Last night was an interesting night for me. As some of you may know, I have been spending more of my free time lately pursuing one of my many passions, music. Specifically, revisiting one of my first loves as a young man, playing music. I have been devoting a good bit of time relearning and advancing my skills on guitar, vocals, sax, keyboards, harmonica and learning the art of recording music. I have been concentrating on songwriting, a pursuit I first began in the late 1960′s. Back in the 70′s and 80′s I spent time playing bars and other venues, attempting to put together an awesome assembly of talented musicians and never quite succeeding given the drug and alcohol culture of that era. Finding good musicians that were more serious about music than partying and getting high turned out to be an impossible task. And disco severely limited the number of venues one could play.
So I concentrated on career and family. And now that the kids are grown, I turned my attention back to songwriting and playing a few years ago. I still have a long ways to go to get to the point I would like to be, but (shameless plug coming) if you would like to sample some of my work, you may visit Tom White Music to assess my progress.
I have joined a few groups and organizations dedicated to improving my skills as a songwriter and spend a lot of time hanging with other musicians. And if you know anything about musicians, you know that music and pretty much all of the “arts” are teeming with liberals, now more than ever it seems. And while I am a political creature by nature, I do my best to avoid political discussions. Liberals are, for the most part, completely unable to comprehend logic and reason with the majority of their thought process dominated by their ever-present and on the cuff of the sleeve emotions. I am not sure why, but people that make decisions based almost entirely on emotion and feelings tend to be liberal and those that use logic and reason tend to be conservative.
Now don’t get me wrong. We need both types of people in the world to temper the extremes of either way of thinking. But it seems that the divide between the two has grown to a chasm that is even harder to close than the Grand Canyon – literally.
I belong to the logical thinking and reasoning beings of the world and most of my “artsy” friends to the emotional side of the equation. Now I don’t believe the two sides are always one or the other. A lot of conservatives are also into arts of varying types. But I rarely see the emotion driven folks in a conservative tent.
And last night, at a meeting of a couple of dozen songwriters, we were blessed to have a local musician, a self described “big fish in a little pond” share some of her experiences and a few of her fantastic songs – no mic, just acoustic guitar – with the group.
Now let me say, this post is not about this musician. She is an extremely talented artist and a dedicated musician and I intend no disparagement of her at all. But she exposed her political beliefs and is representative of a group of people that, in TEA Party jargon have drank the Kool-Aid. The entire pitcher, it seems. Especially when it comes to Obamacare. She listed all of the talking points and included mention of the “devil” Ted Cruz (not her words, just her sentiment) and how those that opposed Obamacare just wanted Obama to fail. Yada, yada, yada.
Now I have sat quietly through a few (not too many) singer/songwriter performances where the artist would introduce their next song with “I wrote this song in 2008 in the middle of Obama’s wonderful campaign and the emotional high we all had. I call it ‘Who Needs Drugs – We Have Obama’ or something like “Obama the New christ”.
Gag me with a spoon. That is usually when I find it immediately necessary to empty my bladder. One such musical treat was introduced with a “the last time I played this song I didn’t realize it was a conservative crowd until most of them walked out”.
Right. So play it again.
But I have grown to understand that once a person has moved so far to the left that they idolize Obama that they are completely and permanently incapable of seeing the truth. So I don’t bother to engage them. It is a complete waste of time when they are that far gone. At that point the only thing left for them is a guest shot on Walking Dead.
So I listened to this musician sing the praises of Obamacare for a while and smiled. That is until one of the people in the group asked about health care and being a full time musician.
Now this talented artist was once a corporate officer in a Fortune 500 company making really big bucks and she chucked it all to become a singer/songwriter. The logical side of my brain has always kept me from committing such an illogical act. Now more than a decade later, she is heralded as “successful beyond her wildest dreams”. And I suppose if you measure success as producing five CD’s, getting air play on occasion on a couple of local radio stations and being somewhat as a folk hero in singer/songwriter circles, then that is a success. However, she also said she drives a 22 year old car, has never actually made money off of her CD sales – she saves the money up and when she has enough she does another CD – and has been without health insurance for most of the time because it is too expensive. She also chastised the other musicians in the group for not charging mega bucks for gigs because it makes it harder for her to get paid enough to live on.
In other words, she is a very successful starving artist. But still broke.
So the question about giving up a day job, having a preexisting condition and just teaching music to students for a few bucks each was given an enthusiastic thumbs-up by our successful starving musician eho does not yet have health insurance but is positive that as soon as she applies for Obamacare all her troubles will be over.
Ok. Perhaps I shouldn’t have opened my big mouth and a part of me regrets doing so knowing I was talking to an Obama-bot with absolutely no hope of convincing her that what Congress and Obama consider “affordable” (as in Affordable Care Act”) was really subjective. And considering that most of the room were drinking the same Kool-Aid that couldn’t end well. And I really like her music, did I mention that?
“Anybody can afford to be insured now, thanks to Obamacare,” she said.
I really didn’t think that was appropriate advice to give out to a rather young and impressionable young woman. Basically, quit your job and you will be fine.
When this successful musician and her husband go to sign up for Obamacare, they will find out what I already know. I am not sure how much she makes performing – given the fact that she (admirably) does a lot of free shows – but she described it as tens of dollars. Probably a joke, but when you combine it with a 22 year old car, changing clothes in the car and the other clues, she is in for the shock of her life. Remember the income from the CD’s that she is putting in the bank to save up to cut another CD? Well, that is income. Perhaps it will be deductible to some extent, but let’s look at some numbers.
The Kaiser Family Foundation, billed by the left as non partisan has a calculator to estimate the costs you will pay for Obamacare. First and foremost, Kaiser has been advocating for socialized medicine for years and most caution that you have to take them with a grain of salt (which will probably be outlawed soon).
So let’s just say that your results will vary from these calculations and the best advice is that the costs may be substantially higher.
But these results will still shock you!
Let’s say my liberal musician friend and her musician husband bring in $50,000 per year. And I will assume they are both non smokers – it is higher for smokers.
Their unsubsidized cost will be around $6,074.00 per year and their subsidy will be “as much as” $1,324.00 bringing their yearly premiums to $4,750.00 which works out to about $400.00 per month. I doubt that someone who drives a 22 year old car will agree with Obama that $400.00 per month is “affordable”. And if they make another $5,000 per year their monthly total will go to $435.00 per month.
And keep in mind that this is the Silver plan. Kaiser does not even give us a hint of the cost of a Gold plan like our lawmakers presently have on the books for themselves. But they do tell us that the Bronze plan, which is the minimum coverage allowed by law would drop the cost to about $229.00 per month which is getting close to the point most would consider affordable, but the portion you have to pay is substantially higher.
But the real shock is the out of pocket expenses. With the Bronze plan, you must pay 40% – the plan pays 60%. Silver is 30% – 70%. The out of pocket maximum for a family plan is a staggering $12,500 per year.
So let’s look at a real situation:
A couple of months ago I was hit from behind. It wasn’t a bad accident, but I had some upper back and neck pain. I took some Advil and rested. It was worse the next morning so I went to the emergency room. When all was said and done I had a neck strain and was given some muscle relaxers and pain pills.
The final tab was almost $5,000 for a couple hours in the ER and some X-Rays. If I had the Bronze plan, my part of the hospital bill would be $2,000.
And the follow up visit would be a $60 co-pay.
Can you afford that on $50K per year?
How about the girl that was encouraged to quit her job and teach music in her home? If she managed to get 20 students per week at $25 per lesson she would make $26,000 per year and the Silver Plan would run her about $156 per month. That is not too bad unless you get sick!
And a student age 22 that works part time on his own insurance making $23,000 per year can have a Silver plan for about $125.00 per month.
So how do you get the big subsidies?
Single with no children making $35,000 per year pays $3,116 per year with no subsidy.
Pop out a child and the yearly price goes down to $2,519 with an $2,216 assist from taxpayers.
Pop out a second child as a single Mom and the premium drops again to $1,870 and the taxpayers get to pick up $4,484 for your little darlings.
Add a third child and you pay only $1,373 yearly premium but taxpayers get soaked for $6,602.
Are you an Octo-Mom? Go ahead. You can even make $55,000 per year and only shell out $1,838 per year. Taxpayers get the bill for the rest.
So how about grandpa? If he’s not old enough for Medicare, say 60, and makes $35,000, he pays the same rate. $3,325.00. If he is married and his 60 year old wife makes the same, they pay a whopping $13,842 per year.
And a 35 year old couple each making $35,000 – a combined $70,000 will pay $6,232 per year. Separately each pay half, so it works out the same.
So under Obamacare, pop out all the babies you want if you are a single Mom and you will get cheaper health insurance. When you get old, file for a divorce and get separate policies.
So Obamacare subsidizes illegitimacy and divorce while penalizing hard working people making a lot of money.
So what will happen to my musician friend and her husband? Who knows. But most likely she still will not be able to afford insurance and will face fines.
But I think the thing that bothers me the most is that this was a woman making big money who had a top of the line health insurance policy at her Fortune 500 company, quit her job to play guitar and now expects me to subsidize her health insurance.
But at least she’s a starving success in a 22 year old car.
Did I mention I like her music? I almost bought one of her CD’s but since I am chipping in to subsidize her health insurance I figured that was me being generous enough.
But I guess she is happy. At my expense.
Me, I’m going to keep working and hope Obamacare doesn’t take away my insurance that I am working for. And my out of pocket expense for my accident? Zero.