Dear Liberal Friends

by Adam Hammer on August 1, 2012

I’ll get to the student loans in a second, but first: Liberal friends, I love you guys. I know you have all the best intentions in the world. I share in your disdain for the social conservatives but, can one of you tell Obama to stop helping me, please? I’m good. I got it covered.

Since I left my job at the end of 2006 I’ve been paying for my own health insurance. Out of my own pocket. I know! Young people don’t do that! We’re invincible and too stupid to take care of ourselves. We’re costing the government billions, apparently.

Nobody was helping me. I didn’t need it. I didn’t ask for it. Maybe people who were born with a preexisting condition appreciate the help, but that’s not the majority and it’s not me. And while I feel sorry for people who are truly debilitated, all of those who were “uninsurable” could get medical care. Many of them could even get insurance. If they work for a business with benefits, they can’t be denied. They just can’t expect to get insurance if they choose to follow their artistic dreams. Which, are any of us “owed” that? I’ll ask my grandma who had to work as a migrant farm worker from the age of 9 until 16 to feed her brothers and sisters. “Grandma..?”

She laughed at me.

I am lucky enough to be one of the majority of people who wasn’t born with a preexisting condition. As much as I abuse my body with smoking, liquor, drugs and bad food, I’m smart enough to realize this withering sack of flab and bones is the only body I’m ever gonna have. I thought it was worth the minor investment to protect it. I didn’t need anybody to tell me to. I did it all by myself and I didn’t even get a gold star for doing it. I forewent movies and nights out at the bar to pay for my own insurance. My wife and I can make up the date nights when I’m not dead when I’m 50.

From 2006 to the end of 2010, I was paying $65 a month for my own insurance to those evil, heartless, money grabbing insurance companies. $65 a month. Just over $2 a day. While I was paying over $5 a day for cigarettes. It cost me less than half as much to keep myself alive as it did to kill myself. And the insurance company charged me accordingly, as a smoker. But you’re right. It’s the insurance companies who needed to be stopped. I’m an innocent victim of their capitalist ways.

In those four years I went to the doctor twice. Once for a weird rash on my foot, once for a run-of-the-mill cold. Both ailments were gone before the medicine I was prescribed was out. After all the premiums and co-payments I had paid, I more than covered my insurance company’s costs of the two visits.

In January of 2011, after the Affordable Care Act took effect, I received a letter stating that my insurance premium would rise to $86 a month because of increased medical costs. That’s a 32% rise in my premium. A 32% increase in cost is rarely referred to as “affordable.”

Then two months later, after my 30th birthday put me in a new age bracket, my premium jumped to $91 a month. Now, I am 31, and my premium has risen again to $104 a month. I can’t possibly be in a new age bracket. I haven’t been to the doctor since the first increase in my premiums. I’m not making claims against my insurance. I’m costing them no money. What’s with all the added affordability?

Had the government kept their hands away from my insurance, my premium would have risen from $65 to $68 on my 30th birthday. And stayed that way until I was 35. But apparently now it goes up $13 a year. Which, in order to afford to pay, I may have to quit smoking. And if I do that, what’s the point of being insured?

Some would say these increases are the result of a greedy insurance company trying to maximize profits. I say it’s because of government intervention telling them how to run their business. That they have to insure every person. That everybody is equal. That everybody deserves the same low-cost health coverage regardless of if they’re a librarian or an HIV positive daredevil. We’re all the same. Those costs roll down to me and the librarian. Trickle down economics in action!

I’m writing about this now because of something that happened earlier this month. Barack Obama asked congress to sign a bill that would keep student loan interest rates from doubling. Good intentions, I’m sure. Although when the government who is desperate for money is also the government who controls the student loans, I’m not sure they’re the ones who should be deciding the interest rates. That’s like letting junkies set the market price on heroin.

Yesterday I received my student loan bill in the mail and, curious, took a look at the interest rate. I wasn’t too happy.

I’ve paid my own student loans every month since they sent me my first bill. Just before I learned that the government was gonna nationalize and monopolize the student loan industry last year, I took a look at my interest rate. It was 0.36%. That “0” is not a typo.

That 0.36% interest rate was when my loan was with Citibank. They had my loan for 8 or 9 years. Then, one day in the mail I got a bill from Sallie Mae. They commandeered my loan. I didn’t ask them to. I didn’t have a choice. The government bought up all the loans from those evil banks and took me, coddling me in their big, motherly, arms, whispering“all will be well. I got you. That bank isn’t gonna hurt you any more.” Even as I squirmed and shouted “You’re not my mommy!” they just smiled and stroked my hair. “Shhhhhhh.”

Thankfully I’m almost done paying them off. Because when the President rescued me from the grips of those abhorrent capitalists who are reaming recent graduates with bills they can’t afford, my 0.36% interest rate jumped to 2.36% the first month, and is now at 2.39%. For all you unemployed math majors, that’s a 563% increase in my interest rate. Imposed by the government. Not the bank. Which, in comparison, actually does make the 32% initial increase on my health insurance look affordable.

Ugh. I wish my interest rate would’ve just doubled.

So please, someone. Tell the President to stop helping me. I’m a responsible person that can take care of himself. When I need your help, I’ll have a baby I have no means to take care of. Or get stuck in a mortgage I can’t afford. Or eat my way into having diabetes. Those seem to be the majority of the people benefiting from all the “help;” the irresponsible people.

If you like what I do, use those SHARE buttons. Don’t keep me a secret. And if you prefer me in shorter bursts, add me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter – @adamhammer. You’ll thank yourself later.

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