By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
There was a guy – an attorney – in Indiana whose health insurance premiums unexpectedly skyrocketed to more than $4,200 per month.
In Georgia, a real estate agent learned that she would have to pay the full price tag for her $1,700-per-month arthritis medication.
All around the country these stories were common. So much so that people who obtained insurance through plans not offered by their company – a non-group plan – hated them so much, and found them to be so inadequate, that nearly 80 percent were dissatisfied, according to a Consumer Reports poll.
And all of that was pre-Obamacare.
Those stories came from a collection of “healthcare nightmares” featured in Consumer Reports. And they were not hard to find.
Because we haven’t even started to touch on the thousands upon thousands of Americans – hard-working, gainfully employed Americans – who were booted from insurance plans because they were “too sick” or “cost too much.”
There was a guy in Arizona who couldn’t find a plan that would cover his anti-rejection medication or the care associated with managing a liver transplant. And there was a Virginia retiree who couldn’t get coverage for diabetes.
The pining for pre-Obamacare insurance is one of the things that has always confused me most about the outrage some have over Obamacare.
I mean, it doesn’t top the silly outrage some people have over a president attempting in good faith to correct the thing that is costing Americans thousands of dollars monthly, particularly now that we have in the White House a mad-tweeting, egomaniac who would step over your dying body to pick up a dollar bill.
But second on the list of confusion has always been the people who act like health insurance was just fantastic before that damn Obama came along.
These are mostly the same people – and Alabama is filled with them – who thought Trump could quickly fix healthcare and provide, as he promised numerous times, great plans that cost much less and cover everyone. Those people, like Trump, were surprised that insurance is much more complicated than they imagined.
That’s because we’re all tied together in this thing.
And sure, you can boot 23 million people from health care plans with the Trumpcare bill that’s floating around, and you’ll likely achieve some immediately lower premiums for some people. But what you’ll also do is create a situation that was the primary cause of price increases and dissatisfaction before Obamacare.
To understand this, you have to come to terms with a couple of things.
First, in America, we are not going to allow a treatable sick person to suffer and die. And we’re especially not going to allow thousands, even millions, of them to do so.
Second, when a person fails to pay all or some of his or her health services bill, that cost will eventually be paid by you through higher premiums.
Prior to Obamacare, our insurance premiums were kept artificially low – yet increasing at higher rates than post-Obamacare – by insurance companies booting sick people from rolls, refusing to pay for expensive medications, refusing to cover expensive treatments and jacking up prices for those with pre-existing conditions or people who just went to the doctor more.
Any fool can see that booting people off rolls – and there were more than 45 million uninsured at the time – created a perpetual cycle in which those people got sick, we ended up paying the bill and/or insurance companies booted more people from rolls to afford the rising costs and repeat.
Outside of a single-payer insurance structure, Obamacare’s mandates – both that everyone purchase insurance and insurance companies cover everyone – were the only real option.
Certainly there are tweaks that need to be made and corrections that should occur – and those things could be done if we could get Republicans to stop using the law as a campaign tool and actually work for the people they represent.
Because Obamacare is fixable. It could be a system that brought great benefits to people and actually lowered costs.
Going back to what we had before never will.