I’ve struggled to find the perfect costume this Halloween. Sure, I could dig out my Fashion-Challenged Middle-Aged Boring Guy costume, but I’ve worn it for like five straight years now. In fact, I’ve been wearing it for about 1,742 consecutive days, which may be why I’m getting tired of it.
Thankfully, a great idea just hit me like a ton of bricks while I was looking at private health insurance options on HealthCare.gov — which is ironic because if I were literally hit with a ton of bricks, I wouldn’t be able to meet my deductible.
I’ve decided to go as Fleeced Health Insurance consumer. It’s a pretty easy get-up. All you’ve got to do is sign on to HealthCare.gov, and see what your premium will be next year on the exchanges. When you see that number, the look of horror on your face won’t disappear for days, maybe even weeks or months. I didn’t like the way my face looked in the mirror before I checked my premium. Now my face could not reflect more horror if I were confronted by Negan from “The Walking Dead” with him insisting that I hear his angry clown band perform some of today’s blandest pop-country tunes.
“Dude, can’t I just meet Lucille?”
Yes, the Affordable Care Act is still here. I know you thought that after all those years of Republican sabotage and refusal to allow a public option that the GOP finally would repeal it, replace it or improve it. Don’t hold your breath. I mean, seriously, don’t hold your breath — it could cause some sort of respiratory issue that you’ll never be able to afford.
If you’re fortunate enough to work for a company that pays a significant chunk of your health insurance or work for the government, don’t worry. You’ll be fine. But if you’re one of the millions of people who must buy insurance on the exchange but don’t qualify for subsidies — including millions of charity workers, mom-and-pop business owners, freelancers and entrepreneurs — it’s going to cost you, bigly.
Fortunately, I may be able to afford my new premium if I simply cut back on a few frivolous items in my budget.
Let’s see. OK, those few bucks a month I spend on fantasy football can be eliminated. Right now, they’re just donations to everybody else in the leagues anyway. I could cut out that monthly round of golf, turn off HBO and take a year off from seeing any concerts or sporting events in person.
Not quite enough. Hmm, I guess I could trim a little fat in the necessities, like food. Sure we need ketchup, but not fancy ketchup. I like meat in my diet, but I could replace steak with raccoon or opossum. I could drink that clear stuff — I believe they call it water — instead of Diet Coke.
Oh, not even close still? Well, it wouldn’t hurt me to get rid of my cell phone and internet and disconnect from the increasingly insane modern world. Instead of driving to work, I could ride my bicycle — a little 110-mile ride every day might be good for me. And, really, who needs electricity.
Tequila? Um, no. You’ve got to draw the line somewhere. Besides, I’m going to have to take a shot before I pay that bill each month.
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