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In his effort to try to convince Americans that the Affordable Care Act was going to be affordable, and that benevolent big government cared, President Obama exclaimed, "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. Period."
We are not even two weeks into the implementation of the state exchanges, which are part of the president's signature health care law, but even long before now millions of Americans began finding out that they cannot in fact keep their health care plans.
Today, I was contacted by another victim of ObamaCare. Her email to me simply stated "I do not get to keep my plan." She enclosed a copy of the letter she received from her insurance company, BlueCross BlueShield, explaining that her plan was no longer going to be available since it was not in compliance with the ACA.
The letter goes on to state that though her out of pocket costs will go down, her monthly premiums will increase. She shopped online through their website, and the statement in the letter about costs was only half true. Her premiums will in fact increase, but so will her deductible and out of pocket costs.
The options posted today are far less affordable than what she had before. For a plan covering much of what her previous plan covered with a $3500 annual deductible, she will now pay $180 a month. Just a few short months ago she paid $350 every three months for a plan with more coverage and a $1500 annual deductible. The cost increase is a staggering 95.1 percent. If she actually gets sick or has to go to the hospital, she could be paying $5,660 a year, that's $2,760 more than the year before.
"I can't afford that," she responded when I did the math with her during our phone interview.
"That's almost 15 percent of my take home pay. I'm going to be paying almost double for a plan I doubt I'll even use. They told us this law was going to help insurace be affordable. They lied. I'm being responsible and paying for my own care and I don't know how long I'll be able to afford to do that now."
She's a 32 year old healthy female with no pre-existing conditions, and has been paying for her own health insurance since she graduated college. As a research assistant who works on contract, she does not have an employer sponsored plan. She shopped for the plan that best fit her needs, and her budget, and she had one, but now it's gone.
ObamaCare is hurting the very people it was supposed to help. ObamaCare relies on the young and healthy to buy plans they may not even need and can't afford, in order to subsidize the costs of health care for older, sicker Americans. Even if she signs up for a state exchange, there's no guarantee the subsidy (around $30 per month) will come anywhere close to covering the increased costs.
When asked during the interview if she'd continue paying for her own care she responded,
"Look, I want to continue to be responsible and pay my own way, but I'm only going to be fined $95 if I don't have health care right? I can also opt in after I'm sick because they can't deny someone with pre-exisiting conditions. Who would pay these rates for insurance they may never need?"
Exactly. ObamaCare is filled with perverse incentives, and yes, incentives matter. Instead of crafting health care legislation which increased competition, reduced costs and offered high risk pools for those with pre-existing conditions, Democrats in Congress passed a law that raises rates and encourages people to make less money in order to get free goodies from the government.
Bravo Mr. President, bravo.
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