The best is enemy of the good.
The profoundest truths are paradoxical.
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
The Psycho-Social Liberation Of Obamacare: Enrollees Now Free To Pursue Dream
Mike Smith, of Long Beach, Calif., now pays $200 for his family's health insurance policy, compared with the $3,000 a month he would have had to pay on the individual market last year.
Alan: Some large minority if not a majority of Americans are too obtuse to see the tremendous liberation afforded by Obamacare. Finally tens of millions of America's most creative people are liberated from employer provided healthcare to dedicate themselves to the realization of their personal genius. Such liberation is central to the work of democratic governments and I will go to my grave applauding Obama for this extraordinary achievement, an accomplishment that has eluded American presidents since Teddy Roosevelt first suggested universal healthcare in 1912. Although Obamacare is an ugly political sausage, it is The Milestone from which permanent movement in the direction of socialized capitalism will take place. It also bears mention that if Obama had rammed single-payer down the nation's throat he would have lost the 2012 election and the GOP would have repealed Obamacare. Now, thanks to Obama's political genius and/or political determination, there is no going back, only going forward.
Until recently, Mike Smith, 64, of Long Beach, Calif., worked 11 hours a day, Monday through Friday and then half a day on Saturday. He was a district manager for a national auto parts chain.
He dreamed of retiring early, but it wasn't an option for him because he and his wife relied on the health insurance tied to his job.
"At our age, with some pre-existing medical conditions, it would have been very costly to buy insurance on the open market — about $3,000 a month," he says.
Mike and Laura Smith
Stephanie O'Neill for NPR
But the Affordable Care Act changed that. Smith retired in January. So did his wife, Laura, also 64.
The couple now has a private health insurance policy bought through Covered California, the state's insurance marketplace. It costs $200 a month.
The coverage helped the Smiths make a major lifestyle change. Just after noon on a recent weekday, Mike is at their Long Beach home, cooking lunch.
"We've got organic shallots, organic Brussels sprouts and organic apple cider vinegar," he says, stirring the ingredients with a wooden spoon. "I love the smell of the shallots, don't you?"
Smith says he's now also able to take care of his elderly in-laws and his 2-year-old grandchild. He gets to practice his guitar more often, too.
A recent study by Georgetown University and the Urban Institute predicts the ACA will enable up to 1.5 million Americans to leave their jobs and become self-employed, start new businesses or retire early. It's a finding that runs counter toforecasts by critics of the federal health law, who contend it will cost the nation jobs and cripple America's small-business economy.
It will take years to know how the health law will change the work landscape in a broad sense, but already the law has changed life for Rebecca Murray.
Tim Williams and Rebecca Murray, of Chicago, with their daughter, Margaret (Mugs) Williams