Thanks again, Obamacare haters
“Happy New Year!” CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield did not say.
As of Jan. 1, my healthcare premiums spiked by 15 percent to $812 a month with a $6,650 deductible for the cheapest Affordable Care Act Bronze PPO plan.
That’s not for a family plan. Just old me myself and I.
I don’t blame CareFirst for yet another big annual hike. Sorry to be blunt, but I credit the saps who knee-jerk hated Obamacare and voted for President Trump and Republican congressmen who ran on a big promise to repeal and replace the ACA with something soooo much better.
That promise was, most sentient humans knew, a bald-faced lie that preyed upon the innocent who wanted to believe. This political lie was more despicable than most because it could cause innocent people to sicken, die or go bankrupt keeping themselves and loved ones alive.
No surprise, there never was any better Trumpcare plan.
Nor any Republican, e.g., I-don’t-care plan. Not one that wouldn’t throw tens of millions of Americans out of affordable coverage when they need it most, like when they get sick.
Even under two years of a GOP-controlled White House and Congress, there still isn’t a better plan than the ACA. Not proposed, not under consideration, not pending action, not even a faint sighting on the distant horizon. Blame the Democrats? Pitiful.
We’re left with nothing but Trump’s lies and crippling of Obamacare, his shamelessly toadying GOP congressmen and boot-licking Fox News, not to mention believers who cut off their noses to spite their faces.
Some Trump puppets claim that rising Obamacare premiums are proof of its failure. They blithely ignore that insurers boosted rates to risk-manage the uncertainty caused by the concerted Trump/GOP efforts to kill Obamacare.
Like the kid who kills his parents and whines that he’s an orphan.
Meanwhile, it’s worth noting, the powerful and wealthy anti-Obamacare forces in Washington get a sweeter healthcare deal than Trump voters.
Lawmakers come under the ACA but pay just 28 percent of their healthcare premiums. They also get free or low-cost care through the Office of the Attending Physician, and free medical outpatient care at Washington-area military facilities, as CNBC once summed it up. Moreover, by repealing Obamacare, the GOP Congress could look forward to going back to the better federal employee coverage. That’s likely just a coincidence.
Also, the same Fox talking heads that lied about Obamacare enjoy gold-plated, employer-paid Cadillac healthcare coverage that’s much better than what the Trump country “deplorables” they fooled into hating Obamacare have. So do Koch Bros.-funded right-wing media and other propagandists.
But in the end, I don’t really blame Trump, the GOP Congress, or the shameless Fox and right-wing hucksters. For votes and money, they did their jobs and sold voters a pig in a poke, and many voters bought it. I blame the suckers.
So let me say thanks, Obamacare haters of America, for crippling our healthcare system.
You’re hurting not only Trump Country first and worst, but all Americans.
You’re like a chain smoker who’s giving the kids respiratory disease with secondhand smoke. You can’t help hurting yourself, and that’s a shame. But you’re threatening the rest of us.
I’m from an old dying Midwestern industrial town. I’m not one of those snarky East Coast elites. But if I were, I might say:
Thanks, Obamacare haters, for believing Trump when he promised that repealing Obamacare would lead to a “beautiful picture” — cheaper, better coverage for everyone.
Thanks for goading Trump and the GOP Congress to disrupt the health insurance market and drive up rates with executive orders and pandering votes to weaken and repeal Obamacare.
Thanks for your magical thinking, demanding affordable coverage for preexisting conditions without understanding it’s impossible without enlarging the risk pool, as the ACA does, by requiring everyone, young or old, healthy or sick, to have health insurance.
Thanks for being bamboozled by the big beautiful Trump tax cut, which you didn’t benefit from but did eliminate the penalty for not having health insurance — shrinking the risk pool and driving up rates. You opened the door for an ornery Texas judge wielding exquisite pretzel logic to strike down the ACA entirely (while he enjoys the better federal health benefits system).
Thanks most of all for celebrating the Baby Jesus this Christmas while letting GOP politicians slash Medicaid that ensures actual living current poor babies, some of Hispanic origin named “Jesus,” to get medical care. Even if their parents are also homeless and wandering.
If you cheered while Trump pledged to end Obamacare, and hate government, taxes and subsidizing people who need help, but benefit from taxpayer-subsidized Medicare, Medicaid, VA, Tricare or employer coverage, then officially, by definition, you’re a hypocrite.
If so, please stop the flag-waving and chest-puffing about patriotism. True patriots rally around their fellow Americans, especially those most in need. They don’t abandon compatriots.
Quit the righteousness about being a God-fearing Christian. True Christians love thy neighbor. They don’t let them get sick and die for lack of coverage.
Cut the quibbling about Obamacare — you know damned well it’s far better than the old system when your coverage could be canceled or jacked beyond financial reach just for needing or using it.
You know Obamacare is better than before when many people had no choice but to depend on the hospital ER when things got the worst and most costly, which was a hidden tax we all paid for.
You know Obamacare is better than when if you didn’t have government or employer-paid coverage, you could be bankrupted by cancer if it didn’t kill you or a loved one first.
What, may I ask, really is your problem with Obamacare?
Are you blinded by hate for Obama and smarty-pants liberals? I get it — liberals can be insufferable.
Do you simply hate government and regulations? You’re such a scholar of Adam Smith’s invisible hand of the free market that you believe without government involvement the benevolent health insurance industry would take care of you better and cheaper?
Do you believe all the right-wing Washington swamp-spinner crap about “death panels,” “keep the IRS out of my healthcare,” and cherry-picked anecdotes about small businesses going under?
Or do you blame Obamacare for all the ills of the U.S. healthcare system?
Or are you among those polled who prefer the ACA over Obamacare, not realizing they’re the same thing?
Or are you confused about how the healthcare system works (join the crowd; we all are) so you let Trump and Fox tell you what to think?
Or are you among the hardest hit by rising premiums, people in their 50s and early 60s like me who are self-employed and earn too much for federal subsidies? Or maybe fall into the gap of earning just too much to qualify for subsidies but can’t afford the rising premiums?
Excuse me, but these are not good reasons to hate Obamacare, and kill the coverage that’s a matter of life or death for millions of Americans. How about mend it, don’t end it?
I’m sorry, Obamacare hater, if I sound harsh or offend you.
But you recklessly let Trump and Co. kick the legs out from under our healthcare system and threaten millions of Americans, including yourselves, and I need to vent.
Not because you jacked my healthcare premiums. It’s because you still control the White House and Senate, so we’re all depending on you for our health and well being.
You have a chance to do the right thing and fix what you broke.
In November, voters changed control of the U.S. House of Representatives in no small part over fear of losing healthcare coverage and everything by getting sick.
The overwhelming vote against killing ACA was just the beginning of the beginning.
As the new political season in Washington begins, it’s now time to full-court press President Trump and the new Congress to buckle down and either sensibly mend Obamacare or replace it with something that really is better.
This is not politics. This is a matter of life or death.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer