Liberal journalist feels mugged by Obamacare

Written by . Posted in 2014 Campaigns, Issue Watch

Published on March 26, 2014

This op-ed in today’s New York Times, by a former Washington Post reporter, makes an amusing and unfavorable comparison of his own Obamacare coverage with the health insurance he has purchased for his dog. Read it here, but here’s the part where he describes what it was like to see his premium double and his access to care reduced at the same time:

I’d long been frustrated at how health care shackles people to corporate jobs. I believed this legislation, signed four years ago this month, would free people to pursue their dreams, start new companies and not worry about the health insurance penalty.

What I didn’t count on was that it would make things harder for me and my wife.

First, we were notified that we would be kicked out of our existing $263-a-month Anthem Blue Cross plan because it didn’t meet the minimum standards of the new law. No problem, I thought. The plans in the new Covered California exchange would most likely be better and cheaper.

But we were shocked at what we confronted. The least expensive premium for a couple like us in our 40s would be about $620 a month. And because our household adjusted gross income is likely to be over the $62,040 cutoff this year, it’s doubtful we’ll end up with a subsidy to help offset that price increase.

Having always had insurance, we began to wonder if we might have to go uninsured, but in the end, we enrolled. It’s as if we just bought a new car that we will never see and that we can never pay off.

The gulf between my health care world and my dog’s was driven home the other week. I have mild asthma. Normally it’s not a problem, but when I get a chest cold, it becomes severe. One recent day I found that I couldn’t breathe. My inhalers were all expired. I’d held off refilling them since my insurance would reduce the costs of the $58.99 inhalers only by a little more than $9. I knew from past experience that I probably needed a prescription for antibiotics, so I tried frantically to find a medical facility that would take our new Covered California Anthem Blue Cross bronze plan. When I did, they said it would be three weeks before I could see a doctor. Instead, I went to the drugstore and bought all the nonprescription medication that might help.

So, are all of these stories still lies? Or is this the norm for the entire Middle Class in the individual market?