The Best of the Forge
After nearly 10 years with the individual “blue” plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, with a premium of $402 per month and a $5,000 out of pocket deductible, Vicki and Jim White received a letter in the mail that infuriated them. They are a hardworking, responsible, healthy couple, so they chose a health insurance plan with a higher deductible, and were putting money in a health savings account.
Previously a small business owner, Vicki is the office manager at a physical therapy clinic. Her husband, Jim, is a high school math teacher and coach. They are conservative to the core and suspected from the inception of the Affordable Care Act that it wasn’t going to be good for the country or America’s healthcare system. But they weren’t prepared for the massive blow Obamacare would be to them personally or how this letter would make them feel. When you hear how much Obamacare changed things for them, you’ll understand why.
The letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield notified them that under Obamacare, their insurance premium would leap from $402 per month to $1,380.28 per month – roughly a 344 percent increase – if they want coverage comparable to their current plan. This 13 hundred dollar “gold” plan has a $6,000 out of pocket deductible.
Andrew Fuller is a self-employed Virginia resident who has been purchasing a health insurance plan from the individual market for himself, his wife and three children for more than a decade. He currently has a core share policy with a monthly premium of $417 per month from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. It has a $1,500 deductible per individual with $10,000 maximum out of pocket expenses.
But Obamacare came along, and now all of that has to change.
In July of 2013, Anthem informed Andrew his policy would not be renewable on the renewal date of February 1, 2014, but that after October 1, he would be able to find out which policies were available to him. On August 6, 2013, Andrew created an account on HealthCare.gov so he would be prepared to apply for coverage under Obamacare.
HealthCare.gov is not the biggest problem with Obamacare, though it’s getting the most media coverage. The real problem is the law’s viability (or the lack thereof), and even some of the law’s most prominent supporters, like Bill Clinton, have said without healthy young people, Obamacare doesn’t work.
The website may get fixed, but if and when that happens, the underlying policy remains just as unworkable.
During her testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee Wednesday, Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA) 12% asked Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius how she and HHS plan to convince people to return to HealthCare.gov to sign up for Obamacare once the website is fixed.
The Washington Post has a provocative headline this morning: “Poll: Majority of Republicans OK with revenue increases.”
After asking a series of questions about the debt, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation pollconducted by Global Strategy Group asked respondents: “If both parties were to agree on a long-term solution on the national debt, I would support it, even if it includes revenue increases that I don’t agree with.” 54-percent of self-identified Republicans agreed.
Word choice matters here, and the decision to use “revenue increases” as opposed to “tax increases” was intentional (every word in a poll is carefully chosen). Peterson’s spin on the poll was that everyone wants “a majority of voters in both parties are willing to give ground on key issues in order to achieve a much desired, long-term fiscal solution.” To arrive at those polling results, the questions whitewashed the policy prescriptions being discussed, i.e., tax increases.
Sperling, the National Economic Council Director and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, went to great lengths to promote the Senate’s amnesty bill in the most emphatic terms:
The CBO has scored the immigration bill as reducing the deficit, by almost $900 billion over the next 20 years. So if you’re asking yourself right now, what is one of the most promising, bipartisan things we can do to reduce the long term deficit you should be supporting and actively fighting for passage of the comprehensive immigration reform that passed in the United States Senate.
The Heritage Foundation has refuted the false claim that the Senate-passed bill would reduce the deficit.