When People Tell You that Problems with Obamacare Have Been Solved, Don’t Believe Them

Facts are stubborn things, and facts will not allow anyone to truthfully claim that all is well in the land of Obamacare:

“If you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance — this law will only make it more secure and more affordable,” President Obama promised in 2012.

The fact that this wasn’t true would be our biggest disappointment. In November 2013, Jim [the writer’s husband–ed.] learned his small-business policy would be canceled because it didn’t comply with the new mandate to cover pediatric dentistry and maternity care. So Jim went to Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange, to look for coverage for his employee and himself.

He found that the cost of his employee’s individual “bronze” plan monthly premiums went up 13 percent, and that his own new individual “silver” plan was also more expensive. In 2014, Jim was individually paying $82 more a month in premiums. The deductible (the amount you have to pay before the insurance company starts footing the bill) did go down — from $5,000 to $2,000 for each individual insured. But if you added together 12 months of premiums, the deductible, and the new policies’ out-of-pocket maximums, we were potentially on the hook for $13,260 — rather than the $11,024 from 2013 — if Jim got very sick. Around this time, Jim was diagnosed with prostate cancer, so the threat of high medical bills was real.

The individual plan I had with Blue Cross was canceled, too. The bronze plan I got at Covered California raised my monthly premium payment from $301 to $422, with a $5,000 deductible. The maximum I might be responsible for if I got really sick went from $8,612 to $11,314.

[. . .]

We canceled Blue Cross and enrolled in Blue Shield so Jim could see his urologist. Then, when the urologist’s office said they didn’t accept Blue Shield patients enrolled through the state exchange, we canceled California Covered Blue Shield and bought directly from the insurance company, even though that meant foregoing the subsidies.

But the urologist wouldn’t accept our new Blue Shield plan – even though the Blue Shield website said he did. Jim’s regular dermatologist left Blue Shield, too.

In each case, the doctor’s office said the reimbursements for the insurance we had were too low. In each case, the receptionists chirped, “We’re happy to make you a cash patient.”

[. . .]

What Obamacare hasn’t eliminated is worry: We’re deeply concerned about our ability to get quality medical care from doctors we trust. The day may soon come when we can’t afford the plans our doctors accept, or we’ll have to wait hours to seen. Will the best doctors flock to a cash-only model? How long can a good doctor be satisfied with the $39.75 the insurance company paid her for my annual check up a few months ago?

Of course, it goes without saying that none of this matters to the politicians and pundits who have a vested interest in convincing you that everything is now fine and dandy with our health care system. But those people–including Hillary Rodham Clinton, who aspires to be our next president–should have their feet held to the fire and asked to respond to stories like the one linked above. And power should not be given to anyone whose response is in any way lacking or substance-free.

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