The Middle Class needs a doctor stat! Obamacare lives!

I am totally disgusted with today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding Obamacare and its burdensome fines as an acceptable tax on the American people.  This is from our lawmakers and judicial branch of government who pay minimal amounts for health insurance.  We foot their bills too since our taxes allow them coverage at greatly reduced rates.  Do you smell something funny there?

Obamacare

Image courtesy: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What part of this health care plan is supposed to be affordable?  Is it the part that has seen my coverage as a sole proprietor leap from $350 a month for excellent coverage to $600 for mediocre coverage?  Or is it the part that now costs $300 for emergency hospitalization only?  Maybe it’s the part that has seen many good doctors give up practicing medicine rather than work for the little money they receive as co-pays from insurance companies.  Oh no, I know, it’s the part that is likely to force these rates even higher in the next 18 months as the insurance companies dance on the graves of American small business owners.

Geeze, when did I start sounding like a Republican?  The Middle Class was barely breathing before today’s decision……….now its life support is barely functioning.

Big Bandage Needed for Affordable Health Care in 2011

I think it’s truly laughable that health care reform in this country has been called the Affordable Health Care Act, especially since this small business owner has barely been able to afford the escalating health care costs in the past three years.  Some big changes will go into effect come January 1, 2011 for those with health savings accounts (HSA), flexible spending accounts (FSA) or health reimbursement accounts (HRA).

Congress has taken away many of the items which were eligible for coverage.  Over-the-counter meds will no longer be covered under FSA and HRAs unless you have a prescription, except for insulin, which will still be covered.  For those with HSAs, you must have a prescription for all over-the-counter meds, even insulin.  These changes DO NOT apply to over-the-counter medical supplies and devices such as crutches, bandages and test kits.  The IRS website spells out the changes in detail.

Small business owners and sole proprietors, who face exorbitantly high health care premiums, often use the HSA/HRA to supplement the catastrophic coverage they purchase as insurance by making contributions which can then be used tax free.  That won’t change but the penalty will jump from 10 to 20% if you make a withdrawal for a non-covered medical expense.

 

Suffocating under the so-called Affordable Health Care Act / Image: jscreationzs-FreeDigitalPhotos.net

But let’s see how this Affordable Health Care plan really pans out in cold hard numbers.   (Please keep in mind that I am blessed with great health. ) In 2008, as  a sole proprietor, I paid $5,400 in health care premiums and had a $1,000 deductible. By 2009 my premiums jumped to $6,200, an astonishing 15%.  In 2010, I could no longer afford the “good” plan at cost of $9,600 (that’s a 55% jump from the previous year) and opted for the “catastrophic” coverage at $5,640, assuming I would contribute to an HSA to make up the difference.  I have yet to open an HSA and have curtailed routine preventive medical care because the deductible is now $3,000 in network and another $3,000 out of network.  Can someone in Congress please tell me how this is affordable health care?

By the way, as a professional sole proprietor and small business owner, I also have to pay malpractice insurance and general liability insurance premiums, which means that my insurance costs for running a small business run between $10,000 and $15,00 per year.

By the way, the insurance company just emailed me that my catastrophic rates are going up another 20% in 2011.  I need oxygen – STAT!

Next week’s midterm elections will tell the tale in Washington

I have been practicing law for 13 years yet I am still referred to by some of my more conservative colleagues as “one of those liberal media types” each time I disagree with their anti-Obama rhetoric.  I will readily admit to being a Democrat and I will readily admit to having voted for Obama because  for the past 3 Presidential elections I have voted based on the choice of vice-president rather than who would hold the top seat.  That being said, this country is in a mess whether we selected Republican or Democrat the last few times at bat.

With any luck, Obama will be a one-term President.  I say with any luck because until I see what the GOP is offering, I can’t decide what I will do two years from now.  What I do know is that come Tuesday my vote in the midterm elections is still up for grabs and that has Democrats doing cartwheels to get my attention, everything from emails from top leaders I haven’t heard from since my mic-waving days at WINS and WCBS to campaigners knocking on my door at ungodly hours.  That is the most offensive because I can just delete the emails without opening them to know they belong in my junk file.  However, when Dems come a callin’ at my house at 8:30p at night, well, they’ve just lost my vote.  When I politely tell them that I am not interested in their shpeel and then get barraged with “Why, you’re not voting on Tuesday?” they have really ticked me off.  These little door-knockin’, political wannabes have absolutely no right to harass me at home.

Listen up candidates, whatever your party affiliation, if you want  my vote, tell me how you’re going to clean up this mess.  Tell me how you’re going to revitalize this economy so that a solo practitioner with more degrees than your campaigning door-knockers can afford to live in New York State.  Tell me how my elderly mother can survive on social security which hasn’t give the seniors a raise in three years?  Tell me why my health insurance has gone up more than 40% in two years and likely another 20% this year while my deductible has tripled.  None of you can answer any of these vital questions with any clarity or absolute plan of action – not a one of you.  When you can, then I’ll be doing cartwheels and knockin’ on your door to personally thank you!  Until then, leave me alone!