Two More Reasons to Feel Awkward About Using Uber

Who here loves Uber and simultaneously feels badly about loving Uber?

I know it’s not just me. Whenever I talk about Uber with friends, it seems like we start off all saying the same thing: “Yeah, Uber is so great! It’s so much better than taxis!” and then immediately switch into “Except for the surge pricing… and I’m not sure how the insurance piece works… and I heard they still haven’t worked out the regulation thing…”

The trouble with Uber is that the parts of the service that we love—fast, clean cars! getting to book rides and pay from our smartphones!—are all on the surface, and the parts that we probably wouldn’t love if we thought about them are hidden from our view.

So here are two more reasons to feel awkward about using Uber:

1. Drivers are experiencing pay cuts

On Tuesday, September 2, Los Angeles Uber drivers assembled in North Hollywood to protest pay cuts. CBS Los Angeles quoted one Uber driver as saying “I’ve experienced four cuts since I started. It was $2.50 a mile when I started a year-and-a-half ago, and now we are at $1.10 a mile. You can’t make a living off of that.”

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The Uninsured Die at Home

In Ohio on Thursday Mitt Romney told The Columbus Dispatch’s editorial board  that “We don’t have a setting across this country where if you don’t have insurance, we just say to you, ‘Tough luck, you’re going to die when you have your heart attack.’ … We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.” Rachael Acks, a former EMT, writes that actually, we do have people dying in their homes because they don’t have insurance. Her essay is powerful. An excerpt:

“Sometimes you get a call out to one of the little trailer parks, because people do live here even though no one really wants to, and it’s for chest pains, possible heart attack. It’s an older man in a uniform (you decide what kind) pale and sweaty and shaking, his face like dough. He’s got a crocheted afghan in a startling color combination covering his lap, and his wife (you guess she’s the one who made it, she’s got that look) wrings her hands nearby. She’s the one that called you. He’s as mad as he can manage when he can barely breathe.

“The paramedic hooks up the EKG.You don’t know how to read the bouncing lines, but even you know it’s not good. Okay, let’s go. We need to get you to the hospital.

“‘No.’”