This article reminds me that I got into an argument with my shrink yesterday about health insurance. I told him he didn’t understand the sheer terror of having a strange symptom when you’re uninsured and not knowing if it’s something really important — like the black floater I’ve had in my eye for the past two weeks.
“So you just go to the doctor!” he says.
“No, you don’t just ‘go to the doctor,’” I said. “You have to see an opthalmologist, and that’s $175 just to walk in the door. Then if he doesn’t find anything, he tells you to see a neurologist. So even without any testing, I could be looking at $400.”
I tell him he’s just too young and financially stable to understand. “I’m not incapable of empathy,” he says.
“No, but you’re young and you will always be able to go to the doctor. So you can imagine my predicament — without ever really understanding it on a gut level.”
And as I tell him almost every session, I certainly agree in theory that my perspective can influence how well I roll with life’s punches, yet people don’t live in a bubble. We’re at the mercy of political and economic forces, too.
It really is, and the fact that he was there with his kid is even worse. But I keep thinking that for a baseball fan, it’s not such a bad way to go.
Now that the Republicans can see how much leverage the debt ceiling gives them, they’re going to pull this stunt every time it gets near. The best-case scenario, with a big $2 trillion increase, would mean that we’re going to go through the exact same thing late in 2012; a more modest increase in the debt limit would set up a reprise of the current fiasco much sooner.
And that’s the invidious thing about low-probability events. Repeat the experiment often enough, and eventually they’ll happen. We’ll get a deal done this time. But one day, we won’t. And that day is not going to be a happy one.
Reporting from Washington— Still scrambling to stabilize the struggling housing market, the Obama administration will allow some unemployed homeowners to miss a year of mortgage payments without threat of foreclosure while they try to find a new job.
The expanded assistance — triple the current limit of four months for those with government-insured mortgages — could help “tens of thousands” of people keep their homes, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan said.
“Helping struggling borrowers avoid default is not only good for those borrowers, it is good for the economy,” he said.
It would have been even better two years ago, but hey, bygones!
And really, who gives a rat’s ass about the people on the other end of our brilliant new policies? Progress!