Mandatory Health Insurance part 3

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oh no.

first good economic news, and now this!

Amid the Uproar Over the Health Law, Voices of Quiet Optimism and Relief

Since his chronic leukemia was diagnosed in 2010, Ray Acosta has paid dearly for health insurance: more than $800 a month in premiums, plus steep co-payments for the drug that helps keep him alive.

Mr. Acosta, 57, owns a small moving company in Sierra Vista, Ariz., which he said had barely made it through the recession. He was thinking about dropping his coverage, but the insurance company beat him to it, informing him recently that it would cancel his policy at year’s end.

He sought advice from an insurance agent who had used his moving company. She connected him with an application counselor at a community health center, who found — to Mr. Acosta’s astonishment — that he qualified for Medicaid under the new health care law, the Affordable Care Act, which gives states the option of expanding the program to include more low-income adults.

“I’m kind of in a disbelieving fog,” Mr. Acosta said last week, two days after completing an application. “I’m just hoping, keeping my fingers crossed, that this might really help me out.”

The rollout of the health care law has been plagued with problems so deep that even some of its strongest supporters have soured on its potential. The bottlenecks in the federal online insurance exchange, which serves 36 states; the cancellation of hundreds of thousands of policies that did not comply with the minimum requirements of the new law; and the high price of some plans sold through both federal and state-run exchanges have all cast a pall over President Obama’s efforts to win support for the law.

But for all those problems, people are enrolling. More than 243,000 have signed up for private coverage through the exchanges, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, and more than 567,000 have been determined eligible for Medicaid since the exchanges opened on Oct. 1. For many, particularly people with existing medical conditions like Mr. Acosta, the coverage is proving less expensive than what they had.
Many others are getting health insurance for the first time in years, giving them alternatives to seeking care through free clinics or emergency rooms — or putting it off indefinitely.

Not all who need health insurance are happy with their new options. Many have complained that the prices are too high, especially if they earn too much to qualify for federal subsidies. And many will have a limited choice of doctors and hospitals under the new exchange plans, which have “narrow networks” to hold down premiums.

But Mr. Acosta, like the people in the following profiles, says the health care law has given him a cautious sense of hope.

He lives alone and has turned to his siblings at times for help with his insurance and medical costs. And those costs have at times been high: He sees an oncologist in Tucson twice a year and sometimes needs expensive tests that his current insurance does not always cover. He has also recently been stretching his medication, a drug called Gleevec, which helps make his type of leukemia manageable, to ensure he would have some on hand if he became uninsured.

“After being gouged all these years, trying to make ends meet, to all of the sudden get this?” he said. “I’m really blown away.”

Claire He grew up worrying about her parents’ health. Her mother, who is a waitress, and her father, who is a cook, work long days at a Chinese restaurant in Battle Creek, Mich., where they settled after immigrating from China 14 years ago. Health insurance has always been a luxury they could not afford.

Whenever her parents got sick, it fell to Ms. He, who is now 23, to help them navigate the patchwork of low-cost health services available in their city. Members of the community came together in 2012 to pay her mother’s medical bills after tests uncovered precancerous cells that, left untreated, could have led to cervical cancer. Her mother receives care from a clinic that treats women and children, but Ms. He has had less luck finding a doctor to care for her father, who suffers from smoker’s cough and other ailments. Both of her parents are in their 50s.

“My dad, he’s getting older, and frankly he’s having a lot of health issues,” said Ms. He, who is studying public health as a graduate student at the University of Michigan. “It breaks your heart.”

Ms. He and her brother, who is a year older, did not have health insurance growing up, aside from a few years when they were teenagers and enrolled in Michigan’s health insurance program for children. “If we had the flu,” she said, “we just stayed home and waited it out.”

Twice, the family has combined visits to China with comprehensive medical checkups, paying out of pocket to visit doctors and stock up on prescription medicine, which Ms. He said are less expensive there.

This Thanksgiving, she and her family sat down to explore their options in the new insurance marketplace. After about 45 minutes online, they selected a midlevel, or silver, plan that would cost the family about $30 a month, after tax-credit subsidies based on income.

“We were shocked,” Ms. He said. “I actually called a few places to verify that.”

Ms. He is on her parents’ plan because the health insurance her university offers is not comprehensive enough. Her brother, an engineer, receives insurance through his employer.

“I see so much negativity behind this,” she said of the criticism of the new law. “But in reality there’s a lot of families who are like mine.”

At 61 years old, Bruce Kleinschmidt, a lawyer who is mostly retired, has no illusions about whether he needs health insurance. He has a chronic sinus condition that has required three operations, including one last year, and has had a few serious accidents over the years, including a fall that required back surgery. Doctors also recently diagnosed a heart condition.

“I just don’t believe in not being insured,” he said.

Last spring, Mr. Kleinschmidt moved to Louisville, Ky., to care for his parents and be near his family. Kentucky is successfully running its own state exchange, and he is among the 5,600 who have signed up for private insurance since Oct. 1. He said he had chosen the most generous plan available from Humana, a large national insurer based in Louisville. He did not apply for federal subsidies, he said, and the policy will cost him about $550 a month, roughly $300 less than the Blue Cross plan he has now.

Although Mr. Kleinschmidt was usually able to find coverage through his employer, there were times between jobs when he had to enroll in state programs aimed at people who have potentially expensive medical conditions. Before the Affordable Care Act, which requires insurers to offer policies to everyone seeking them, carriers were reluctant to cover him.

“I have been declined before,” he said.

The coverage available through the state high-risk pools for people like him, Mr. Kleinschmidt said, typically have “extraordinarily high premiums with really high deductibles.” On the state’s new online exchange, he was able to select a plan from a well-known insurer that came with a deductible of only $1,000.

“It’s a godsend,” he said.

Although he had trouble signing up through the website because it froze when he first tried, he said, it took only about 90 minutes to enroll after he called someone at the exchange, which is called Kynect. His only concern now is that he has yet to hear directly from Humana so he can set up a payment plan for his premiums.

“I’m going to call them next week,” he said.

Tasha Huebner, 45, had long wanted to leave Chicago, but one of the biggest roadblocks was the fear of losing her health insurance. Ms. Huebner learned that she had breast cancer five years ago and, given her costly medical history, knew the chances of a new insurer accepting her were slim.

So when she finally sold her house and moved to Silverton, Ore., this year, she did so knowing that the new health care law would soon make it much easier for people like her to get coverage. Under the law, insurers cannot turn away people with existing medical conditions, nor charge them more for coverage.

Ms. Huebner, who works as a marketing consultant, pays $780 a month for coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, even though she has left the state, and was recently told that her plan’s premium would increase to $820 in 2014. The increase made her worry that she might have to go without insurance.

This summer, Ms. Huebner applied for new coverage in Oregon, but two insurers refused to cover her, even just a few months before the law would require them to do so.

“It made no sense to me — I was like, you’ve got to be kidding,” she said. “The train has left the station.”

So she turned to the new exchange after it opened on Oct. 1. Oregon’s online marketplace has not worked properly, but Ms. Huebner figured out that a midlevel plan would cost her about $300 a month — within her budget. If she qualifies for subsidies — which is uncertain, given her unpredictable income —her bill may drop to about $150, she said. She applied through the mail and is awaiting approval.

Ms. Huebner said she is in good health and is training for two half-marathons. But she needs annual mammograms and checkups with an oncologist, and she lives with the knowledge that her cancer could return.

“I’m young,” she said. “The chances are that it will come back.”

For that reason, she said, being able to afford health insurance is “just a huge, huge relief.”

how awful! :(

with people now able not to die or go bankrupt from illness or live in a shadow of dread that such an illness could destroy them, what is one who is praying for bad news to do?
Melissa Harris Perry Likens "Derogatory Term" Obamacare To The N-Word | Video | RealClearPolitics

MSNBC's Melissa Harris Perry Likens "Derogatory Term" Obamacare To The N-Word

Speaking of bubbles; how about the Leftist media/academia bubble where howlingly false dichotomies and preposterous analogies, like in the cartoon above and the thoughts of MSNBC hosts, are treated as meaningful commentary.

sorry to beat you to the punch, but i know that you were just about to post this in order to denounce it:

Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison, 18 of them in a small cell on Robben Island, fighting the curse of South African apartheid. Rick Santorum has spent hours in TV studios fighting the curse of millions of poor Americans acquiring healthcare insurance.

The parallels are too obvious to ignore. At least if you are Rick Santorum.

Mandela, he told Fox News within hours of the great man’s death, “was fighting against some great injustice. I would make the argument that we have a great injustice going on right now in this country with an ever-increasing size of government that is taking over and controlling people’s lives — and Obamacare is front and center in that.

Rick Santorum compares Obamacare to apartheid in clumsy Mandela tribute | World news |

one difference between Rick Santorum and someone on MSNBC is that Rick Santorum was once an elected official from the GOP, and he ran for the GOP nomination for president in 2012 and placed 2nd overall to Mitt Romney. so his credibility, pull, and influence inside the GOP are utterly incomparable compared to Rachel Maddow's understudy.

glad you caught this. :up:
Al Sharpton: GOP worse than apartheid supporters; Gasbag Chris Matthews agrees [video] | Twitchy
Al Sharpton: GOP worse than apartheid supporters
Appearing this morning on “Now With Alex Wagner,” Sharpton compared the presidential election of Nelson Mandela with that of President Obama — in his trademark coherent style, of course:

“Well, I think there’s a lot of differences between how Mandela became the first black president of South Africa and the United States, President Obama. But I think one of the differences, in addressing directly your point, is that at whatever point, we don’t know, de Klerk and his allies decided it was in their interest to make Mandela’s presidency successful for the good of South Africa. They didn’t like it, they ran against him, but for the good of the nation, to have this great reconciliation, we need to make this work. I don’t think that has happened with President Obama. There are those who have said that no matter what, he can do whatever it is miraculous, we are determined to have his demise. And we don’t care if the country suffers. Shut down the government, whatever. And I think that’s the big difference in the opposition they faced is, is there a commitment to the country over your partisan positioning.”

Ex-presidential candidate: check
Delusional analysis and analogy: check

Now rather than go back and forth, I can admit there is a right-wing bubble that can distort one's views over time. Can you admit there is a Leftist bubble as well?

In the spirit of the holidays can we agree on at least this?
Now rather than go back and forth, I can admit there is a right-wing bubble that can distort one's views over time. Can you admit there is a Leftist bubble as well?

I do believe that there's been a bit of a drift to the left lately among liberals, but conservatives drifted to the right earlier.
Are there bubbles on both sides? Absofuckinlutely... But who has the bigger one? That's no contest, and it's not exactly a compliment.
Now rather than go back and forth, I can admit there is a right-wing bubble that can distort one's views over time. Can you admit there is a Leftist bubble as well?

There is, but it seems like the right-wing bubble is more vocal and more irrational. I just saw on Facebook that my radical conservative sister is liking Facebook pages that talk about how Obama will bring about the apocalypse and we're in the end times, a la Michelle Bachmann. Thousands of others are liking those pages too.

I used to think she was totally ignorant or looking for approval from our dad. But clearly she is losing her mind, or lost it long ago.
I do agree that most of MSNBC is a circle jerk, though I admire aspects of Matthews (his passion and insight about how the political game is played) and Maddow (sheer intelligence and the ability to really pick apart an issue).

Most of the rest if them, including Sharpton, I mostly can't stand. And I am happy that both Martin Bashir and Alec Baldwin are gone, even if Palin (VP nominee, half-term governor) actually said the more morally offensive thing (ACA=slavery).

There are absolutely bubbles, I agree.

Never fear, pajamaboy is here!!
So What Was The Point of Obamacare Again? | National Review Online
Early signals suggest the majority of the 2.2 million people who sought to enroll in private insurance through new marketplaces through Dec. 28 were previously covered elsewhere, raising questions about how swiftly this part of the health overhaul will be able to make a significant dent in the number of uninsured.

Insurers, brokers and consultants estimate at least two-thirds of those consumers previously bought their own coverage or were enrolled in employer-backed plans.
Note, this is after decades of liberals insisting that the uninsured were desperate to get insurance and years of Obama officials and defenders swearing that this law would make it happen. Indeed, in order to make it happen the Democrats blew up the entire health-care industry casting millions of people off their existing insurance plans. When those people went to exchanges to sign up for new ones, the Obama administration took credit for it, as if they were doing something for the uninsured. But barely 1 in 10 of new Obamacare enrollees were previously uninsured.

So you're not going to follow me on Twitter then?

Also, The National Review describes itself as America's most widely read and influential magazine and web site for conservative news, commentary, and opinion, so you know you're getting non-partisan, unbiased opinions.
all i'm seeing from that graph is in one month, the number fell from 17.3% to 16.1%. how is that a bad thing? was the author of that article seriously thinking the number would fall to 0%? that's laughable. as usual, this is just some article designed to create panic and rage for the uninformed on the right - note it doesn't even explain or even try to guess why or how these people are uninsured. the moral's just "well it's clearly obama's fault! obamacare obamacare!"

no talk of those who still can't get insurance in states (RED states, btw) that refuse to expand medicare and thus don't qualify for obamacare, but can't afford to pay the premiums offered. no talk of the homeless in every state. nope, it's just "well obama swore he'd give us insurance and fix the economy and gosh golly it's been five years and he waved his magic wand and it hasn't been fixed yet!" geez.
"But barely 1 in 10 of new Obamacare enrollees were previously uninsured."

I wish I had a barely 10% chance to safeguard myself from future disasters.
People who don't have insurance or don't think they need it, and the youngest, are the ones who will likely sign up at the very end.

You know, just like in Massachusetts under Gov Romney.

I really enjoyed O's defense if the ACA. In fact, when you hear about children who can now get asthma medicine or people who actually don't go bankrupt because they have cancer, it sounds like the ACA is political offense. I suppose Republicans like it when middle class people are ruined by hereditary diseases, but that's going to be a tough thing to defend in 9 months.

There is unarguable good in the imperfect ACA. Run on that.
People who don't have insurance or don't think they need it, and the youngest, are the ones who will likely sign up at the very end.
i can't speak for all those who are currently uninsured, but i won't be signing up at all. i just have to suck it up and pay a fine. my state is refusing to expand medicaid, my income is $0, yet i can somehow afford at least $130/month. okay.

i've gone without insurance this long, i'll just have to go a little longer.
Not for political purposes mind you but because it's His law, Good King Barack has unilaterally postponed the employer mandate again... until 2015 or 2016.
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