I'm critical of Obama's presidency, but my medical emergency convinced me that for Obamacare alone we must re-elect him.
Under the influence of the painkiller Dilaudid, and dog-tired after another day of fighting for my life with my private health insurance company, I glimpsed Mitt Romney and his running-mate, Paul Ryan, entering my Los Angeles hospital room dressed in surgical gowns with scalpels in their hands ready to fatally operate on me.
It was a drug-induced hallucination, of course. But the mirage made me sit bolt upright in bed and, fully awake, start to rethink my previous, bitterly dissenting view of Barack Obama...
...Obamacare – also known as the Affordable Health Care Act – isn't medical heaven, or single payer, or anything like the "socialized" NHS that kept me well for the 30 years I lived in the UK. The new law, an obvious compromise with the corporate sickness industry, still keeps us in the hands of private insurance companies. But when the law fully kicks in for the first time, all Americans – regardless of income and "preexisting medical conditions" – must have health coverage. Individuals up to the age of 26 are covered by their parents' plan. Low-income Americans will get subsidies to help them buy insurance, and doctors and hospitals will be paid for outcomes not "procedures". Starting in 2014, insurers are forbidden to deny coverage to anyone who has no workplace – the jobless and freelancers will be able to get a government-mandated, insurance plan; indeed, they must or pay a "fine". And under the new law, "federal parity" means mental healthcare will be more accessible to more people.
Granted, that all depends on this upcoming election day. If Romney and Ryan win – the latest polls tell us this is a real possibility – they, a vengeful Republican Congress and their insurance lobby allies have sworn to sabotage healthcare-for-all. As for repeal and replace, Mitt's prescription for uninsured folks is that emergency room care is a good enough substitute:
"We do provide care for people who don't have insurance … If someone has a heart attack, they don't sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care."
Here and elsewhere, I have written bitterly attacking Obama's serial betrayals. He's no street-scrapper, our Barack. Prior to falling sick, I pined for a third-party candidate, and seriously thought about not voting. But a drug-induced vision of a Romney/Ryan medical hell changed my mind. On 6 November, I'm pulling the lever for Obama: my arrogant, self-sabotaging, drone-happy, compromise-addicted war president.
I never want to see Dr Romney in my hospital room again. Damn it, I want to live.
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