A Friday Chat About The State of the World

We’re sorry. We tried.

Photo by SmartSign.com

MEGAN: Happy Friday to you, even though things are bad right now.

NICOLE: Megan, I was just watching the Healthcare Triage episode about insurers leaving the ACA, right before I plan to watch the episode about the AHCA, and yeah… NO HEALTH CARE NEWS IS GOOD RIGHT NOW.

MEGAN: KLSJDFUGHHH. Yeah, there isn’t a cute or fun way to spin all this bullshit and I’m sorry to say that this is exactly the outcome I expected. Like, I’m not surprised at all. Maybe it’s my unwavering pessimism or maybe it’s because this is the way the world works? Like we get some good-ish times followed by dismal times.

NICOLE: If movies and books have taught me anything, it is that this is exactly how the world works. Except then we’re supposed to band together and make things better and defeat the bad guys and get a happy ending.

MEGAN: Yeah, if this were a movie, this is the point in which the entire country would unite against evil and do some magic shit to vanquish the enemy and there’d be a coup(??) and swelling music and Braveheart but no kilts. Alas…..here we are.

NICOLE: Braveheart died, though. The government tortured him to death. That was literally the end of the movie.

MEGAN: Really valid point. Forgot about that minor detail. It’s been a while since I’ve wanted to watch Mel Gibson in face paint do anything. So…now that this healthcare bill has been passed through and we are all aware of the massive list of pre-existing conditions that have been circulating around Facebook and the like, what do we do? Like, okay, here we are, but NOW WHAT?

NICOLE: First of all, we don’t know for sure what the pre-existing conditions will be. A few publications ran the whole “Sexual assault is a pre-existing condition” story yesterday, but they have since modified their headlines:

Being Sexually Assaulted Could Make Your Health Insurance More Expensive

States can choose what pre-existing conditions to allow. In the past, some states have chosen pre-existing conditions related to sexual assault. Currently, we don’t know if they will. They could! But we don’t know that yet. From NYMag:

However, all but six states have laws on the books forbidding the practice of discriminating against preexisting conditions related to sexual assault.

MEGAN: I’ll admit that when this news broke yesterday, I kind of checked out from the news because I was tired and this is all very exhausting and it’s not like this is going anywhere, so I could catch up on it today/over the weekend/for the rest of my life. I will say that for some reason, I spent an inordinate amount of time on Facebook yesterday and that is where most of my misinformation came from. It was all just status messages full of a giant list of things that essentially make up being a human being, plus some stuff about sexual assault, with a dash of political punditry. That’s essentially what Facebook is anyway, but yesterday, it was particularly bad.

NICOLE: It’s not like it isn’t a possibility that having PTSD or having a cesarean section or having any of the items on that list could someday count as a pre-existing condition. After all, a lot of that stuff used to count as pre-existing conditions. The other major factor is that, if I understand the AHCA correctly, having a pre-existing condition doesn’t remove you from the insurance pool. It is likely to make your health insurance more expensive. I’ve seen “30 percent more” as a possibility, which IS TERRIBLE, but keep in mind that many ACA premiums went up by 22 percent last year.

I cannot believe I am arguing in favor of the AHCA, which I am not. Just that it isn’t necessarily as dire as it sounds. Although it may very well be that dire! We… don’t know.

MEGAN: If you weren’t here to talk me down ever Friday about things that I know very little about but should know more, I’m not entirely sure what I would do. So yeah, okay. The point about ACA premiums going up is a very good one and I don’t think you’re defending the AHCA. It’s important to cut through the hysteria when necessary to point out stuff that’s actually just facts. Like, a lot of my friends complained an awful lot about their healthcare premiums going up and 22 percent is a big percentage. Of course, 30 percent is even more, but you’re right. It’s not AS dire yet, but we don’t know.

I suppose that makes it worse though, right? The uncertainty.

NICOLE: Probably. The uncertainty combined with the speculation. As I wrote on Lifehacker earlier this week: We don’t know what’s going to happen to us, and that makes us anxious. In the case of healthcare, this anxiety is literally about life and death.

MEGAN: Yep. I’m not sure what there is to do really. Like we all worry about life and death anyway, but to have that worry feel more pressing because of a decision made by a bunch of idiots who are led by the one Big Idiot is somehow extra bad. I get the urge to speculate because if you don’t have an actual answer, you might as well make something up. A self-soothing mechanism, if you will. But I think it’d be fine if we also just….tried not to. I don’t know!

NICOLE: I sometimes think to myself: “Am I here today? Am I okay today?” which is both privileged and individualistic, because I am healthy and because I’m asking this question just about myself and not about the entire world (which has not been okay, not today and not any of the preceding days for a long time). But it helps my personal anxiety.

MEGAN: I do the same thing, too, sometimes. It’s okay to check in with yourself however you see fit! It’s okay to think about yourself for like, five seconds, and not worry about the entire world because you are one person and you can only do so much. I’m not sure what helps my personal anxiety these days, but I just sort of shove it in a box sometimes and deal with it on, like, a Saturday morning Then I’m good to go for the weekend.

NICOLE: Time-blocking your anxiety or your intrusive thoughts is a tried-and-true technique! It’s not shoving it in a box.

MEGAN: I will file that to things I would know if I went to therapy, which I can’t really afford right now anyway.

NICOLE: Yay unaffordable healthcare.

As an apology for the downer nature of this Friday Chat, please enjoy this gif of a red panda who is easily startled, much like the rest of us are these days.

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