Dear President and Mrs. Obama

July 2, 2012

I’m very glad that, due to health care reform, insurers will no longer be able to drop patients who become critically ill. I’m very glad that the Medicare Gap for seniors will close, allowing them to afford prescriptions that are beyond their ability to purchase at this time. I’m delighted that sick children can no longer be turned down due to pre-existing conditions. I’m happy for the families of college students that they will be able to keep those students on family insurance plans through college and beyond. I’m very happy for all of these long-overdue reforms. I just have one question: Why do I have to pay for it?

I’m among the class that got you elected, Mr. President: The working class. You remember us, don’t you? We’re the “little people” who you promised to look out for. Better take a good look at us while you can because, thanks to the health care mandate, many of us are about to sink into that dreadful class, the Working Poor.

I’m a single working professional. I also clean offices on the weekend to make ends meet. I know when my dog’s vaccinations are due and I save up over the months in order to take him in on time. I see my doctor twice a year for high blood pressure, and I save up in advance for those visits also. I save up for my annual car registration renewal. I save up over the summer for the boots I know I’ll need every other winter. No, I don’t buy new boots every year. I save up over the winter for the sandals I know I’ll need every summer. No, I don’t buy new sandals every year. Mr. President, I have shoes in my closet that are part of my wardrobe that I purchased while you were still battling Mrs. Clinton for the candidacy. I keep my work clothes in good order; I have to because I can’t afford to replace them. I regularly wear one skirt I purchased on the clearance rack at Lane Bryant in 2006. My newest skirt is two years old.

My van is a 2009 Plymouth Voyager with over 120K miles. I paid cash for it in 2007. I have no credit cards, no TV, no smart phone. I take no vacations. I have no savings or retirement plan. I live simply and – what seems to be unheard of in this day and age – I live within my means. I read tarot cards for the little money I need to support my hobby, which is painting found pieces of wood or glassware and from which I derive exquisite enjoyment. I don’t go to the movies. I have no living room furniture because it got old and I couldn’t afford to replace it, but that’s okay. My living room is filled with bookcases and tables that were given to me and it’s quite nice, if I do say so myself. I rent a 75 year old house that has some structural issues, but I love it because I’ve made it into my home. I enjoy my life, even though I live paycheck-to-paycheck.

Why do you want to take what little I have from me? Is it because I’m too happy in my little world where I can pay my own way and where I ask for not a single dime in handouts? I guess I don’t fit the profile. I’m not on assistance and I’m not independently wealthy. Ergo, there is no glory in espousing my cause.

Health care reform mandates that I purchase insurance or pay a penalty. It will be affordable, you say. How do you know, I ask? How do you know what’s affordable to me? I’ve seen the tables. I work in accounting; I understand math better than most people. According to the calculations I’ve seen, I’m going to be required to pay up to approximately $150 a month for health care insurance. That’s a day’s lunch to you, I’m sure. That’s a month’s worth of groceries to me. “Affordable” is such a subjective word; you have no idea how it terrifies me.

Mrs. Obama, have you ever cried when you received your electric bill after a particularly hot or cold month? I have. Have you worried about Bo when he was sick and you couldn’t afford to take him to the vet? I’ve worried sick about my Slevin. Is your dog so much more important to you than mine are to me? Is Bo somehow worthy of health while my Slevin is not, simply because I didn’t marry the “right man”, or earn a scholarship to college? Is the fact that my babies are everything to me meaningless, as long as someone somewhere will get to see a doctor while me and my dogs will not? Because I can assure you, paying for mandatory health care insurance will destroy my health and the health of my companion animals (as if my health and theirs can in any way be considered separate issues) in a way that you cannot or will not understand.

One last question, but it’s rhetorical: Why is it that no matter what the issue – health care reform, foreign war, immigration, tax reform – why is it that the cost of these always falls onto the backs of we Americans who are working the hardest?

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6 Responses to “Dear President and Mrs. Obama”

  1. John H Drake Says:

    Hi Deb,
    I am saddened to hear of your sad state of destitution.
    My goodness, I had no idea things were that bad. I would be happy to sponsor you to emigrate to Canada ie Vancouver Island…even know of an accounting job just down the street.

    Strange as it may seem…we have to pay for our healthcare here as well…if we work. Most of us do. I think it has always been that the poor ride the backs of the working class.

    OH, by the way. I really (as usual) enjoyed reading your piece.
    Perhaps “Rant” is more descriptive. lol I was reminded whilst reading it.of your Rant on airport security enforcement which was instituted a few years back. You write damn good stuff.!!

    Keep up the good work etc…still haven’t gotten a copy of
    “The Glendale Witch” through the library. Haven’t checked at “Chapters” to see if it’s available.

    Hugs to you nn Mickey……….John…and now Carolyn


    • Oh John, I feel so bad for making you worry about me for one minute! I obviously failed in my intent for this blog. I’m deliriously happy. I don’t need the things that others might see as “missing” from my life, like television or vacations. My life is perfect for me.

      My pique comes from the fact that if I’m forced to purchase health care insurance, I WILL be forced into an uncomfortable position. I WILL come up short in meeting my financial obligations every month. And it upsets me that I’m one of millions of working class Americans who will suffer this monetary shortfall due to the individual mandate and the way it is structured.

      But don’t worry about me for a minute. 🙂 I couldn’t be happier. My life has never been more clear, more simple, more honest, and more beautiful.

      BTW, I’m glad you contacted me via comments. I don’t have my old email account anymore and I wondered if you had tried to contact me over the past few months. It’s so good to hear from you – and Carolyn now, too! AWESOME!

  2. Mickey Says:

    Your courage, your honesty, your tenacity in the face of obstacles, your love of animals and life, and your never-ending heart are just a fraction of the many reasons why I think you are one of the most special people on the planet. I will always love you.

  3. Jo Kaser Says:

    Thank you for another insightful and incredibly well written piece!

  4. Lee Bear Says:

    Debi We should elect you to Office. I agree with your assessment. I have Medicare and carry the Parts A,B,C,D D for drugs I would guess. In Arizona the state helps pay my Medicare premiums and there are so many part D plans you can get with out co pays I see no reason for the actions Our President has started. I applaud your comments Thank You Very Much . Hugs Bear .

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