I’m 52 years old. Understand that I don’t usually like to reveal my age, but this is such an important issue that I’m willing to give it up and reveal my driver’s license, birth certificate and wrinkle cream.
Health insurance is a big deal for me. My first husband died of cancer at 34. Thankfully, he was a General Motors employee. One weekend of at-home care was billed at over $14,000. We paid nothing. Every week, his prescriptions totaled nearly $1,000. We paid $3 per prescription. Every time he went into the hospital, we looked at each other and said, “How do people do this who don’t have good health insurance?” The answer, of course, is they don’t.
So, that experience at a tender age marked me. I remember the panic I felt when I lost that great insurance because I married again. As two self-employed people, finding good coverage was almost impossible. Affording to keep that coverage became more difficult as the years wore on. Crossing the 50 barrier made this even scarier.
So, I’ve been living for 65. If I can just make it to 65, I’ll qualify for Medicare! I’ll add on a supplemental policy, and life will be secure in my older years. For years, I’ve appreciated the coverage my parents had under the system. Because of this protection, they are not eating into their assets to cover healthcare. Because of this protection, my siblings and I are not eating into OUR assets to cover their bills in old age.
Now comes the Ryan Path to Prosperity Plan. Did I mention that I’m 52? Apparently, under the plan, if you’re 55 or older, you win the lottery. For the rest of us, tough luck! Don’t get me wrong. I’m as concerned as anyone about long-term deficits. I expected to have a serious conversation about the viability of the system. I didn’t expect to witness the total dismantling of the system. I’m willing to pony up a bit more to keep Medicare intact. I’m also willing to make hard decisions about the limits of this coverage.
What I’m NOT willing to do is to give up Medicare just because I was born three years too late!