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Outrage: Obama Supporters Canceled By O-Care!

From an outraged (that this should happen to Obama supporters) ProPublica:

Loyal Obama Supporters, Canceled by Obamacare

By Charles Ornstein | November 6, 2013

San Francisco architect Lee Hammack [sic] says he and his wife, JoEllen Brothers, are “cradle Democrats.” They have donated to the liberal group Organizing for America and worked the phone banks a year ago for President Obama’s re-election.

Since 1995, Hammack and Brothers have received their health coverage from Kaiser Permanente, where Brothers worked until 2009 as a dietitian and diabetes educator. “We’ve both been in very good health all of our lives – exercise, don’t smoke, drink lightly, healthy weight, no health issues, and so on,” Hammack told me.

The couple — Lee, 60, and JoEllen, 59 — have been paying $550 a month for their health coverage — a plan that offers solid coverage, not one of the skimpy plans Obama has criticized.

In fact, we have yet to see one example of those ‘substandard plans.’

But recently, Kaiser informed them the plan would be canceled at the end of the year because it did not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The couple would need to find another one. The cost would be around double what they pay now, but the benefits would be worse.

The Hammacks need to go to the White House’s Realty Check’ website. The claime that premiums will go up under Obama-Care is just a Republican smear.

“From all of the sob stories I’ve heard and read, ours is the most extreme,” Lee told me in an email last week.

Because it’s happening to him. But to quote a certain Reverend, ‘Obama-Care’s chickens are coming home to roost!

I’ve been skeptical about media stories featuring those who claimed they would be worse off because their insurance policies were being canceled on account of the ACA… So I tried to find flaws in what Hammack told me. I couldn’t find any.

Mind you, ProPublica wins endless accolades for their unbiased reporting.

*  The couple’s existing Kaiser plan was a good one.
*  Their new options were indeed more expensive, and the benefits didn’t seem any better.
*  They do not qualify for premium subsidies because they make more than four times the federal poverty level, though Hammack says not by much.

Hammack recalled his reaction when he and his wife received a letters from Kaiser in September informing him their coverage was being canceled. “I work downstairs and my wife had a clear look of shock on her face,” he said. “Our first reaction was clearly there’s got to be some mistake. This was before the exchanges opened up. We quickly calmed down. We were confident that this would all be straightened out. But it wasn’t.”

Still, if there were an opposition party in this country, they would make an ad about this. Like the ‘Harry & Louise’ ads of yore.

I asked Hammack to send me details of his current plan. It carried a $4,000 deductible per person, a $40 copay for doctor visits, a $150 emergency room visit fee and 30 percent coinsurance for hospital stays after the deductible. The out-of-pocket maximum was $5,600.

This plan was ending, Kaiser’s letters told them, because it did not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. “Everything is taken care of,” the letters said. “There’s nothing you need to do.”

The letters said the couple would be enrolled in new Kaiser plans that would cost nearly $1,300 a month for the two of them (more than $15,000 a year).

And for that higher amount, what would they get? A higher deductible ($4,500), a higher out-of-pocket maximum ($6,350), higher hospital costs (40 percent of the cost) and possibly higher costs for doctor visits and drugs…

What is going on here? Kaiser isn’t a “bad apple” insurer and this plan wasn’t “cut rate.” It seems like this is a lose-lose for the Hammacks (and a friend featured in a report last month by the public radio station KQED.)

I called Kaiser Permanente and spoke to spokesman Chris Stenrud, who used to work for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He told me that this was indeed a good plan. Patients in the plan, known as 40/4000, were remarkably healthy, had low medical costs and had not seen their premiums increase in years. “Our actuaries still aren’t entirely sure why that was,” he said…

Kaiser has canceled about 160,000 policies in California, and about one third of people were in plans like Hammack’s, Stenrud said. About 30,000 to 35,000 were in his specific plan…

Hammack [has] written to California’s senators and his representative, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., asking for help.

“We believe that the Act is good for health care, the economy, & the future of our nation. However, ACA options for middle income individuals ages 59 & 60 are unaffordable. We’re learning that many others are similarly affected. In that spirit we ask that you fix this, for all of our sakes,” he and Brothers wrote…

Since he is a loyal (ie, donating) Democrat, he might get a carve out. After all, Pelosi’s district has already gotten 20% of all the Obama-Care waivers and carve outs.

So what is Hammack going to do? If his income were to fall below four times the federal poverty level, or about $62,000 for a family of two, he would qualify for subsidies that could lower his premium cost to as low as zero. If he makes even one dollar more, he gets nothing.

In fact, what the Hammacks really want is to get a taxpayer subsidy. Even though they make over the 62,000 a year cut off. In other words, they are typical Democrats.

That’s what he’s leaning toward — lowering his salary or shifting more money toward a retirement account and applying for a subsidy.

So they are going to lower their income so that they can get a subsidy. You see how Obama-Care is helping the economy already?

“We’re not changing our views because of this situation, but it hurt to hear Obama saying, just the other day, that if our plan has been dropped it’s because it wasn’t any good, and our costs would go up only slightly,” he said. “We’re gratified that the press is on the case, but frustrated that the stewards of the ACA don’t seem to have heard.”

Oh, our sides. Obama is hurting them with his happy talk. That is so sad.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, November 7th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Outrage: Obama Supporters Canceled By O-Care!”

  1. The Kaiser let you down?

    Hahahaha. You were ignoring the clear signs of the Maginot Line as old school.

    /Kaiser
    //permanent, my muscular butt

  2. Petronius

    These kids just got their first lesson in redistributionism:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK-oQfFToVg

    The looks on their little faces as they get the message is really memorable.

    This must be what it’s like for Democrat voters to get their ObamaCare insurance cancellations / physician cancellations / sticker shocks, and then to realize that they have been betrayed by the President whom they adored and worshipped.

    Perhaps “betrayed” is too strong a word. They are, after all, true believers; in their dim little minds the divine Nerobama could never betray his acolytes.

    Yes, “clearly there’s got to be some mistake.”

    It must be those “bad apple” insurance companies.




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