Um.... what's that you say? You need one more drink of water? You forgot to brush your teeth? You didn't do your homework? You're stoned? Well.... never mind. You can stay up just a few more minutes, but only until April, mind you! And no more excuses after that. I really mean it this time.
Another day, another Obamacare deadline extension in the ever-shifting sand. Another day to shop till you drop within the nightmare maze of the virtual predatory insurance marketplace, ignoring the grim reality that destitution is only a paycheck away. I mean that quite literally. Nearly half of us have so few liquid assets that coming up with the first premium -- and worst case scenario, having to come up with the first co-pay and deductible -- will absolutely wipe out our checking accounts.
But anyway, join the 6 million (out of more than 48 million uninsured) of your fellow citizens who reportedly have signed up so far, and try wending your way through the O-Care Funhouse in the Mall of America. As the lottery commercial says, you gotta be in it to win it. You gotta "sign up" -- that is, enter for a chance to win:
|(graphic courtesy Kaiser Health News)|
To accommodate the alleged last minute crush of contestants, the Obama administration, all the while screeching that "America Needs a Raise" has just added one more passive-aggressive layer of sludge to the incomprehensible kludge known as Obamacare. From the Washington Post:
Federal health officials say March 31 is still the deadline for enrolling in health coverage and that they're only making sure anyone who tried to apply by the deadline can get coverage.... The Obama administration has been adamant that the latest enrollment announcement isn't a deadline extension.If you made an honest effort to go up to your room, but tripped or passed out on the rickety stairs, you will not be punished. We'll pretend that you made a good faith effort to comply with our curfew. Your trip to the woodshed will be delayed because otherwise we'd look like ineffectual meanies instead of simply ineffectual.
CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services_ is going with the honor system. People submitting their applications on HealthCare.gov or through a call center after March 31 "attest" that they had trouble enrolling before the deadline.
So, will CMS make any effort to verify a person's attestation? CMS spokeswoman Julie Bataille fielded that question multiple times during a Wednesday afternoon press call before she was eventually asked straight up whether the agency is relying on the honor system. Her response: pretty much, but people don't like lying to the governmentAre you kidding me? Lying to parents and other authority figures to save their own hides is an essential survival skill learned early in life by all normal people. That whole George Washington and the cherry tree tale is a big fat scam to instill guilt into little liars. Humans lie because they want to protect their butts. Politicians, of all people, should realize this. As it is, there are so many winks and nods breaking out in the Beltway that platinum Obamacare coverage for treating elite puffy eyelids and stiff necks can't come soon enough.
Oh,and there has been such a surge of pliable little citizens rushing to comply with Lights Out that a totally unexpected gridlock of bodies is occurring in the virtual queue. Ergo, CMS is providing a "window of opportunity" within the Mall Maze for the folks to jump through in order to comply with the curfew rules. This, no doubt, is at the top of the "ladder of opportunity" envisioned by Obama to span the income chasm and lift people out of poverty through the magic of their grit, determination, and bootstraps.
Surge, my butt. Six out of ten Americans didn't even know about the March 31 deadline, according to a recent poll, and half of them (coincidentally, the same segment teetering on the brink of poverty) say they plan to stay uninsured.
In the past six months, 33 percent of the uninsured said they tried to obtain health coverage, either through an exchange (18 percent), Medicaid (14 percent) or directly from an insurer (13 percent). The poll didn’t say what prevented them from getting coverage.Maybe because the pollsters didn't bother asking them? How about that whole "we ain't got no jobs, we ain't got no money!"impediment to a shopping spree in the virtual insurance predator marketplace? How about the fact that quite a few people are hesitating to sign up for coverage for fear that their undocumented family member would be deported?
What a totally preventable mess. What a monument to neoliberal greed and political malpractice -- all so that a relatively small percentage of the uninsured can get partial subsidies for their medical needs. Had our political leaders followed the will of the majority back in 2009, when Obama had majorities in both Houses, everybody in America would have had a Medicare card in their ever-thinning wallets by now. The Democrats would not be fretting over their diminished re-election chances. The Tea Party might never have seized power in the first place. The phrase "death panel" would be permanently stuck in Sarah Palin's craw.
Physicians for a National Health Program estimate a Medicare for All plan would save the American people $350 billion in the first year of implementation, not to mention untold thousands of lives and millions from the specter of bankruptcy and depression and preventable illnesses. The proposal (HR 676) would actually expand upon and improve the current Medicare program by eliminating co-pays and deductibles. It would be financed through progressive taxation and not be means-tested.
Do you have a pounding headache? Is your chronic fatigue the result of an O-Care murketing campaign hangover? If so, here's a refreshing video antidote.
No shopping is necessary. No paper, plastic, bronze, silver, platinum or gold is required. Everybody's in, nobody's out. Because health care should be a right, not a neoliberal lottery.