Affordable Healthcare Bill and Bankruptcy – May 2017 Interview

Katherine:

Hello everyone, thank you so much for joining us today on This Needs To Be Said. Our good friend, Attorney Christine Kingston, is joining us on today. Ironically, today, as she’s joining us, a healthcare bill has been passed, or passed up to Senate, and it’s the Affordable Healthcare Bill, or affectionately known as Obamacare. We’re going to talk a little bit about that, and also look at how bankruptcy could possibly play a role in that. Welcome back, Christine. How are you?

Christine:

I am fantastic, Katherine. Thanks for having me again. So good to talk with you.

Katherine:

As always. Go ahead and let’s talk about this. It’s just ironic that today is the day that I’m talking with you and this bill is being passed up to Senate.

Christine:

Yeah. What’s interesting, Katherine, is obviously, Trump’s been adamant, his first 100 days and all that shenanigans, trying to get something passed. The biggest problem that I’m seeing right now is they’re just trying to push anything through so that they can have a success on the record, and I don’t think American healthcare is something to just push through and get something passed. I think they need to take a lot more time, and spend a lot more energy putting something more detailed together.

What I see in this passage is we’re going to see a lot of people falling off healthcare. You know, we already have enough people who can’t afford health insurance, people who don’t have jobs that offer healthcare coverage and they have to buy it on their own. And even affording healthcare, once they have insurance, with the co-pays and the deductibles and the premiums and things like that. Those are the biggest issues that I see on a going forward basis with healthcare.

But what I think is really good? With Obamacare, what happened is it’s now a right, and I think what we’re seeing, with all the people advocating, and doing the pickets, and going in front of … telling their congressmen not to vote for it, it’s because we gave it to America and America won’t give it back, and I think that’s fantastic. So the good news is I don’t think it’s going to go away completely, but I think it’s going to grow and change as varying factions get into control in our government.

Katherine:

Attorney Kingston, what I wanted to add, as I was watching that on the news today, is while it was not a perfect plan … Any first thing that we do, first kid or whatever, is not a perfect plan, and you get better over time. So even though the object, it seems, to push something through, anything through, and Obamacare might be the thing to eradicate, you’re not, really.

And now that people have the right, as you said, to have healthcare, and now it’s set to be improved upon, so I’m grateful that it was put in place and now is being improved upon. I know that that may not be the way it’s wanting to be viewed, but that’s what it is. It could only get better from here, because the idea has been put out here. And while it is actually the Affordable Healthcare Act, people have named it whatever they wanted to, but it’s just being improved upon. So I just really want people to pay attention to what’s being put out there.

Obama does not … he doesn’t own it. You know? So if that upsets people, to think that he owns it, okay, get over it, he doesn’t. He started it, and if this President is your President and Obama wasn’t, then your President gets to improve on what was put in place. Because we are not all on the same playing field. We don’t all have the same stuff. We may have access, without getting too deep, right? But we just don’t have it, and now this gives a lot of our family members access to it.

I don’t know how we managed to get blinded by a lot of busy noise talking, but really people, pay attention to its making it where our loved ones can be cared for. The ones who could not afford it. That cousin that’s been borrowing money from you? Let’s help them not have to do that, you know what I mean? By being in a better position. That’s what I wanted to ask about.

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Christine:

Absolutely. I agree with you, Katherine. I also think that we need to focus on our own personal healthcare and take matters into our own hands, and I’m going to now tie that into bankruptcy.

You know, the statistics are out there, and there’s a lot of articles that the media writes about how medical bankruptcy and healthcare bankruptcy is the number one reason people file bankruptcy. I would have to make a bridge to get there and say … You know, a lot of my clients, they suffer from addiction, or they suffer from mental health problems, and then what happens is because they don’t have the insurance in place, or because addiction is just such a strange bedfellow that it just takes you down this dark road where you don’t even seek treatment. You don’t seek health, and you’re not making well-informed decisions on your financial life.

I think that’s what sometimes gets people on the wrong road. Or not the right road but maybe the left road, and then that might eventually them into bankruptcy, where it starts with not making wise choices. When we don’t take care of our personal healthcare, then we’re going to spend more money on our healthcare to get well. If we take care of ourselves up front, then maybe we don’t have the medical problems going forward. A lot of it’s preventable. Yeah, I also know we’ve got genetics, we’ve got family, we’ve got circumstantial and environmental. Oh, and let’s just roll back the EPA so that we can have more environmental problems that were going to lead to more healthcare.

So you’ve got all of these things coming that are present, and I think people need to take more self-responsibility for themselves. Unfortunately, it’s one of those things where it’s not as simple as Trump initially thought, that we can solve healthcare with … And you and I certainly aren’t going to solve this in a 10 minute phone call … where it’s a challenge to try to solve this whole problem. We want to be able to take care of everybody, but what I really think is the top 1% wealthy Americans don’t want to do it. And they’re reluctant to do it, but they need people in the middle class and the lower class because we spend money that feeds the rich. And the rich, apparently, eats money instead of food, I don’t know. Maybe that’s the secret to better health. So I think it’s really a competition between the rich and the poor, trying to make sure that they provide enough for them so that they’re satisfied and so they’ll go out and keep working for the very wealthiest of the top 1% of the 1%, which I don’t think is a solution, either.

Katherine:

But if it is, let’s say it is. Let me play devil’s advocate, and then we’ll get into the bankruptcy portion of it. Then let’s make the people happy. Why are we trying to piss everybody off?

Christine:

Right.

Katherine:

Because there are some people, as I look through … And whether you’re on social media talking to people or you’re talking amongst your friends, what we may say is success is different for each person. It just is. While we may assume that, okay, if this person has this kind of car, house, clothes, they eat this kind of food, then they’re successful, some people may really want to be a minimalist. Some people think that there are people that waste.

I have a lady that is committed to my fan page, and she will let you know, “Well, you know, not everybody wants to be rich,” or, “Not everybody can.” She has that point of view. And while I believe different, I going to say I know different, but that is her perspective. She knows what she knows within her perspective, that her group of people don’t want it, can’t have it. That’s what they believe.

Some people just want enough to get by. They may not feel entitled to that, but we can’t get into all the psycho-semantics of every person and figure it out, but how do we have something that is attainable for people? If you need them to keep working and keep spending money, then stop trying to take it all from them. You know?

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Christine:

Exactly.

Katherine:

You don’t have to really put your foot on everybody’s neck, because some people are just going to stay down there anyway.

Christine:

I think that’s the problem right there. Yes. Stop trying to take it all, leave them a little something.

Katherine:

Some people will stay down there anyway.

Christine:

Yeah. I mean, this goes into the Constitution. We created the United States of America. In the Constitution we have a right to life, which I think translates as a right to health. We have a right to liberty, which I think it translates to right to freedom, especially freedom from debt. And we have a right to pursue happiness. I agree, Katherine, I think we need to rewrite what the American dream really means, and I think we need to revamp it and pursue happiness first, and then health, and then freedom. Because when you’re happy and you’re healthy, you are free. It’s a happiness plus health equals freedom, I think, is the mathematical equation.

Katherine:

I do agree with you. And going back to what you said, that we make choices that put us in our situations, namely bankruptcy, and we have that consequence. So we’ve learned that bankruptcy is not a bad word. It’s not the bad “B” word.

Christine:

That’s right.

Katherine:

It’s a way to reset. As we’re talking about healthcare, talk to me about medical bills being one of the main reasons that people are filing bankruptcy.

Christine:

I would tend to disagree. I think, especially since the recession, we have more people with job loss and income loss than I’m seeing with healthcare. But what I will say is that when someone is trying to pursue their health and wellbeing, and then they end up in the hospital, or they end up having major medical bills, that is a very good reason to consider a bankruptcy filing.

We do have a right to file bankruptcy to get rid of our medical debts. One of the things that I always emphasize with people is your blood pressure is always more important than your credit score. I’ll say it one more time with a political slant to it … I can’t even say it. Blood pressure always trumps credit score. That’s what I meant to say.

Katherine:

Blood pressure always trumps credit score, there we go.

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Christine:

That’s right. Let’s keep our priorities in order. I mean, a bankruptcy filing is not the end of the world, however the stress over a lot of debt causes so much … it will increase people’s blood pressure, it will cause increased stress. And we know, from the medical studies that have been out there, that stress on the body wreaks havoc on every system in the body. We cannot stay in the flight-or-fight mode forever. We need to relax, and we need to understand that the health of our body requires that we stay out of stress and stressful situations.

I see a huge stress problem, and when people ignore money problems it adds to the stress, which then promotes bad health, which then puts them in a worse financial position. So it’s almost like a perpetuating machine. Really, all we need to do is get everybody off the wheel of perpetual motion and let’s get some stability on there. And life’s, yeah, it can be boring, but that’s really where it should be when we’re on the right path. Life is very simple when you have no debt, and when you have bills, and you don’t create those issues.

Katherine:

The true test is when you get sick, you’re not thinking about money. When you’re really sick and on your back, you’re just thinking about getting better, and money can’t buy you that if … money isn’t the answer to that if it’s rest you need or medicine you need. You know, you may be worried, “I can’t afford to get the medicine,” but you’re sick. You’re sick.

Christine:

Yep, health first.

Katherine:

If you are in good health, if you’re happy, you’re healthy … And again, what is wealth or what is rich to one person isn’t to the other person.

Christine:

That’s right.

Katherine:

I’m a fan of Prince, and he passed a year ago and they’re still divvying up and analyzing his asset. That’s not, I mean, I need all of that, and there’s a lot of people who may not need that. They want the basics, whatever they call the basics.

Christine:

That’s right.

Katherine:

We’re trying to put everybody in the same box, for them to have the same thing. We’re a country of individuals, and it’s just unfortunate that we’re not allowing that to be. We want to pick on, you know, one party or the other, one person or the other, and make it this big massive thing, when there are people that are really happy going to a regular job, making a minimum wage, coming home to their place to live, you know, whatever their routine is, they’re perfectly happy and safe in that environment.

Christine:

I think that’s what most American’s want. I think so.

Katherine:

Yeah, they want their life their way.

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Christine:

That’s what they want. And you know what? I couldn’t agree more. I think that if those politicians up there, and right now it’s billionaire-land, if they could just understand that Americans are not asking for much. We live in the richest country in the world, and yet we still have poverty problems, healthcare problems, and other issues. We are also one of the least populated countries in the world, and we still have these issues. Why? I think it’s just because we have a few at the top that are wanting to be hoarding all the cash. You can see, when Bill Gates and Melinda Gates are running their foundation, they’ve even come across the fact that money can’t buy everything. They can’t get medicine to certain countries, no matter how much they’re willing to pay.

Katherine:

Wow.

Christine:

There’s other issues and concerns that … I think this whole world needs healing, and I think we need to start at home with American providing healthcare to everyone. I think we should stop it with this insurance nonsense and trying to control … I know they’re trying to control costs, but somehow they’re also controlling their own profits at the same time. It should be non-profit. It should be non-profit, and we can’t put profit in the healthcare system. And that’s another thing, too, with the pharmaceutical companies.

So I think America, just keep voting. Vote, vote, vote, and be well informed with the votes. Just make sure, because I think we got duped with this Trump. A lot of people voted for him because he was a Populist guy, and I think now he’s just the … he’s a switch-hitter. He’s made promises and heading in a complete opposite direction to what he promised, which I think is very sad. The American people, we can’t continue to be duped as a people. They won’t buy it. I mean, look at all the uprising and all the people petitioning and protesting. I think it’s fantastic.

Katherine:

Maybe this will be the wake-up call. Maybe this will be a wake-up call, just to really, to make people pay attention. Pay attention to what’s really going on, not the smoke and mirrors.

Christine:

That’s right.

Katherine:

Attorney Kingston, tell people how to get in touch with you outside of This Needs To Be Said.

Christine:

Absolutely. My name is Christine Kingston. I am a Huntington Beach, California bankruptcy attorney. You can find me at attorneychristine.com, spelled A-T-T-O-R-N-E-Y-C-H-R-I-S-T-I-N-E, or you can call our office directly at 714-533-9210.

Katherine:

Until next time, have a wonderful day.

Christine:

Thanks.

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