Thursday, October 19, 2017

Why Voter ID Laws Work To Block Legit Voters, And The Same Logic Will Throw People Off Insurance

Part of me has watched the battles over voter-id laws with relatively little personal investment.  Yes, I could see the laws were aimed at blocking black and poor voters and students by making it harder to vote.  For those who don't have drivers' licenses, passports, other other official photo id's, it could be difficult.  And if you don't think these laws were aimed at potential Democratic voters we have examples like Texas where  student id's were not permitted while gun licenses were.  Even the US Supreme Court refused to overturn lower court rulings that blocked the North Carolina and Texas voter id laws.

But, I thought, the Left should focus its money and time on just getting people their id's rather than fighting the laws.   I know that it means finding all these people, but it might be more productive.

Well, I don't think that anymore.  Recently I got a notice from my health insurance company  that in order to keep my wife on as a dependent, I needed to send a copy of our marriage certificate and some other recent bill with both our names that show we still are together at the same address.  (I'd note it wasn't really my health insurance company, but rather a company contracted by them, or maybe the State of Alaska, to audit the health insurance company.)

I knew that we had a copy of the marriage certificate somewhere and so I didn't pay much heed.  But as I started looking for it, I couldn't find it.  I did get a lot of things cleaned out and thrown away.  I called and asked,

"Look, why now?  We've been married 46 years and no one has ever asked for our marriage license.  Nothing has changed.  And yes, I can send you a bill that has both of us named at the same billing address."

No, we need a copy of your marriage license AND the bill.  I asked for the the rule or regulation or law that required that.
"I don't have it."
"Can I talk to your supervisor?"
"No one is here."

I persisted and she finally said to call the State of Alaska retirement system.  They told me new federal regulations now require an audit to insure that dependents are verified with appropriate official documentation to prove the relationship.

I looked some more.  I found a couple of our wedding invitations and made copies of wedding pictures.  I knew this wasn't likely to do any good, but with our natural gas bill showing us with the same last name at the same address as of this month, I thought I tweak their common sense and humanity.

The response was they have neither.

So I went online to find out how to get a copy of our marriage license.  If you have a computer and internet access and a credit card and you know how to use all this stuff, it isn't that difficult.  But it does cost $15 for the copy and $9 for processing.  And if you aren't careful, the default setting is overnight delivery for another $24.  I had to back it up before I pushed the pay button to get USPS mailed for free.  And it will take about three weeks it says.  (And it isn't the county that does this, but another private contractor.)

I have access to all those resources - computer, internet, credit card, money, and knowledge to do all the work.  But I'm sure there are people who don't and will lose their dependents' insurance coverage because of this new law.

And I now have a very personal understanding of why the new photo voter id laws have the affect of blocking people from voting.  It's mildly insulting and highly absurd to insist only on a copy of a marriage license for people who have been dependents on their insurance for over 40 years.  And not accept other evidence of their marriage.

I understand that there are people who will abuse the system.  But human common sense used to take care of this sort of obsessive auditing.  No one asked for proof that I was really married to my wife when we arrived in Alaska and I filled out the University paper work and got covered by their insurance.  We had the same last name and two young children.  That was enough.  Proof of marriage might have been asked of people who might appear not married - different last names, not living together, etc  And it might be requested when there is a change in status.  You check the people who do not meet the common sense tests.

This over legalism represents a breakdown in humanity and community.  But we've had bureaucracy for a long time without this sort of anal legalism.  This does seem like an intentional move to force some people off of insurance.

Just as the voter id laws are intended to prevent people from voting, not to prevent fraud.

Here's a Mother Jones article that backs up my comments about voter id laws.  It starts with an example that is very similar to our situation with the health insurance.
"You can’t say Andrea Anthony didn’t try. A 37-year-old African American woman with an infectious smile, Anthony had voted in every major election since she was 18. On November 8, 2016, she went to the Clinton Rose Senior Center, her polling site on the predominantly black north side of Milwaukee, to cast a ballot for Hillary Clinton. 'Voting is important to me because I know I have a little, teeny, tiny voice, but that is a way for it to be heard,” she said. “Even though it’s one vote, I feel it needs to count.'”

1 comment:

  1. Interesting amount of new hoops to jump through or hurdles to stumble over~
    Thank you.


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