I have a pre-existing condition. So does the Grape. I have friends who are cancer survivors. I know more diabetes patients than I can count. I've reached the age where many parents of friends suffer from ailments large and small.
The Grape and I are lucky. We live in Massachusetts, where we have Romneycare, the legislative model for Obamacare, which will take effect nationwide in 2014. Insurers cannot deny us coverage because of our medical histories. Thanks to Obamacare, kids nationwide already enjoy the same protection from discrimination.
I believe access to health care is a civil right, and that one of the most fundamental functions of government is to protect the public health. I think it's unconscionable that a country as rich as America routinely drives its citizens to bankruptcy because they can't afford health insurance. It's equally unconscionable that countless American children go without basic vaccinations and preventive care, and that our children die before age five in far greater numbers than their counterparts in the rest of the Western world. Obamacare will make progress on both fronts by covering basic preventive care for all children.
Obamacare isn't perfect. Like many progressives, I wish it included a single payer option. I wish it contained more aggressive cost controls. But I can't, to save my life, figure out why the individual mandate is the least bit controversial among conservatives. The mandate was, after all, a Republican idea, first drafted by the late Senator John Chaffee, and designed as a way to avoid a public option. (In exchange for accepting everyone regardless of medical history, the private insurance companies get millions more customers.)
But whatever its imperfections, Obamacare will provide basic health coverage to tens of millions of citizens who would otherwise go without. It stops insurance companies from discriminating based on sex. It will ease the burden on the country's overtaxed emergency rooms: the only health care option for uninsured adults prior to Obamacare's full implementation 2014. Here in Massachusetts, ER usage as a primary care option is down as a result of Romneycare.
Aside: What kind of governor runs around the country disowning his sole legislative achievement anyway? (Answer: The shifty, tricky kind.) I'm actually not that concerned about Romney's ridiculous "repeal and replace" BS. As the primary architect of Romneycare (and Obamacare), Romney knows the insurance companies will never cover all persons with pre-existing conditions unless they get the guarantee of more customers provided by the mandate. Not rocket science. Hence, you can't repeal the federal mandate and keep the "good parts," as Romney's campaign advisors have grudgingly admitted.
And whatever chest thumping certain governors may indulge in during the election cycle (about rejecting federal aid), I wager that not one will turn down the windfall of extra Medicaid dollars when crunch times comes. After all, seniors vote, and a full two-thirds of nursing home patients use Medicaid to pay.
But healthcare isn't the only measure by which our family is better off than we were four years ago.
Like about half of American households, we have investments in the stock market. Nothing fancy, mostly mutual funds like many citizens have in their retirement accounts. They're all way up from four years ago.
R. works in high end residential real estate development and he was job hunting, both in 2009 and in 2012.
2009 was tough going. Brutal, actually. Offers were few and far between, and universally of lesser quality than his prior position.
Not so in 2012. Multiple offers, all a step up by multiple metrics. When high end real estate developers feel bullish, it says to me that the economy is on the right path. The monthly jobs reports agree.
Hurricane Sandy missed us here in Boston, but I'm hopeful the storm finally got people talking about climate change. I trust President Obama to push for cleaner cars and sensible environmental legislation—which benefits the public health and safety. The president who saved the Detroit auto industry has a golden opportunity to push the building of cleaner cars in America, for both the domestic and export markets.
President Obama inherited two wars. He ended one and is winding down the other. Far too many soldiers have been deployed three, four, even five times. They come home to an underfunded, overwhelmed VA. Some have traumatic brain injuries that will never heal, that make them unable to work, and in some sad cases, a danger to themselves or others. Military suicides are up to one per day. The Romney/Ryan budget would gut the VA at a time when we ought to be stepping up services for our veterans.
Yet Romney, the ultimate despicable chicken hawk, who deferred Vietnam service four times to gallivant around Paris on a mission during which he made zero converts, appears eager to embark on another wholly elective war. I have a proposal, one I don't make lightly as the mother of a son: If America is to pursue a policy of first-strike wars, then perhaps we need to revisit the political kryptonite that is the draft. Our volunteer military is stretched beyond reason. The same soldiers (and their families) pay the human toll of war over and over again.
But if we bring about a draft, we need a draft where every citizen has skin in the game. No more college deferrals, and certainly no more religious deferrals.
Make you uneasy? Me too. Don't vote for the chicken hawks.
I trust President Obama to continue a sensible Middle East policy. The economic sanctions against the Iranian government are working. Our allies are on board. Obama managed a successful intervention in Libya that helped remove one of the most hostile regimes on the planet. Israel's largest paper states unequivocally that a second Obama term would be good for Israel.
I could keep going, but I'll rest my case. I hope I've answered the criticisms in my mail that I'm a one issue voter. I do place great weight on women's rights, but I follow the other news too.
Which means that when I vote tomorrow, I won't just be casting a fear and loathing vote against Mr. Romney and his backward thinking on women's rights.
I'll be enthusiastically supporting President Obama on a broad spectrum of issues important to my family and my country.