The Affordable Care Act is Not Affordable and No One Cares

acanotI just came from turning in my insurance forms this this coming year. Once again I cannot afford to add my family to my employer provided coverage.

And, because my employer follows the law and offers coverage, I cannot qualify for subsidies in the ACA exchanges. So we can’t afford to insure our family there. Luckily I don’t make a lot of money, so my kids qualify for the CHIP program here in Texas. And we are Christians so my wife can get covered through one of those Christian Co-Ops. So we won’t get fined/taxed/penalized for not having coverage we simply cannot afford. I had to swallow my pride and take a government hand out so my children could have health coverage, because I simply could not afford it under the Affordable Care Act.

I don’t blame my employer. They offer very good insurance, and they pay about $6000.00 for my coverage. But if I want to add my wife to that same plan, then I must pay over $500 per month. If I wanted to add my children, the price would inflate to over $900 per month. I don’t know a lot of middle class families that could afford to lose over $10,800 annually.

Years ago, before the ACA was passed, I was self employed, and I had a plan I liked. My family was well covered with supplements and major medical. Then the ACA went into effect, and I got a letter saying that my plan was no longer offered, and I would have to shift to a different plan for a 300% increase in premiums. It had been more economical and effective to have a major medical plan with supplemental plans to cover us for basic services. In the new post-ACA world, I must spend more for less coverage.

That continues to be the case today.

I often see friends complaining online about how much their premiums are going up. I hear on the news about Healthcare Exchanges that are going out of business. Healthcare is not getting better.

I know that something had to be done. There were real issues with the old insurance/healthcare system, things that needed to be addressed. But this ACA is a horrible replacement for what we had before. I don’t know one single person who has better coverage for less money. From what I’ve experienced and heard, if you had insurance before the ACA kicked in, you are less happy with your coverage now.

Occasionally I will hear people saying that since the ACA has been passed, and some people who did not have coverage before now have it, you can’t take it away. Why not? The government took away my coverage and forced me to find an alternate/ worse plan. The current system under the ACA is not working. Exchanges are crashing, and costs are rising on plans that offer less coverage for more Americans. What we have now cannot continue for much longer. Something has to be done, sooner rather than later.

And no one with the power to do anything seems to care. Oh sure, there have been bunches of show votes where Republicans tried to “repeal” the ACA,but that did exactly jack squat for my family, and everyone else adversely effected by the ACA rules. Democrats seem to be afraid to criticize the President’s signature legislation, even though there are obvious problems with it. In many ways middle class Americans are worse off now than before, regarding insurance.

Our elected representatives are more interested in talking about how they care than doing something that actually helps us. This will be a big concern for me in the upcoming elections. I don’t want to hear a Republican say they will repeal the ACA, I want to hear them say what they will do to replace it. I want to know how they will help my family have better coverage for an amount we can afford.


Obama’s Snitch Line and the End of Public Discourse

Once in a while I need to say something about politics. Bear with me, I’ll be back to other topics later.

I ran across a link to this story, where a person who commented on a news story was reported to the government for quoting his state’s motto in criticism of the president’s views on healthcare. Because the motto has the word “die” in it, the Secret Service actually called him to check out the comment as a threat.

This story mentions the now infamous “snitch line” for reporting “fishy” information about the health care reform… excuse me, health insurance reform. There is so much misinformation and political spin out there that it may be impossible to know what is actually true about the bill until it passes (or is defeated). I suspect that the Obama administration would like it if articles like this one would be “flagged” so they can refute the claims there.

In short, I don’t like the degree to which the government is messing with healthcare. I think we need some reform, but nothing to the extent we are hearing about. And don’t get me started about a single-payer system.

But what I find much more troubling is that the standard response is not public discourse and debate, but an ever lengthening stream of talking points to beat down opponents. To ask Americans to watch out for “fishy” statements from those that disagree with them? To go so far as to set up an easy way to report those statements? Oh, I know, it must just be an attempt to get the “truth” out there.

By publicizing it, and now beginning to act on these tips, the government is intimidating those who would disagree. What average person wants the trouble of dealing with being reported for speaking their mind on a political issue? We are apathetic enough as a country, this will discourage many from speaking out. Sure, the officials you ask would deny that was their intention, but it is intimidating.

Now we see the federal government (with the help of their liberal supporters) in a propaganda program to stifle public discourse, and discredit those who speak out as being part of some sinister right-wing mob. Right. The polls (so closely followed in the election, but now ignored) show a major shift in public opinion on this matter. But, Democrats can’t imagine that regular people would speak out in public town hall meetings, and ask hard questions. Surely they must be part of some vast plot to publicly defeat the healthcare measure. So they are beginning to be very selective about who they let into these meetings. These public town halls are becoming a bigger farce than ever. If conservatives voice their opinion, they are “not representative” and are some sort of organized plot to derails a bill they don’t want. So we exclude people that we know have a differing opinion… and the town halls fail in their purpose. Our elected leaders are secluded from opposing views, and the people don’t get to hear why the leaders support the bill. Just because Democrats are conspiracy theorists.

While the Republican leadership may want to control the masses, conservatives are still pretty fed up with them, too. No, these people are just exercising their rights under the constitution. They are making their voices heard. If the left really thinks that radio talks shows have this much power, no wonder they are pulling out all the stops. These are not pawns of some right-wing mob, they are regular people with an opinion. Just because it’s one you don’t like, you shouldn’t ask other Americans to snitch on them, or defame them and accuse them of being part of something sinister.

Were the shoe on the other foot, liberals would be screaming their throats raw about this. Freedom of speech is a right even if you are wrong. Intentional or not, it is inexcusable for the government to intimidate citizens under threat of being reported for what they say about a political position. If this kind of thing keeps up, how long until all public discourse is gone?