I've been avoiding writing anything political on my page and blog since the beginning. I know politics can be polarizing and I want all people to feel welcome here.
But I've been thinking about writing a post about my presidential choice for a long time now and today's the day.
As you may know, we are a middle class family who live in the suburbs outside of NYC. A family of three. Me, my wife, a stay at home mom, and my severely autistic, non-verbal 9 year old son.
And with all the stuff going on in the world, war, the deficit, abortion, foreign policy, gay marriage, I care about only one thing: me and my family. I am completely selfish. I'm looking for the candidate that's going to help me and my situation the most. The rest of you can worry about yourselves, but I'm looking out for número uno, me.
And the candidate that I feel is going to best help me and my situation and my autistic son is President Barack Obama.
Reagan ran on the idea "are you better off than you were 4 years ago?" And while many people may answer that question no, I can answer that question, a resounding YES.
My salary has stayed the same, my income taxes went down a little, my real estate taxes went up, but during this stretch my autistic son qualified for Medicaid supplemental insurance which has significantly lowered my out of pocket medical costs. Should Obama get the credit for this? Maybe not, but the funds seemed to open up while he was in office. And I fear that this will get cut drastically under a Romney administration.
We qualified for some respite services during these past 4 years and currently get 6 hours a week. Should Obama get the credit? Maybe not, but I fear that this may (will) be cut drastically under a Romney administration.
Now some might say why should you even qualify for these services? You're middle class! That's the kind of waste that Romey is trying to cut! To you I say "worry about yourself." but I also say, hey I live outside of NYC and I pay some of the highest taxes in the nation and I got no problems with that, but I'm going to take advantage of all the programs that are open and available to me. I'll take higher taxes and more programs over tax cuts and fending for oneself. I guess that's kinda socialist, huh? I guess so...
My son goes to several after school/ weekend special needs programs that are partially supplemented by grants from the government. This doesn't make the programs free for the parents, but it definitely makes them a lot more affordable. My tax dollars at work.
And let's get into Obamacare, which is really called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. How will that help me? How will it help kids with autism? And I also hear what has Obama done for autism? Well dive into Obamacare!
The below is taken from the US Health & Human Services website at http://www.hhs.gov/autism/factsheet_autism_support.html
--Job-based and new individual health insurance plans are no longer allowed to deny, limit, or exclude coverage to any child under age 19 based on a pre-existing condition, including children on the autism spectrum. Starting in 2014, these protections will be extended to Americans of all ages.
--New health insurance plans or insurance policies must cover preventive services without cost-sharing, including autism screening for children at 18 and 24 months.
Insurance companies will no longer be able to impose lifetime dollar limits on coverage. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, many plans set a dollar limit on what they would spend for covered benefits during the time individuals were enrolled in the plan, leaving individuals on the autism spectrum and their families to pay the cost of all care exceeding that limit. The law also restricts annual dollar limits and will prohibit them for new plans altogether starting in 2014.
--Young adults can remain covered under their parents’ insurance up to the age of 26. Already, 2.5 million more young people have been insured through this provision of the new law. For a young adult with autism or related conditions and their family, that means more flexibility, more options and greater piece of mind.
--Starting in 2014, individuals on the autism spectrum and families of children on the autism spectrum will have expanded access to affordable insurance options through new Affordable Insurance Exchanges and improvements in Medicaid.
--Also starting in 2014, new health plans sold in the individual and small group markets, including Exchanges, will cover “essential health benefits” to help make sure that health insurance is comprehensive. Health insurers will also have annual out-of-pocket limits to protect families’ incomes against the high cost of health care services.
All these things sound vitally important to me and my little autism family.
How will Obamacare affect the deficit? Will it increase insurance rates for healthy people? Is Obamacare constitutional? Is it Socialist?
My answer to all of these questions is I DON'T CARE! I don't care if it makes us have a bigger deficit and owe China more money. I don't care if it raises others insurance rates. I don't care if it's unconstitutional or socialist. As long as it helps my son, I don't care how it affects the rest of y'all.
Yes I'm that selfish.
Now Romney hasn't mentioned much about autism, at least not that I could easily find. But he has talked about tax cuts, repealing Obamacare, rejiggering the Medicaid program, and cutting unnecessary programs and grants. All those sound scary to me and my selfish agenda. Are some of my sons after school special needs programs unnecessary? Should the government be cutting the grants to his sports & swim programs? Is that unnecessary? Depends who you talk to. But in my world they are vitally important and I would be more affected by them being cut than I would with military spending being cut.
And I know you're thinking that a small city program has nothing to do with who the president is. But in my humble opinion... If things get cut drastically on the federal level, and there's less $$ passed down to the states for programs then it will slowly trickle down and affect my life and my son's life.
Now I come from a long line of conservatism. I grew up in a Republican household. All my extended family were Republican. And I was quite conservative straight through til I graduated college. I slowly became more liberal throughout my 20s and them when my son was born in 2002 and when he was diagnosed with autism in 2004 I started my own party. The Me Party. I look out for any candidate that's going to help me.
I come from an Italian background and I come from a long line of Republicans. Some of my relatives probably wouldn't accept public assistance (like unemployment or food stamps) if they qualified for it. They wouldn't accept it out of pride and/or a sense of "I don't need anyone's help. I can get out of this down period on my own"
I am the complete opposite of that. I will take any and all assistance that's offered to me. Not only will I take it I will go out of my way to seek it out. Sometimes there are programs out there that have money or services to offer but you need to do your homework to find them. Go find them before they get cut!
So I will be voting on November 6th to re-elect President Obama. He has done right by me.
And I expect to get a ton of comments explaining about why I am wrong about this or that. And there will be lots of facts and figures and links as to why Romney would be a better choice.
But I will readily admit that I am not educated on all the issues or the candidates stance on all the issues. I have no time and no interest in getting more educated. I really don't care that much. I don't have the time and I really don't like politics that much. Again I'm voting for my own selfish reasons and I encourage you all to do the same.
And I'm not naive. I know politics are evil and I know our government is broken and needs to be totally rebuilt from the ground up.
And I have friends that were huge supporters of Ron Paul and now the libertarian 3rd party Gary Johnson. These candidates want to radically change the way our government works. And I can totally see the appeal in that because I can see how our government is corrupt and evil. And I have some libertarian friends who say there's really not that much difference between Romney & Obama. And if you look closely I can see their point. And I can see the appeal of tearing the system down and starting from scratch.
But it's not realistic in 2012. And I feel that I can't afford to throw away my vote right now.
So to my libertariam friends, while there might not be huge differences between Romney & Obama I feel Obama has more to offer me and my wife and my autistic son in 2012. And that's how I'm voting.
I'm voting to reelect Barack Obama. 4 more years...
(wow I had so much more I wanted to say about this and I forgot a ton. I may revise this over the next few weeks leading up to Election Day so look for a revision or two)