Are we going to fight this Troll, or appease it with a sheep a day, until all of our flocks are gone?

August 12, 2013


I’m actually disappointed to announce, it’s been some time since I’ve taken the time to read a good fantasy adventure.  I’m actually partial to knights and dragons, wizards and trolls, and that sort of thing.


I find such diversions particularly enjoyable, because any good fairy tale can be related to reality in society, in any age.


If I were the hero of my own tale, the name of the troll I am about to confront, face to face, would be The Affordable Care Act.


So here is how my fairy tale began.


Close to 8 years ago now, I was the excessively ambitious peasant boy, who wanted to do something great, and set out on an adventure.  Not knowing where it would lead, or exactly what would happen, but motivated nonetheless.


I took a big risk when I started my business.  I didn’t have the luxury of sizable financial assets to safeguard my endeavor against an unexpectedly profound setback, but looking to the future, and considering the endless monotony of the limited options available to a high school dropout, I made my choice, for myself, and for the woman and child I had to care for.


Counting entirely on the skills I had learned and practiced working my father’s properties over all of my teenage years, I borrowed a few thousand dollars from my father, and purchased my first unit.


I bought that unit on the 22nd of December 2005.  It was a fixer upper, and I worked day and night, except Christmas day, and I had it rented out on the 1st of January.


I continued to work for my father for room and board, for myself and my family, and I used the income from my unit to pay off my debt, and to expand.


The first 3 years I was in business for myself, I literally doubled my income every year.  I couldn’t possibly calculate the hours I put into both my own properties, and my fathers.


I went from 1 to 5 units, and my father went from 5 to 25.


In my fairy tale, with my fair maiden and our child by my side, I climbed to the top of a majestic mountain, and with sweat, blood, and sheer force of will, built a beautiful home.


Shortly after our second child was born, we were driven from our home by a horde of goblins.  I fought them every step of the way down to the valley floor, where we were still routinely assaulted, but I never wavered.  All the while through strife and humiliation, I kept my eyes on the mountain top where I had built the home that was rightfully ours, and from which I remember looking down, at how far I had to go to get there.


In January 2012 I filed for eviction against a tenant who wrote me 2 bad checks, and refused to return my calls.


This tenant counter sued.  I lost a considerable amount of income during the almost 5 month court process, and shortly before the unit was legally returned to my control, they caused nearly $9,600 in physical damage.


My recovery from this setback has been significantly extended, far beyond my expectation, by a combination of the prolonged loss of income from what was my best unit, and several other similar, but less sever incidents with other tenants, both before and after.


In February 2012 I was forced to apply for food stamps.  A few months later I had to default on 2 credit cards, and I nearly lost our only vehicle.  Not long after, my income finally fell so far, that we have since been on Medicaid, but I didn’t quit.


The only option that was available to me was to sign a contract, of a sort I had never even considered before.  This individual has provided the materials and labor to restore my unit, in exchange for 6 months free rent, and another 12 months at half rent.


September 1st 2013 will be the first time since December 2011 that I will get money out of that unit.


When that transition occurs my wife and I will lose Medicaid for ourselves, and although we will still qualify, we will drop food stamps.


The hero in this tale refused to accept defeat.  Very slowly, losing near as many steps as he took, he fought all the way back up the mountain.  Now only steps from the top and only yards from the home he built with his own 2 hands, he finds a great mountain troll blocking his path.


The hero knows he has no chance of slaying the troll, but if he can fight it, if he can keep it exposed long enough, the light of day will turn it to stone and it will crumble under its own weight.


Our side held their ground during the 2013 regular session of the Montana Legislature.  From what I’ve read, we did not pass legislation to expand Medicaid to accommodate the affordable care act.


There is talk of a public initiative in 2014 to do so.


I have my heart set on no longer qualifying for Medicaid.  When I make this income jump, my children will still qualify, and although I am ashamed to have my children even partially provided for by the tax payers, I will accept that much for their sake until I have the means, but I am not a child.  I will not have such consideration applied to myself.


I am an adult, and I have the right to choose to live by my own means, and the risks are mine and mine alone.


My own research, not what other folks are saying, indicates I can expect to pay at least $1,200 a month, for a policy with a $6,000 annual deductible to cover my wife and myself, through the new exchange.


I can’t afford that, so I will pay my tax penalty.  I don’t have any other choice, but I won’t sacrifice my honor by asking others to capitulate for me.


The end to my fairy tale has not yet been written, but this is the part where the hero sees a few from a local village making their way up the mountain with a sheep.  They come with love and respect for the hero, and offer to appease the troll for his sake.


And the hero says, “If there were even a marginal certainty that this troll would take your sheep and leave forever, I would commit my honor, with gratitude, to compensate you for the animal, but you and I know full well, if we give a sheep today, it will want another tomorrow, and every day after.”


“I do not ask for, nor if I have any say, will I allow you to appease this foul creature, for even one day.  Do not make a sacrifice for me.  Stand with me, but for your selves.  I know I will suffer, as will many others, but if we stand firm, we can and we will, fell this beast once and for all.”


I am asking everyone to make a hard choice for the greater good.  I am asking you as one who will bear the brunt.  If there is any public initiative to expand Medicaid in 2014, put your vote with mine and knock it down.


Bring your swords, not your sheep.


Glenn W. Uncles Jr.

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