Freedom Is

Paul Ryan tweeted this on Tuesday:

My brief response:

This year at my workplace, I tried to opt-in to "extra" insurance that most of my co-workers don't use or buy. A special add-on option for "long-term disability insurance". The idea is that I opt-in for this extra special insurance and I pay the insurance company a little with each paycheck I earn. If anything happens to me and I have to go out on long-term disability leave, the insurance company sends me money; if I'm lucky and don't ever have an accident that sends me out on leave, then all the money I paid to the insurance company is their profit and my loss.

I am, as my economics professor in college described insurance, making a bet that I hope to lose. I'm putting $20 on red for the big pot and praying I don't win because "winning" here means a catastrophic health catastrophe. The money I'd "win" in that event would be a welcome safety net, but I wouldn't be celebrating with champagne truffles.

So I tried to do the Responsible Consumer thing like Paul Ryan wants and exercise my freedom to buy what I wanted to fit what I needed. And you know what happened? I was rejected by the insurance company for my preexisting condition of Scoliosis. They capitalized it in the rejection letter: capital-s Scoliosis. I have a condition that makes it slightly more likely I will need long-term disability insurance, so I can't buy long-term disability insurance because I might use it.

I don't feel very free. I feel hurt and angry and scared and upset and rejected.

My first scoliosis surgery was performed before I was legally old enough to enter the workforce. There has never been a time in which I could have opted into this "long-term disability insurance" early, pre-condition, and kept it through the development of said condition. Not that I suppose this matters, since I'm pretty sure Paul Ryan supports the right of insurance companies to drop patients once they become expensive. That's an odd kind of freedom.

The reality is that I'm not allowed to "buy what I want to fit what I need", and Paul Ryan isn't making steps to enable me to do so. Even if I agree with his definition of freedom—which, for the record, I don't—I'm not free in his vision for America. Not even close.

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