LEtter: the cost of ‘affordable’ health care

April 15, 2014

Dear Editor,

Last week we passed a historic milestone. The new “Affordable Health Care” sign up deadline came and went. We all witnessed our president take a victory lap as over 7 million people had visited the new government website. The initial goal was to have 9 million people signed up by the first of April. The revised goal was 7 million signed up and to date we only know with certainty that 7 million got on the website. Still missing is specific numbers as to how many are newly insured and/or actually bought insurance coverage. We are assured that all is well and prospects going forward are great.

Lost in the excitement of this shiny new toy are the real life consequences to millions of hard working, typical Americans, many of whom are your neighbors and friends. Our president made many fine sounding promises. Among them, “many uninsured Americans will now be able to afford health insurance” and “that the average cost for insurance coverage will be reduced by nearly $2,500 per family”. The reality is that many middle class Americans will soon be unable to afford this “Affordable Health Care”. I am happy to share my own personal testimony.

My wife and I are in our early 50’s, non tobacco users and in fine health. I am a full time farmer and my wife works part time. We have been buying our own health insurance for many years. I hesitate to call it good insurance as individual deductibles are $6,000 each and my family deductable is $12,000 each year. In reality, I consider it disaster insurance so that in the event of a serious issue I won’t be required to sell the farm to pay hospital bills. Even though I was satisfied with my coverage, the government insists I need better and they know how much. At my renewal date this September, my deductibles will remain unchanged but my wife will again have maternity coverage and I will pick up a few preventative care options. The crisis is that my premiums will go from $430 a month to over $10,000 a year. Some friends of mine, one a farmer and another a retired minister, both in their early sixties have told me that their premiums have sky rocketed to the unbelievable costs of $22,000 and $18,000 annually. When asked, the insurance companies blame the more than doubling of the cost to the new law.

Please take a second and consider people you know who are self employed and will find themselves in similar situations. I think we have a responsibility to inform our community of the reality of how the Affordable Care Act will hurt our neighbors and the economy. The truth is that we have created a new class of Americans who now cannot afford health insurance. This new class looks just like you, hardworking and honest but now a victim of “Obama Care”.

Our president continues to change the law, exempting many and delaying employer mandates until after upcoming elections. The reason is obvious, hide the truth from the public until certain politics can be continued. Don’t be fooled. Even if your employer currently provides much of your premiums do some math. Multiply the numbers of your fellow employees by a $5000 increase each (using my personal real life example) and know you to are going to end up paying and paying big time. It is of little wonder why so many businesses have not been expanding and hiring in light of the alarming new costs on the near horizon.

Chris Barnett, Marengo