Those who criticize Obamacare most loudly probably haven’t actually signed up. The following is my families’ experience as small business owners:
Health insurance costs at the end of 2013 for our family of four had reached more than $2,000 per month. Since this entailed a $1,000 per person deductible, a big co-pay and didn’t include medical or dental, we typically paid nearly all of our own medical bills on top of our health insurance bills. This came to $3,000 to $6,000 per year (on top of our insurance payments).
The one year we had a health emergency, the insurance company probably spent about 1.5 years of payments, after we’d paid our $6,000 plus about $20,000 in premiums. We’d been carrying this policy for at least 10 years and every year it went up 10 to 15 percent.
When we signed up for the Affordable Care Act, our health insurance bill immediately dropped about $250 per month from the same provider, Blue Cross, and now our children’s dental and optical are fully covered. Additionally, the insurance pays for a big portion of the doctor visits and general care that we need, as opposed to the rip-off policy we had before. A subsidy lowers the cost of insurance further still. Additionally, people can no longer be excluded to protect insurance company profits. That part of the law is a godsend for some of our friends and family. I hear complaints from occasional people claiming that their old policy was better, and frankly, I find them hard to believe.
The Affordable Care Act is far from perfect. Signing up was frustrating because of software issues, it doesn’t address the profiteering that riddles our health care system and makes it the most expensive system in the world while generating mediocre results. Obamacare is the best that could be done with a health care industry that owns a big slice of whatever political party you’re rooting for.
The next time someone tries to get you angry about Obamacare, make sure you remember how much that person or organization did to improve your health care situation in the previous 30 years: Nothing.
• Stuart Cohen is a small business owner and Juneau resident.