Let me begin my saying that I truly believe Barack Obama cares. He’s not an evil despot figuring out how to run for a third, fourth, or even fifth term, thereby allowing himself the time to create the socialist caliphate that a very small (but very vocal) group of nutcases assume is his nefarious apocalyptic vision.
Instead, I see Barack Obama as an okay President that lives roughly in the center (sometimes veering left, sometimes veering right), who has fair-to-middling leadership skills (in a time when we need amazing leadership skills) and who has essentially bet his legacy on this one thing which, despite it’s real name, most of us now recognize by its eponymous title, Obamacare.
But Obamacare is a mess, at least for me.
As a sole proprietor I have my own insurance, and for the last few years I’ve been writing checks for reasonable coverage for both myself and my wife. I have a wide spectrum of doctors to choose from, and the drug coverage, frankly, exceeds my original expectations.
But now that’s all going away. Yesterday I received a letter in the mail from my insurance company. The letter informed me that every single plan they currently offer in NH is being eliminated, replaced by six plans that, strangely enough, break down into two “bronze,” two “silver,” and two “gold.” In comparing those six plans to the six plans available to me through the Obamacare exchange, I found out that—surprise, surprise—they are pretty much exactly the same. And, by the way, they are the only company offering anything in NH. So much for choice…
So I figured I’d better check out the healthcare exchange. (NH uses the federal exchange, having opted not to run its own.) This turned out to be a true technical nightmare. On four separate occasions I managed to create my profile only to find it unsaved, dumped mercilessly into an ocean of bits and bytes that flowed who-knows-where. (I’m guessing the NSA.) Once I had finally surmounted that problem, I found an endless list of questions and answers that I had to complete just to find out what plans were offered in my state. But that would have been too simple, apparently Had this been some other site—say Target or Best Buy—and they’d required a bunch of personal information just to do a friggin’ price check, then I certainly would have bailed. But I couldn’t. I have to have insurance, after all….
I did finally get a look at the plans offered (hence my ability to compare them to the plan I’m losing), but I then made the mistake, apparently, of refusing to make a snap decision, and now I can’t get back in at all. A very nice (and obviously battered) customer support rep informed me that I should try checking back in the middle of the night when traffic was lower. I kid you not.
And so I’m now faced with a painful process of having to deal with a technical nightmare in order to buy something that I don’t like but have to have. Here’s the short list of the “benefits” I’ll see from Obamacare:
- My current plan is going away. Everything close to my current plan is going away. And there is only one provider available. My choices have essentially been eliminated.
- One of our current doctors—someone my wife trusts and has worked with for a while now—is no longer “in plan.” That doesn’t mean, as it used to, that the coverage level is reduced. It means the coverage for going to that doctor is zero. Basically, under Obamacare I no longer have complete choice of doctors.
- One of the medicines we get every month is no longer covered. At all. And it ain’t cheap.
- My annual deductible will double, meaning that I can expect more out-of-pocket costs before any coverage (other than basic wellness) kicks in.
And, for the privilege of this reduced coverage, I get to pay more than I’m now paying for my current plan.
Okay, okay. I realize that this is anecdotal. I’m just one guy. Obamacare has undoubtedly helped millions. But as a program it’s highly flawed. Any plan that takes a perfectly bell-centered middle class guy like myself and hurts him isn’t doing what a caring Obama wanted to do.
So, yes. Once we get through this budget/debt ceiling debacle, Obamacare needs to be “on the table.” This is a well-intentioned but very flawed omnibus that needs careful and thoughtful overhaul so that middle-class people don’t get hurt.
Can that happen? I don’t know. The rhetoric is so thick on both sides that it’s hard to imagine. The right needs to accept that Obama cares, and the left needs to accept that Obamacare is flawed.
We shall see…..