This morning my husband forwarded an email from our insurance broker describing our choices for the coming year. After reviewing them, I feel a little like the prisoner on death row who is given a choice between hanging and the firing squad. Both will be painful, but which would be easier?
Without boring everyone with all the Olympic medal choices between plans (Gold, Silver, and Bronze), let’s just say that it has now come down to these two options. We can either pay $1,700 per month for our family and just pay the copays on our medicine (although granted they don’t cover everything) or we can fork over $1,382 per month but be responsible for the first $4,000 in prescription drugs before the insurance company picks up any of it.
Adding insult to injury, even our cheapest option is TWICE what we’re paying this year.
I know that Congress tries very hard to give accurate descriptive names to laws. Knowing how government works, they probably even have a career Capitol Hill staffer whose job is solely devoted to that task. Usually, they get it right. As an environmental attorney, for example, I frequently dealt with the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Very straightforward and easily understood.
I cannot, however, for the life of me understand where they got the name Affordable Care Act. On what basis did the word affordable come into the picture? I must be missing something because as far as I’m concerned there is nothing “affordable” about this law.
Unless I’m hit by a train or (after looking at my health care options for next year) run out in traffic screaming, I’m unlikely to ever reap the benefit as it were of the money I’m forking over for this insurance. I guess that’s supposed to be the point of the law. This is only “insurance” in the truest sense of the word in that if I am struck by said car or train, I won’t instantly be bankrupt. Instead, I will just slowly go bankrupt paying for the insurance each year.
What makes all this even more galling are the recently uncovered comments of one of the law’s chief architects, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who said in a panel discussion now on You Tube that it was the “stupidity of the American voter” that required the Obama administration to conceal the true cost of the law. Otherwise, he explains, the law wouldn’t have passed.
Also telling in all of this is the administration’s announcement of forecast numbers for enrollees for the coming year which aren’t even close to the numbers originally forecast by the Congressional Budget Office. Obviously, this shouldn’t be a huge shock since many people when forced to choose between paying every dollar they can scrape up to pay premiums and deductibles under their new health insurance policy or paying a fine, taking a daily multivitamin, and praying for good health every day will usually choose the latter option.
As for my family, I’m not sure yet what we’ll do.
I do know this much. If I’m going to have that heart attack, it had better happen sometime before the clock strikes midnight on December 31st. Otherwise, I’m not sure I can really afford it.