true conservative, and Joe Miller is really the legitimate senator of Alaska now. Murkowski only got back in with the open help of the Republican establishment, and election officials changing the rules of counting write-in votes (in blatant defiance of the U.S. Constitutional provisions that only state legislatures can set the rules for U.S. Senate elections, except as modified by Congress). The courts and bureaucrats have been making a long-term effort to usurp control of presidential and congressional elections, so they can alter rules on the fly to get the results they want (pretty much following Joseph Stalin’s dictum that elections are decided by those who count the votes).

  • pfbonney

    “Dear John McCain”?

    McCain needs to be reading a “Dear John” letter from his constituents. The people of Arizona are holding this country back by continuing to re-elect this guy.

  • Jeff Vexler

    Ms. Trent. You are a very angry woman. Your writing style alone shows a vitriol stewing at a boil but it is your misguided attempts to appropriate Americans into tiny segments of contemptible categories that shows YOU NEED HELP. To hear you tell it, the only beneficiaries of the ACA are black and brown. How odd you didn’t mention the millions of rural, white Americans living off the taxpayer tit.

    • How odd that you read race into my description of welfare frauds.

      • ma82385

        Read and reread again. Nope. No race mentioned. Odd that those who read race into everything don’t see themselves as the ones with racist perceptions. I do agree you are angry, but not without cause. My heartfelt thanks for writing such an honest letter that every Legislator should read. Thank you!

      • Cathleen Wentz

        Yes, I don’t remember a word about race mentioned in terms of the welfare frauds. I believe that the Democrats are racists. After all, it took deal-making by Lincoln to coax the Democrats to legally abolish slavery in the 13th amendment. Additionally, the Democrat party of the south stood for segregation of black people. I think Jeff Vexler is racist and delusional.

  • Brad Gillespie

    Wow, way to go Tina! It’s just so hard to imagine, given all the liberal grief over 24 million people being tossed into the ocean if obamacare is banished, that there is someone who actually has suffered, because of it!! Can this really be? Is it possible that there are actually more people who have really all but lost their prior insurance so that the imagined 24 million now so elegantly served can visit the doctor regularly and survive in good health? Or is the lefty junk espoused by maniacal dems really just that: junk? And yes, what is it with John M? He is a piece of milktoast isn’t he? What big battle has he won as a bonafied copout on the obamacare vote? His ridiculous rant about turning off the loudmouths on the radio should really be about him plugging his mouth and doing the right thing. He was a hero once, a real super, bonafied hero during the Vietnam war, as a prisoner. But that was then, and this is now. He’s a real dud now. He was a real dud when he graciously handed Obama the election, too much of a real nice guy to ever mention Obama’s radical Marxist connections and his ugly anti American activities, and being a significant cause in the stamp of Obama on our system — making what we have right now a super big mess, especially internationally.

  • Cathleen Wentz

    I am with you all the way, Tina. My Obamacare insurer is the ONLY one available in my area, and it is a monopoly that is in collusion with a large “health care” system. But don’t even get me started on that. My Obamacare coverage has a $11,500 deductible, with supposedly a $35 copay AFTER I meet the deductible. However, I would have to be pretty sick to make it worthwhile. Recently, I was prescribed a medication for a chronic cough with wheezing I was dealing with, and the insurer told the doctor he couldn’t prescribe that even though the doctor gave me a manufacturer’s coupon that would have made the cost only $10. After endless arguments with the insurance company, during which they referred to those covered by insurance as “their patients,” (am I not the doctor’s patient?)I decided to try another round of generic Niquil for probably longer than recommended, but what the heck, I was NOT going to get the much more expensive medication that was the only one the insurance company would allow. Fortunately, the coughing and wheezing seem to have gone away for now.

    Like you, I too get up in the morning to work and try to get as little from the government as possible.

    I also agree with you about the whole birth control brouhaha. I have no idea why Sandra Fluck was paying $3,000 per year for birth control, but I can guarantee you she was NOT a very good consumer. In fact, I have learned that if I don’t use my insurance for the two maintenance medications I take, I can get a much better deal for a 90-day supply than I can with insurance, so I don’t use it.