Cody works for a law firm that offers nary a single benefit besides a salary.

We do not have life insurance, we do not have health insurance, we do not have a retirement fund.

After last night not only do we still not have health insurance, we now get to pay a penalty for not having health insurance.

It’s easy to get caught up in entitlement.

Cody is an attorney, he does have a salary and a job, something to be very thankful for in this economy and in the state of Indiana in particular.

So this round of health care reform didn’t go so well for a lot of us. But it did go well for a lot of other people. I am going to be happy for them and work to make sure my turn to be considered is next.

This is turning people ugly. It’s setting off feelings of entitlement.

I’d love to march into Cody’s office and ask if they like having more than one child. Tell them that I’d love to have a second one but because they’re too busy keeping their fists wrapped tight around all their money and not providing something as common sense as health care…

It’s easy to get caught up in the drama of it all.

We’re okay. We’re healthy. We have a future together and we have each other.

We have a roof over our heads and every Sunday we get to go to the church we want to go to, sing the songs we choose to sing and pray the way we want to pray.

I can write all of this because I have an American right to.

Cody chose to become a lawyer. He chose to go to school and with school came student loans.

There’s people out there who get what a difficult situation this is, choosing to gain higher education and with it gain higher student loans.

There’s others who think that as soon as you get your diploma you also get a really awesome life and a six figure salary.

I’m sick of being pitted against other people playing the “I deserve this because I…” game.

I’m guilty of playing it.

Yelling at each other and making snide passive aggressive comments isn’t going to get us anywhere good. It never has before and it certainly won’t now.

Being happy for each other when things go right and helping each other out when things go wrong because we’re human and we’re all in this together will take us farther as a society than any bill in Washington ever could.

Comments

  1. PB and Jazz says:

    Well said. I agree with you. Thanks for saying what I wasn’t quite sure how to say.

  2. With all the mud-slinging, and name-calling, and junk being said everywhere today, this is refreshing. I hate that you & your family (an others that I know) don’t have insurance. I’ve been there and it’s scary. It’s why I keep working at a job I don’t really like…because three of the four of us have serious health ‘issues’ that would keep us from being able to afford private health insurance. Thank you for the reminder to keep it all in perspective.
    Unrelated – I am trying to figure out how I can do the MOD walk with you. Go, Go schedule rearranging.

    Casey Reply:

    @Sunshine, Yes yes! Work out schedule!
    And I must say that even though we don’t have insurance and I would really like it, I’m even more worried for those who need it yet aren’t getting it.
    What a horrible unneeded stress for so many families in this day and age.

  3. I had no idea Cody isn’t getting a SINGLE benefit. That’s. . .that’s blowing my mind right now actually.

    I know nothing of your financial situation or how the new bill relates to you, but is independant insurance out of the question? Is it because it’s too expensive or that damned ‘pre-existing condition’ crap?

    I’m so sorry. I really hope this is one huge step in the right direction, for EVERYONE.

    Casey Reply:

    @samantha jo campen, If we didn’t have student loans to repay we could do some form of private insurance more easily.
    We just have that tricky decision to make, put extra money in savings, towards principle on school loans or the house or insurance?
    Obviously all four would be divine, but it’s just not the case for our first year.

  4. When the dust finally settles around all of this, I think Americans will see the wisdom of what has been done. And also the folly. Wisdom – because it shouldn’t BE that you can lose everything if you get sick – or are involved in an accident. This goes a long way toward solving that problem. Folly – because any good idea that comes to the fore is watered down by the practice of compromise – some people call it an ‘Art’ – I call it ‘an exercise in terror’. Imagine, if you will, that you needed heart surgery, but two competing doctors needed to approve the surgery. Would you be willing to accept a compromise position on just what level of surgery was going to be performed – because both physicians want to see the other fail?

    Our ‘physicians’ have compromised. We’ll have to see how we wind up doing.

    Casey Reply:

    @lceel, In the mean time I’ll be eating a lot of Cheerios and jogging around the block to keep the ol’ ticker out of their hands.

  5. Right on.

    Now march into Cody’s office and demand health insurance. Heh. (Like srsly wth? Even where my husband started – a 3 person firm – they gave us health insurance.)

    Casey Reply:

    @VDog, I believe me I want to, but there’s so many attorneys out here willing to work for just a salary and no benefits it’s best if I keep my strong opinions to myself.

  6. Thank, thank, thank you for such a sensitive, thoughtful post on the health care bill. If only all our politicians could dialogue about the subject as gracefully as you do.

    Casey Reply:

    @Sarah M., Gosh, thanks.
    For some reason I’ve never really seen a politician involved in this whole thing to exude sensitivity or grace.

    I’m telling you, drama ruins everything.

  7. I <3 you.
    I had no idea y'all were without those benefits.

  8. That’s just it. The politicians can’t and won’t dialogue. I am most frustrated by the fact that our elected officials act like children and will not listen to each other.

    lceel- right on. Well said. I want to quote you because you say it much more eloquently than I ever could. I am ruled by my emotions and cannot say what I’m feeling without getting a little overwrought. You’ve said beautifully.

    Casey- I cannot imagine how a firm cannot offer benefits! One would imagine that a lawyer in a firm would get benefits. I’m sorry.

    Casey Reply:

    @Mim, Yeah, you’d think it comes with the territory. But alas.
    And lceel? He needs to be president.

  9. Well, on the plus side for you guys, when you *do* try to get insurance (and hopefully before 2014 when the fines start for families making more than $88K) you won’t be denied coverage because of depression. Righto? Cool deal on that front. We work for a big company and easily pay in $3K a year for our health insurance. I think it’s worth it and we would happily contribute additionally to benefits for everyone–but this bill won’t ask our income group to do so. (Call me socialist.)

    /soapbox

    (You guys need to get life insurance if you don’t have it!!)

    xo

    Casey Reply:

    @Must Be Motherhood, We’re just all soooo different. Trying to keep everybody happy is not possible. But maybe attempting to keep everybody healthy is more realistic?
    Yeah. I know. I’m a dreamer.

  10. FYI: You still have the *ability* to refuse to buy health insurance. There’s good evidence that should you choose to refuse to buy health insurance, that the government will be unable to make you pay the fine/tax:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2247580/

    Casey Reply:

    @Robby Slaughter, But I want health insurance!
    It sound so wrong to want it so bad but will maybe have to refuse to purchase it.
    Stupid.
    Final (albeit immature) answer.

  11. Also, keep in mind that the way the bill is written, his firm may be fined for not offering health insurance, so the pressure on them may come from outside rather than within. So, that might be good news, too.

    Casey Reply:

    @Beth, I think the pressure should come from me staring awkwardly at the partners, twitching every once in a while.
    Think it would work?

    Mindy Reply:

    @Casey,
    I think that’s a good start. And holy cow, how you don’t have insurance blows my mind. Hope you fall into lots of money soon (and everyone else). :)

  12. Health care proposals are notoriously unpopular when passed, but very popular when enacted.

    No one knows for sure how this will shake out. Let us all hope that it is for the best not just for those of us who wanted it, but for those , like you, who don’t have health insurance, but might want it.

    Casey Reply:

    @jonniker, All I really hope at this point is that it really will help those who this will be benefiting this time around.

    The wrinkles in our situation will work out eventually (job change being most likely,) I wish it could be sooner and easier, but that’s just not the case for us.

  13. I thought I read that businesses had to pay the penalty for not offering health insurance… YOU have to pay it??

    It’s so tough when certain people benefit from and certain people are hurt by legislation. Sometimes it seems like we can’t ever really win. I applaud your great attitude about it all.

    Casey Reply:

    @Lauryn, Right now the fine stands at 2.5% of income or $695.
    Sweet huh?

    Kate (kakaty) Reply:

    @Casey,

    Actually right now it stands at $95, or up to 1 percent of income, whichever is greater, and rise to $695, or 2.5 percent of income, by 2016. And it doesn’t go into affect until 2014.

    And companies with more than 50 employees that do not offer coverage would have to pay a fee of up to $2,000 per full- time employee.

    Casey Reply:

    @Kate (kakaty), You kids are so smart these days. Thanks for clarifying.
    Cody’s firm is only 12 employees so the hilarity marches on.
    Hopefully by 2014 someone will have found a way to harness rainbows as a means of healing and wellness.

  14. Obviously it’s ridiculous that Cody’s firm does not offer benefits. It makes me sick.

    Under the new plan, you should be able to purchase insurance independently through the markets/exchanges that would be more affordable than independent plans that currently exist. I know it doesn’t make much difference to you right now while you are uninsured, but when you do have coverage, it will be a huge blessing to not face annual or lifetime maximums or be denied for any conditions.

    My biggest complaint about the new bill is that it doesn’t go far enough. There are too many hardworking families still caught in the gap.

    Casey Reply:

    @Law School Wife, I completely agree in the long run about pre existing conditions and lifetime maximums (Speaking as someone with depression and high risk pregnancies.)
    And yes, hopefully the cost will come down enough that the benefit of paying for insurance will far outweigh the madness of it all.
    Or maybe a horse head in Cody’s office will suffice…
    (I KID!)

  15. I feel your pain. I work at a law firm (as a legal secretary) that does not offer a single benefit besides a salary. My husband works at a small office which also does not offer insurance.

    I guess we have to be happy that we have salaries…but yeah it would be nice to start trying to have a baby…Okay, I think I’m done complaining. For now.

    Casey Reply:

    @Kelli, I hate that after all we have been through to try and get another little person into our family we can’t.
    Well, we could.

    But it would be irresponsible to try and take on the cost of pregnancy and birth on ourselves.

    Stinks to be responsible enough to love a baby, but not be able to get it here in the first place.

    That’s a whole other post right there though…

    Mindy Reply:

    @Casey,
    that just breaks my heart.

  16. I agree that something needed to be done to improve things for certain individuals. However, I disagree that the methods and what’s proposed in this bill are the appropriate measures. What if we just left everyone else who has insurance alone, and took some money (much less than the trillions this will cost) and offset the costs for basic healthcare for the uninsured? You still have the question of the “uninsurable”. I need to work on my own blog post to organize my thoughts and feelings towards this issue.

    Casey Reply:

    @Bnpositive, I don’t agree with all of it either, nor do I disagree with all of it and where it could lead us in the future.

    I would just hope people right now would stop being jerks to each other about it. It’s not worth it.

    And for the people who are benefiting? I hope that they really do get taken care of and that they appreciate what’s been done.

  17. I saw a lot of smack-talking on Twitter last night, and although I didn’t watch the vote and am less informed on the whole thing than I should be, I have to agree with you. As a society and a country, we should be looking out for and helping each other.

    However, I have to admit that I’m still a little bitter toward our current system; I hate that some people don’t have health insurance. My boyfriend Mike, like Cody, doesn’t get benefits with his job. Only managers can get benefits, which I think is completely unfair. Mike needs health care but can’t afford it. He has a few health problems that could easily be taken care of if he had health insurance. It makes me so sad, and makes me want to work even harder so that we can have a future where we and our future children have the insurance we need so that we can be healthy.

    I am lucky enough to be covered under my mom’s insurance until I’m 26, but then what? I’m weaning myself off of a part-time job so that I can be self-employed full time, and I know that it’s expensive to pay for your own insurance. But I am grateful for the coverage that will last me another four years and change, and I am glad that many other people will get the same coverage. I’m grateful that I have insurance because I would otherwise be screwed, as I have my own health problems which are as yet undiagnosed and are pretty serious at times.

    I look at this bill as a first step, and hope that people who are not as fortunate as me — well, my mom, actually — will get their turn next.

    Casey Reply:

    @Elizabeth Kaylene, Yeah, twitter was an ugly place to be last night.

    I too have things that could be fixed/prevented with the simplest of insurance but with the way it’s all set up it’s just not feasible.

    I think that’s the case for a lot of people sadly.

  18. My father was a partner at a small firm who didn’t offer insurance because he (dad) has MS. THE ENTIRE FIRM was denied insurance because of his pre-existing condition. Hopefully this bill will make it possible for firms like Cody’s (and dad’s) to help everyone.
    I feel your pain, Casey. I was unable to have insurance for many years because of my asthma, while re-paying hubby’s graduate degrees. I’m covered by my husband’s company now, but we pay a buttload (is that one word? is it a word at all? it should be) every paycheck.
    Sigh.

    Casey Reply:

    @Lizzy, Dude.
    My wrong meter is so loud I can’t even hear myself think.
    And yes, buttload is completely appropriate in this case.

  19. I feel for you because for me, not having health or life insurance would prevent me from getting any sleep at all (I have work-sponsored health, and self-paid life). I also can’t believe his firm doesn’t offer any benefits. That’s just insane.

    Luckily for you guys, the fine doesn’t start until 2014, when the exchanges are made available for those who make too much for Medicare and don’t have work-sponsored insurance. And the idea is the $2000 per-person fine to employers will spur them to get their act together and offer insurance. Hopefully by 2014 he’ll be at a more worker friendly firm or they will add insurance plans.

    I am happy that this legislation passed, even though I have very good (albeit very expensive) insurance right now and I won’t benefit from it – I may even lose a bit. The elimination of pre-existing clauses makes me smile. So does more regulation on the insurance industry. I’ve known too many people who have been financially ruined because of an illness or injury – some with insurance and some without.

    Casey Reply:

    @Kate (kakaty), Agreed.
    The whole pre existing thing, from the very beginning of time, is stupidity at its finest.

    I guess I’ve always gone on the hope that if something did go wrong, at least there are doctors in the first place, within 10 minutes of my front door no less.

    I’m all about the silver linings.

  20. Thank you for articulating what I’ve been unable to say. I hope that someday we can just all be NICE to each other, even when things aren’t going the way I want or you want.

    Casey Reply:

    @Senora H-B, It starts with us Senora.
    A few dozen cupcakes to pass out to strangers along the way wouldn’t hurt either.

    Senora H-B Reply:

    @Casey, Now you know you’ve made me crave cupcakes, right? But yes, it’s true.

  21. I appreciate how very civil you are. A lot.

    It rather blows my mind that Cody’s job doesn’t offer health insurance. Seriously. I work for a small company (about twelve full-time empoyees), and we have insurance. It’s not really great insurance, but it’s better than nothing. Here’s hoping that Cody’s bosses stop being such tight-fisted jerks.

    Casey Reply:

    @Sherry, I learned last night that apparently one of the partners reads my blog.
    Uh, HEY DUDE! Insurance please! kthx!

  22. Grace always wins. Thanks for sharing!

    Casey Reply:

    @deanna, Grace and chocolate.

  23. I really like this. It seems to exude peace.
    I used to get caught up in being worried about all of this stuff, then I realized I wasn’t having much faith. God will get us through anything.

    Casey Reply:

    @Annis, Word.
    And thanks for saying it exudes peace, I was worried it exuded passive aggressive.
    The written word is so tricky.

  24. Thank you for speaking so calmly and graciously. It really is too bad that those we elect have forgotten this skill, and instead opted for back room deals and name calling. I really hope things look up for your family in this area soon.
    And I hope that somehow we as citizens find a way to have a meaningful discourse, and then refuse to (re)elect those who will not. That’s what a democracy is about, right? :)

    Casey Reply:

    @Sara Joy Calm and gracious as political attributes? When I imagine such a thing I also envision the entire senate on the lawn dressed in white linen eating grapes and cheese.
    Odd.

  25. This post is exactly why I love to read your blog and proudly tell people so.
    Thank you for just being you.

    Casey Reply:

    @Kat, Aw shucks, thanks.

  26. Amen, sister!! I am so sick of all the harsh rhetoric on both sides!

    Casey Reply:

    @Barb @ getupandplay, And you actually breathe the same air as politicians.
    Ten gold stars to you.

  27. Wow! We have a lot in common. I am also grateful my husband has a job. He’s a doctor. We also have no health insurance from his employer but have to purchase our own. Last summer our rate jumped $100 a month from the previous year. I’m expecting it will be increasing again soon. That doesn’t count the high deductible we have to pay before getting any benefit. Again the dreams of what might be after lots of schooling didn’t include those nasty student loans – I think we owe more than your mortgage! – or the $11,000 we paid last year just to have a baby. I agree and I’m glad many will be covered – we benefited from health programs when we were poor students and I’m glad there was help then. I am concerned about how we’re going to pay for it as a country since we currently have to pass emergency funding bills just to pay for medicare. .

    Casey Reply:

    @Vickie, Your husband is a doctor and you don’t have health insurance?
    Irony is delicious isn’t it?
    Our student loans are twice as much as our mortgage. *sad face*
    But my husband’s all smart and stuff.

  28. Thank you for such a well written,thoughtful, peace-filled post.

    Casey Reply:

    @Kim, Aw, thanks! I would have filled it with jellybeans too but that technology isn’t around yet.

  29. Wow.

    Up here, even though we have coverage through the government for many health care costs, most full time professionals have extended coverage for the stuff the government doesn’t cover (like dental or vision care).

    I don’t understand how this is health care reform if people without health care before the bill still lack it afterward.

    Casey Reply:

    @SciFi Dad, Join me in the giant head shakes dude. Now add in a shoulder shrug.
    Yep, you’re right where I am.

  30. Well said!

    Casey Reply:

    @dusty earth mother, thank you!

  31. Nicely put! Makes me glad I live north of the border! I don’t know what the solution is but hopefully there is one that can satisfy most (and stop denying coverage to pregnant women — which always appalls me). I am so thankful to Tommy Douglas and his foresight — my country and my life wouldn’t be the same without it.

    If Cody’s firm doesn’t get health insurance, you can always move North — Cody would have to retake the bar (not sure if you want to live through that again) :) I do have two extra bed rooms and I know where the nearest LDS church is…I am sure we could work out some kind of cook for board exchange :)

    Casey Reply:

    @Kari, That is so tempting on so many levels.

  32. Thank you thank you thank you. I just wrote a similar post only from the other side. We teach our children good sportsmanship. Yet when it comes to politics, all bets are off. It’s not right

    Casey Reply:

    @Dawn, I started this post written to Addie, about feelings of entitlement. Then I realized she’s five and it’s the grownups (including me) that are being such pimpleheads about it.

  33. Well said, my friend!

    Casey Reply:

    @Candace, Aw thanks, here, let me get that rash for you.

  34. The really nasty reality is that those student loans don’t go away even after your chronic illnesses disabled you. So I’m in the opposite position. I get Medicare and Social Security Disability, but no more salary as a government lawyer. And you know I was living it up on that! I wish I’d had a better idea what my life was going to look like before I took out $60k in student loans to go to a state law school.

    Casey Reply:

    @Diana Lee, Dude, student loans don’t even go away after you die as long as you left somebody behind.
    We’re saving up for Addie’s school now, well, school or therapy.
    She can choose.

  35. AMEN to this:

    “Being happy for each other when things go right and helping each other out when things go wrong because we’re human and we’re all in this together will take us farther as a society than any bill in Washington ever could.”

    I really don’t get all the negativity… why can’t we all support eacho ther, and focus on the positive etc? It would be such a better world.

    Casey Reply:

    @Rachael, Because it’s fun to one up people with your misery!
    Oh…wait…

  36. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for sharing your situation. I work on health care policy and have been waiting for this day for a really long time. The bill is far from perfect, but it is a huge first step. I hate that in this country people have to choose between paying off student loans or getting health insurance. Shame on your husband’s company for not offering health insurance. I think it’s horrible. I’m hopeful that you’ll be able to afford insurance soon – it’s critically important should something unforeseen happen (i.e. an accident or an illness). I did want to let you know about community health centers, which are required by law to treat anyone, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. There are several in Indiana. Just something to consider if anyone in your family gets sick — much more affordable than a trip to the ER…

    Casey Reply:

    @Stephanie, Yeah, like I said in a comment above, I know that if something did happen to us, we wouldn’t die.
    Because we *do* have doctors within ten minutes of our front door.
    A lot of people in this world don’t even have that blessing.
    I’d rather it not happen, but I know if it did we’d be okay.
    Faith in God is cool like that.

  37. Casey, my husband is an attorney also, just practicing a little over one year. Isn’t it amazing at the amount of people who think that just because they are lawyers we are filthy rich?! HA! Hopefully one day, right?

    Not having health care sucks, we have been there, and I do think everyone deserves it. But this is going to blow up in our faces.

  38. I don’t see why the company can’t offer voluntary health insurance. You would still pay for all of it, but it would be cheaper than buying your own.

  39. Elisabeth says:

    Maybe someone else told you this already, and maybe this isn’t the hopeful type of comment you’re used to, but having health insurance through your workplace is relatively new. I learned this about 10 years ago in high school, and it has helped me deal with the “health care crisis” mentally and emotionally to know the why’s…maybe it will help you, too. It all started right after WWII, when business needed a way to lure workers in who were returning from war. Back then, there weren’t enough workers to go around (unlike now, where there aren’t enough jobs to go around). They figured that a good way to get and keep workers without raising salaries too much was to give them health insurance as an incentive. If you think about health insurance, its a big pool that people dump their money into. It works if less people are using it than there are people contributing. Businesses liked this idea, because unlike doling out a higher wage regularly, they would only pay for those who became sick periodically, which kept their expenditures down while still luring workers into a competitive market. So modern healthcare was essentially just a gimmick. And you’re right, people do feel entitled to something they’ve always had and have grown to see as the norm. But once you learn the background of it, it all starts to make a little more sense. It wasn’t meant to be the American way of life, or a guarantee of health as one of our country’s freedoms, and it had nothing to do with our government trying to take care of its people in a great new way. It was a business plan. I don’t have an answer to your health care woes, or even mine, but I do think being educated on the origins of health insurance helps. If we understand that our former health insurance program just may not work anymore because the market is different than it was back then, perhaps we will begin to open our minds to another way that is more feasible. It isn’t about who deserves it more than another, or who is more entitled, it is about finding a solution.