Cross-posted from Rall.com:
Four consecutive weeks of Obamacare columns is enough to make anyone sick. But an update is clearly in order.
The latest ACA-related fiasco is the story, much touted by Republicans, that millions of Americans are receiving cancellation notices from their insurers because their policies don't meet the requirements of ACA for coverage. Between that and the fact that it's basically impossible to buy a healthcare plan online (you can register, but registration isn't buying), it is entirely possible that by January 1st there will be more people uninsured than before.
Granted, Republicans don't enjoy any credibility when it comes to healthcare. After all, their solution was none at all. They were fine with the current, crappy, who-cares-if-you-die system. But that doesn't mean the ACA is an improvement.
And if Democrats keep spouting talking points like the one I saw all over MSNBC yesterday, encapsulated perfectly by this post, which I found on Daily Kos this morning, they shan't long have any cred left themselves:
They are trash policies that would have left policy-holders paying thousands out of their own pockets at time of claims. Non-guaranteed renewable, limited in benefit coverage, no preventive care, and most have absolutely no drug coverage. The maximum limit of coverage, which is a lifetime maximum, and is soon reached in this day and age.The thing is, Democrats, President Obama didn't tell the public "If you like your current plan, you can keep it unless it doesn't meet the new standards." There was no qualifier. Instead he said, over and over, so often that even Americans remember, "If you like your current plan, you can keep it." The qualifier matters.
The insurance companies issuing these policies knew they had three years to comply with the mandates of the Affordable Care Act, and they decided this was the way to get rid of that line of business, and rack up more premiums on better plans. The small percentage of people whose policies are being canceled should really thank God that it is forcing them to re-look at what they have in the way of health care. Most don't even know they had inferior policies they were paying for.
Let's bring this country of under-insureds up to normal and reasonable limits for the 21st century.
Democrats are whistling past the graveyard if they think this doesn't matter. Getting a cancellation letter is a major pain in the ass. People who thought they were fine and didn't have to worry about the ACA now have to break their routines, take hours out of their lives, to deal with shopping for new coverage. They're not going to be happy about it, no matter how much they're told their old plan was shitty and worthless in the first place.
Sure, I'd rather drive a Dodge Challenger than a Honda Civic. But what Obama is doing is pulling me over, towing away my Civic and telling me I'll be fined — and have to walk home — unless I buy a Challenger that I may or may not be able to afford. That's pretty bad, but the last thing he'd better add is that he's doing me a favor.
So in other news, I received a letter from nystateofhealth, the New York state ACA marketplace. A letter. Via snail mail. Good news! "We have determined that you are eligible to enroll in a qualified health plan through the Marketplace," it reads. "Your health insurance plan will begin shortly after you have selected a health plan and paid the premium payment (if applicable).
I went online right away to log in. But...
All my personal data, all the information I spent hours uploading, including three months of personal financial statements related to my self-employment business as a cartoonist and writer, were gone!
So I got on the phone. The phone mail tree is byzantine but eventually a person picked up, accessed my account, and confirmed that indeed, I do qualify for coverage. "Can I choose a plan through you?" I asked the agent.
"No," he replied, "you'll get a letter, probably in early December. Go ahead and disregard the one you received."
Really? Disregard it? What will the second letter say?
"You'll be able to choose the plan through the letter," he said. Twice, because I made him.
"Through the mail?"
"Yes. Then your plan will be effective January 1st."
Let's hope this is true. And that it works.
Even so, I wonder: why'd they bother with the websites in the first place? Why didn't they just do the whole thing by mail?
I'll let you know what happens. Or doesn't.