Tag Archives: Obamacare

My Obamacare Experience, or Why is it that Republicans Hate Small Business/Entrepreneurs?

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Obamacare, the ACA (Affordable Care Act) has been a godsend to me.

Republicans Hate Entrepreneurs. Sad!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alas, the Republicans think it’s bad (even though it was their plan) and so they’re going to replace it with something cheaper and much better (according to their new leader). I can only think this will be Medicare for All. Yeah, I wish, and don’t we all?

Just looked up some old stats: In 2007, when I was freelancing full time, I was paying a $502 per month premium for Kaiser HMO coverage. I was (and am) a single man in Los Angeles, aged 52 in 2007.

This past year, I had an ACA (Obamacare) policy through Covered California, again it was a Kaiser HMO plan, and I paid $180 per month. I got a significant subsidy because of my income level. The actual monthly premium was $663. For this year (2017) the premium is $734/month, of which I’ll pay $200. (The same plan — it went up 11%.) The subsidy goes directly to Kaiser Permanente. I never see a penny of it. So for those who hate the subsidy idea, please be reminded that the funds go to overpriced insurance companies, big Pharma, medical device companies, and doctors. The subsidies don’t go to the patients. Your tax dollars are going to support those megaindustries, not for actual healthcare for Americans.

So I’ll be 62 this year.

As a freelancer (I write B2B copy and am an author) with pre-existing conditions (including glaucoma and a history of cancer) I could not get insurance with the system we had before. Or, if I could (like the example above, from 2007), it was a catastrophic plan with high premiums and high deductibles and co-pays, which means basically that I was just insuring my assets against a catastrophic health care loss. Those assets were a condo (since sold) and an IRA retirement account. I wasn’t getting any actual health care for the insurance premiums.

That catastrophic plan also did not cover any prescriptions, which I paid for out-of-pocket.

My current Obamacare Silver-level plan does cover prescriptions, and the co-pays for visits and lab work are affordable (I think I pay about $8-10 per a visit to either; scripts are $10-20 for a 90 day supply.)

If the Republican zeal to roll back things like pre-existing conditions becomes reality, I will again be unable to find insurance. Who, at age 50 or better, does not have a pre-existing condition? Life is a pre-existing condition. This is absurd.

There’s a couple of other issues that I want to touch on. One is Ageism – and the near impossibility of finding an appropriate full time job with health insurance at my age. I haven’t been able to find a full time job in my field since 2010, hence the part-time work and freelancing. Also, employers are moving away from providing benefits in large part due to the ACA and the ability for an individual to buy a policy on the exchange. Decoupling health care from employment, isn’t that the direction we wanted to go? Do we really want to go back to that?

Which brings me to my last point —

Why do Republicans hate small business and entrepreneurs? I always thought they were the party of personal responsibility and commerce. Keeping health insurance tied to employment is 1) arbitrary, and 2) stupid. How many people keep their jobs JUST because they get their healthcare insurance through that job? How many Apples or Facebooks or Starbucks never come into being because people can’t afford to gamble with their health coverage to become entrepreneurs?

So, no, Paul Ryan, you’re wrong, again. Obamacare isn’t a nightmare or a disaster. It’s a lifesaver. It has problems, easily fixed. Why don’t you just do the easy thing and try to fix it instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater? Oh, right, it’s named after that black president, isn’t it, and we certainly can’t have that. That is the real issue, the whole country knows it.

Obamacare – Update on my health “CARE” for 2015

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Greed

Greed

Please read:  Michael Moore’s opinion piece in the NYT.

In this piece he argues that, Ok, Obamacare is really awful, but probably not for the reasons you would think. It’s awful because it kept the horrid American Health Insurance system intact instead of destroying it. Obamacare is a godsend to many, but it’s also a giant government payola giveaway to Big Health and Big Pharma. He’s right, it is.

So it’s a start in the reform we so desperately need in this country, and what we need is a Single Payer System, Medicare for all. And this will eventually come, I do believe that. I’m not sure how long it will take, I might likely be dead by then. But I urge you to read his piece if you haven’t yet.

Obamacare has helped me, personally, as a part-time freelance worker. I get a subsidy, though when I actually go to receive health care, I have huge deductibles. So, honestly, I try to do everything in my power to stay healthy, and for me that really means eating right and exercising plenty and getting good sleep every night and trusting in my genes.

One of the most infuriating things about the plan I do have (a Bronze HSA plan) is that I pay percentages of co-insurance rather than specific dollar amounts of co-pay. So it’s all smoke and mirrors, since there are no price lists, there is no comparing one health care “store” with another since I’m at an HMO where everything is basically under one roof.

So — it’s not ideal, but it’s better than it was, and with Obamacare, I have to have prescription coverage, which I didn’t have before – because that’s required as part of the law.

But what I really wanted to point out in this “update” is, that contrary to everything you read in our right-wing media that hates Obama and anything having to do with him or the ACA — my premiums actually DECLINED for 2015. That’s right – the same plan is about 7% cheaper in 2015 than it was in 2014. So I guess market forces have lowered costs somewhat – there’s 30 plans I could choose from on the Covered California exchange, so maybe that made it to the Kaiser boardroom where they set their rates.

Whatever the process, I do benefit – and if I don’t get sick and don’t go to the doctor, I really, really benefit. But I ask you, truly, is this the way we want to run health CARE in this country? Hoping you don’t get sick and avoiding care to the very last moment? Because that’s still the way it is, even with the insurance – the enormous co-pays and deductibles almost guarantee it.

Single Payer Now. I count the days, or I would, except it’s too far off in the future — for the day I turn 65 and Medicare kicks in. (OK, it’s 5 years away, 2020)

“Best” U.S. Cities for LGBT Equality

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Milwaukee skyline from Lake Michigan

Milwaukee skyline from Lake Michigan

Interesting data! Richard Florida, the author of the “Rise of the Creative Class” books, has this post in the Atlantic Cities site, about where certain cities rate on LGBT Equality Indices – and which include criteria such as non-discrimination, relationship recognition, the municipality as employer, the municipality’s services and programs, the municipality as law enforcement, and the municipality’s relationship with LGBT community.

As might be expected, cities with the highest scores were concentrated on the West Coast and the Northeastern Corridor, those solidly (and thankfully) progressive areas which set the cultural tone for the rest of the country. But – I was delighted to see that the two cities in Wisconsin that I’ve lived in – Milwaukee and Madison – were also high on this list (as was, of course, Chicago).

Like in so many things and in so many ways – I was reading earlier today of certain states refusing to implement the Medicaid provisions of The Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), the states in the South lag far behind in LGBT equality and gay rights indices.

That report, like this one, indicates that most of the old Confederacy retains much of those 19th century values. But even there, there’s signs of change and hope – bigger cities, such as New Orleans, Atlanta, Tampa and Miami have better than average LGBT equality scores.

Another thing Richard Florida points out is that for a city to be considered “creative,” as in, will creative people want to live there and contribute to the culture, it’s got to possess the 3 T’s – which are tolerance, talent and technology. Makes sense to me.

Related topics:

Freedom to Marry

Lambda Legal

Los Angeles Gay Center