ObamaCare wipes out health care plans in Alabama, New Jersey
Earlier this week, bad news arrived in mailboxes across New Jersey, as people discovered their health-insurance plans had been wiped out by ObamaCare. Plans that didn’t measure up to the mandates imposed by the Affordable Care Act were being canceled, despite President Obama’s infamous vow that “if you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”
How many folks in New Jersey were affected by this latest failure of Obama’s campaign promises? Oh, only about eight hundred thousand or so. The Star-Ledger reports this development “surprised some who were unaware that provisions in the new law known as ‘Obamacare’ were forcing insurance companies to scrap some plans they had previously offered.”
Big Government plus low-information voters equals wacky hijinks! Some are optimistic that satisfactory new plans will be developed to replace the attractive coverage they lost. Others are sounding a bit grumpy:
Maryann White, 74, of Toms River said she was frustrated by the news. She liked the plan she had and is worried that whatever new plan she buys will cost more. Though she is engaged in the process, she said, many seniors find it difficult to understand their options.
“This is really a shame,” she said. “I’m not criticizing. I’m just saying, ‘Give us a break.’”
Well, actually, you are criticizing, Ms. White. Unless by “give us a break” you mean “write us one of those special waivers people with the right political connections have been getting, and screw everyone else.” If you think seniors find it tough to understand their options now, wait until they get a load of the website they’re supposed to use. Americans young and old are learning what the term “404 Error” means.
Things went from bad to worse in Alabama, whose residents first learned family insurance premiums would be skyrocketing by 300 percent, then got the bad news that Blue Cross would be cancelling most of its individual plans in the state. From a report relayed by Bryan Preston at PJ Media:
WSFA-TV in Montgomery, AL reports that self-employed and small business owners in Alabama are about to hear bad news from Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Reporter Bethany Wales reports today that “BlueCross has to cancel what they call the vast majority of its individual plans because they don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act. The president and CEO of the company says its working to match customers with a plan that close to what they’re already paying for. The problem? They are incredibly more expensive — double, sometimes triple, what customers are paying now and the benefits don’t think to measure up with that lower benefits and higher copays.”
President Obama promised Americans that even if his signature health care law passed, if they liked their current health plan, they could keep that plan.
So much for that.
“I talked with the customer on the individual with plan today, he’s been paying $523 a month for his family of four,” Wales repors. “Starting in January his premium is going up to more than $1,100 a month. As an extra $600, he’s not sure he can find in his budget. And the Blue Cross says the Affordable Care Act requires a rating structure that is drastically different than anything that was used before. Requiring things like rating family by the number of people, so large families have to pay more. Now this customer says his family is only four members, two of them are in college, so he shares his dilemma about keeping his family covered, tonight at 6.”
As Preston observes, in practice ObamaCare is boiling down to “a surcharge on larger American families,” which is exactly the opposite of what America needs. Large families are good. Actually, from a social standpoint, they’re critical. There are few more important interests for any society than fostering large, stable families. One of their important contributions to the social fabric is giving young people a solid home environment through their education, and a good head start into the job market… but ObamaCare soaks young, healthy people as badly as it hurts large families. One might almost think it was a deliberate social engineering program designed to crush families and youthful independence.
New Jersey and Alabama provide large-scale examples of disruptions happening across the country because of ObamaCare. The New York Post talked with a very unhappy camper in Brooklyn who doesn’t understand why nobody else in the media wants to discuss her $250 per month ObamaCare premium hike:
“The president of the United States promised me repeatedly that if I liked my plan, I could keep it. End of story. This was a lie, and I will never for forgive him or anyone who cooperates with him for this egregious deception,” said Heather Cross, a 45-year-old widow from Williamburg.
Cross said she was doing just fine with insurance bought under a “sole proprietor plan” that allowed self-employed individuals to pool for coverage with small businesses, a policy unique to New York.
She said she was paying $568 a month.
But then she got the same sort of cancellation letter that hundreds of thousands of people in Alabama and New Jersey just received, and her premium for comparable coverage under ObamaCare shot up to $817.98, at which she “blew her top.” She makes good money – $90k a year, according to the Post story – so she doesn’t qualify for tax subsidies. Doubtless the class warriors will sneer that someone who makes ninety grand can afford to shut up and give socialism the money it demands. But why should people who committed no crime cheerfully fork over $2500 or more per year in fines? Cross works as a tutor – she’s no “one percenter,” not by a long shot, and President Obama vowed that he wouldn’t increase taxes on people like her.
Furthermore, there’s no reason for anyone to warmly embrace the notion that people who make a bit less money than she does will receive taxpayer assistance to cover their $2500 premium hikes. The middle class will be transformed into another welfare dependency… which was one of ObamaCare’s true goals all along.
The Heritage Foundation collected some more stories from people facing budget-busting premium increases under ObamaCare, and is encouraging more people to send in their stories:
George Schwab, who lives in North Carolina, was notified in a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield on September 23 that his current plan doesn’t meet Obamacare’s benefit requirements and would be canceled at the end of the year. While Blue Cross did suggest a comparable plan, it was $980 more than what he now pays.
The President told the American people numerous times that… ‘If you like your coverage, you can keep it,’” Schwab told The Charlotte Observer. “How can we keep it if it has been eliminated? How can we keep it if the premium has been increased 430 percent in one year?”
Michael Yount and his wife, a retired couple in North Carolina, buy their individual insurance through Blue Cross Blue Shield and pay about $380 a month with an $11,000 deductible. But they were just informed their new plan will be three times the price, costing them $1,124.50 a month, The Christian Science Monitor reported. The couple said they plan to drop out of formal health insurance, pay the penalty, and “self-insure.”
Cindy Vinson in California “will pay $1,800 more a year for an individual policy,” reports theSan Jose Mercury News. She is an Obama voter who was surprised by the personal impact of Obamacare. “Of course, I want people to have health care,” Vinson said. “I just didn’t realize I would be the one who was going to pay for it personally.”
None of these people have been allowed to make rational decisions about what they want, and what they’re willing to pay for it. None of them were dealt with honestly by President Obama and his allies. They were lied to, pure and simple – kept sedated with phony promises that nobody would take their preferred health care plans away, period, while a massive bill was shoved through Congress by people who didn’t read it. Now they’re being told to shut up and accept the New Normal, no matter how badly the President’s program fails them.
I personally dislike the “human prop” strategy for making political arguments, but that’s how things work these days – political debates must be personalized to become effective. There’s no reason it should be an exclusively liberal strategy. Republicans need to get some of these folks on stage for press conferences and photo ops. The Left is all about abstract costs and humanized benefits – a lot of people get quietly rooked, while a few grateful beneficiaries are hauled onstage at political rallies. ObamaCare’s failure isn’t just about website errors. It has a very human face.