Revisiting Tom Herbon

tom herbon

Tom Herbon, talks to two of his daughters, from left, Emily Herbon and Amy Bertucci,  in a barn at his Sanilac County summer home, in Michigan’s thumb. (Bridge photo by Brian Widdis)

SANILAC COUNTY – Tom Herbon owns an 1880s farmhouse in Sanilac County in Michigan’s thumb. The 57-year-old lives in Troy, but this is where he and his family spend most of their summer weekends. A 1962 Allis-Chalmers tractor is parked in a corn crib. From the side of the crib hung a large American flag. Nearby, he and two of his daughters are picking mulberries for a pie.

There’s no Wi-Fi here – no electricity beyond past a few remodeled rooms on the first floor – and practically no cell reception. That suits Herbon just fine.

The retired IBM engineer keeps things simple. He eats corn but not cauliflower; potatoes, but not broccoli. He’s never had sushi in his life and has no desire to start eating raw fish now. He gets sick to his stomach thinking about spending $25,000 to replace his 2000 minivan, but said he wouldn’t think twice about dropping $50,000 for a new backhoe to play around with at his summer farm house.

“I like what I like,” Herbon said.

Herbon was an avid Donald Trump supporter during the 2016 presidential campaign. The 4-by-8 foot Trump sign he made for the election now hangs in his barn in Sanilac County.  Since the election, he said he’s cut himself off from almost all mainstream media. He listens to conservative talk radio and is on Twitter, where he follows just one person – Donald Trump. “I like to hear things from the horse’s mouth,” Herbon said.

Read how Tom Herbon felt in January.

He is eager for Obamacare to be eliminated so he can lower his family’s health insurance bills by purchasing insurance with less coverage.

“You have people saying, ‘Oh, I would have died without Obamacare,’” Herbon said. “Ok, well, you would have died without Obamacare, but I’m still paying triple what I would have before. Now, it’s all crap. And I can’t get low-priced crap. I can only get high-priced crap.”

RELATED: Fireworks, parades, and a partisan divide that won’t go away

Herbon is “ecstatic” with how things are going in the country, and is flummoxed by the notion that others are unhappy.

If the election were held today, would he vote the way he did in November? “No,” Herbon said, smiling. “I’d find a way to hack the system and cast two votes.”

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Robert Short
Tue, 07/11/2017 - 8:56am

Don't like higher rates, blame the insurance companies! Check out the concessions that had to be made with the insurance and pharmaceutical companies! Frontline had a good program on it a few years back.

Barbara Jeanne
Tue, 07/11/2017 - 10:14am

But the dude shuts out anything that isn't what he considers conservative media, so...

Tue, 07/11/2017 - 10:42am

Robert, the problem is far more complex than saying blame the insurance companies for the high rates. Insurance is a business with an expectation to make a reasonable profit. Yes, there are too many overcompensated CEOs', but there are also costs that are way too high. How many markets are now down to a single insurer, and how many markets now have no one willing to bring their business there. A single payer system like Medicare seems to work pretty well, but if extended to everyone, the question becomes who would pay for it. Over 25% of the population is now on Medicaid, and that percentage is growing. Rising costs are the issue that no one wants to address.

Tue, 07/11/2017 - 10:30am

What can you say about this level of willful ignorance, he can spend large amounts on expensive toys and can afford retirement and hobby farming and has a problem with paying for health insurance? He's the perfect Trump supporter willingly being spoon fed lies, exaggerations & bigotry from the horses mouth. There's no reasoning with someone who's main source of information is conservative propaganda / hate radio. He's the perfect example of "There's a sucker born every minute" a phrase closely associated with P. T. Barnum, although there is no evidence that he actually said it. Its use was actually are found instead among gamblers and confidence men, you know, men like Donald Trump.

Tue, 07/11/2017 - 12:30pm

So sayeth one who spreads the opposite brand of hate and division. Can you even consider that some like to choose where and how to spend their own money that they earned tremselves through their own labor? Can you even consider that those on the "other side" are not horses mouths, nor is what they listen to propaganda / hate radio? Some may find the liberal outlets equally offensive, but that does not make them suckers.

Time to stop throwing the hand grenades, lest we dig ourselves deeper into a divide.

Dan Mull
Thu, 07/13/2017 - 10:41am

Hey dum dum, while your insurance rates were tripling, so were insurance company profits. There is nothing in Obamacare that dictates the rates. Rates are determined solely by the insurance companies. So if the rates are going up, and the insurance companies are making record profits, it isn't due to Obamacare, it is just profit-taking.

Do you really think your rates will go down? Rates NEVER go down. The insurance companies will throw 22million people off of Medicaid. Your rates will stay the same. And, the insurance companies will make even more profit.

Tom Herbon
Fri, 07/14/2017 - 10:58am

Before you call someone a "dum dum" you probably should get your facts straight. ObamaCare eliminates the ability of people over 30 to purchase catastrophic care plans. Given that ability, MY RATES WOUL D GO DOWN. Obamacare requires ALL participants to pay for maternity coverage. If I could purchase insurance that did not include maternity care, MY RATES WOULD GO DOWN. ObamaCare requires mental health coverage. If I could purchase a plan without it, MY RATES WOULD GO DOWN. ObamaCare requires dental coverage for children under 18. I don't have children under 18. If I could buy a plan without it, MY RATES WOULD GO DOWN.

Insurance companies competed for my business pre-ObamaCare and I was able to buy the specific type of insurance I WANTED, not some predetermined packages that are all bad.

If insurance companies were making huge profits, why would they continue to pull coverage from many parts of the country. Your argument makes no sense,

Now who is the "Dum Dum"???

Thanks to Rich for standing up for common sense. All the haters... get a life.

Ann Farnell
Wed, 07/19/2017 - 12:36am

Mr Hebron, don't you have employer health insurance from IBM?

Tom Herbon
Wed, 07/19/2017 - 11:13pm

No, I am retired with no pension or medical coverage from my former employers. I have been buying private insurance with no subsidies for seven years.