Thursday, January 27, 2011

I Admit, I'm Selfish

When I watched President Obama’s State of the Union Address this week, I listened with a somewhat biased mind – biased toward the protection of my happy, healthy, financially-secure life. I often describe my political leanings as “Financially Conservative and Socially Liberal”. I am wary of government waste and free-spending that drive taxes higher without long-term benefit for the majority of U.S. residents. And, honestly, after working since the age of 15 (sometimes 7 days a week at 2 jobs), paying off my student loans, working a high-stress corporate job that infringed on my personal life for years, paying taxes at a pretty high rate, and never once having to file for unemployment – I strongly believe I have earned the right to protect the life I have built!

There were two statements from the SOTU Address that spoke directly to me:

“What I’m not willing to do is go back to the days when insurance companies could deny someone coverage because of a preexisting condition. “

Now that we are no longer covered by a corporate-subsidized health insurance program, Ron and I pay for our own individual health insurance. Although I consider myself to be pretty healthy now, my history as a colon cancer-survivor, among other minor managed conditions (like high cholesterol), are problematic. My application for individual coverage was denied, and I was only able to obtain coverage because Illinois has a government-subsidized program for “high risk” candidates. I pay $700 a month for insurance, and have a $2500 annual deductable. Arizona has no such program (until ObamaCare kicks in fully in 2014), so I don’t know what we will do for my health insurance when we move in 2012. We may only be able to obtain Catastrophic coverage. It’s a crap shoot, and it makes me angry.

“To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. We must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market.”

Ron and I have planned meticulously for many years in regard to the funding of our retirement. We had to make some conservative assumptions about Social Security, earnings on investments, taxes, and inflation. If there are any really major changes that invalidate our assumptions, our future will be at risk. We weathered the recession pretty well, and are always willing to modify our plans; but I don’t want the government pulling the rug out from under us financially.

Although I was admittedly self-focused about some of the content - I did listen to the entire address, and have interest in and opinions about most of what Obama put on the table. For example, I would love to see high speed rail throughout the country. I believe that we should take better care of the soldiers that serve our country, along with their families. Personally, I thought the Sputnik reference was kind of off the mark. Overall, I was gratified to hear Obama show evidence of a more centrist position; a position I believe better reflects the policies of the majority of his constituency across the country.

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