By Grace-Marie Turner
Americans are seeing first-hand the damage Obamacare is doing to their personal health-care arrangements, and the article in today’s Wall Street Journal about California cancer patient Edie Littlefield Sundby show that the danger can even be life threatening.
For almost seven years I have fought and survived stage-4 gallbladder cancer, with a five-year survival rate of less than 2% after diagnosis. I am a determined fighter and extremely lucky. But this luck may have just run out: My affordable, lifesaving medical insurance policy has been canceled effective Dec. 31.
My choice is to get coverage through the government health exchange and lose access to my cancer doctors, or pay much more for insurance outside the exchange (the quotes average 40% to 50% more) for the privilege of starting over with an unfamiliar insurance company and impaired benefits.
Countless hours searching for non-exchange plans have uncovered nothing that compares well with my existing coverage. But the greatest source of frustration is Covered California, the state’s Affordable Care Act health-insurance exchange and, by some reports, one of the best such exchanges in the country. After four weeks of researching plans on the website, talking directly to government exchange counselors, insurance companies and medical providers, my insurance broker and I are as confused as ever. Time is running out and we still don’t have a clue how to best proceed.
Many people like Ms. Sundby who are in the midst of chemotherapy and others who have a child with chronic illness or have other serious health needs are genuinely frightened about their loss of insurance and the difficulty of finding an affordable alternative.
Representative Fred Upton (R., Mich.) introduced the “Keep Your Health Plan Act” to address the growing problem. He introduced the bill on behalf of himself and every Republican member of the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee, which he chairs.
“This legislation is about providing folks the peace of mind that they will be allowed to keep their current coverage if they so choose,” Upton said in a statement. Senator Ron Johnson (R., Wis.) introduced similar legislation in the Senate. The bill would grandfather currently existing plans into Obamacare and rescind a slew of new mandates the law put on those plans.
The president and his allies are desperately trying to paint Republicans as obstructionists who have been, from Day One, trying to keep them from getting the benefits the law promises. Now that people are seeing for themselves the real costs of those “benefits.” It is incumbent on Congress to protect Americans from this next wave of Obamacare’s destruction.
Posted on National Review Online November 4, 2013