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For this week’s syndicated column, I’m going to continue my adventure with Obamacare (spoiler alert: it’s a disaster). Here’s a sneak preview:

Miracle of miracles, I was finally able to comparison shop on New York State’s healthcare marketplace.

If you’re like me, and you have a suffix (Sr., Jr., III, IV, V) in your name, the website does not know what to do. It kind of explodes.

All the plans offered by New York State do not allow you to go “out of network” for healthcare. In other words, you have to use a doctor in each private insurer’s list, or they don’t pay a cent of reimbursement. But — Catch-22 — there’s no way to find out whether your doctor, or your local hospital, or clinic — is on the list because the site’s primitive search function is “disabled” “due to overwhelming response.” Call me underwhelmed.

So that’s that.

Then there’s the rates: not low. Not affordable. Not, as Obama said, comparable to your cellphone bill.

New York State’s healthcare plans range from Fidelis Care’s “Bronze” plan at $810.84 per month to $2554.71 per month for something I didn’t bother to look up because if I had $2500+ a month to spend on doctors, I’d buy a doctor and have him/her live with me and dole out pills like I was Michael Jackson.

The deductibles — the amount you pay out of pocket every year before you the insurer has to give you anything at all — are outrageously high. Fidelis Care Bronze has a $3000/year deductible per person. I’m in pretty good health; it’s a rare year I spend that much on doctors.

After the $3000/year deductible, they pay 50% of your bills. So if you rack up $5000/year in medical bills, you pay $4000 and they pay $1000. Pretty damned crappy.

Worst of all, and contrary to the Obama Administration’s claims that we’d be able to apply for subsidies to offset these high insurance rates, there’s no sign of how or where you do that on New York State’s website.

This experience reminds me of Obama’s Make Home Affordable scheme, the voluntary refinancing plan the big banks used to avoid refinancing mortgages for distressed homeowners. I knew Obamacare would be bad, but I seriously had no idea it would be this bad.


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