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Out Here: Has Obamacare affected you?

Published: Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT
David Giuliani

On a recent day, a Tampico woman left a message with the newsroom saying her monthly Social Security check had been reduced. She blamed Obamacare. 

By the time I called her back, she had contacted the agency and figured the cut was for some other reason.

From my conversation, I gathered she didn’t like Barack Obama in the first place. To her, pointing the finger at Obamacare seemed justifiable.

Another area resident told me that the price of his insurance increased because of Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act.

He may well be right, but he went on to tell me about his opposition to Obama’s policies in general, including the president’s belief that human-caused climate change is for real. 

On health care, this man said, insurance policyholders pick up the costs of gays suffering from AIDS.

Again, he might be right. Insurance markets will always have winners and losers. For instance, those who eat well and refrain from drinking and smoking probably end up paying more than their fair share.

In the 1980s, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill that required hospitals to treat the uninsured in emergency situations. Who pays those costs? The insured.

But you won’t see that charge on your bill. It’s hidden.

Obama’s idea was to bring everyone into the system so as to lower insurance costs.

Others call for free-market solutions, but it’s hard to make a free market out of health care. We have a tendency to think we’re invincible health-wise until we aren’t. So many people don’t bother to get health insurance – or they get subpar policies that will do little to help them avoid bankruptcy when their health takes a turn for the worse.

Unfortunately, Obama promised repeatedly that people could keep their existing health care policies under the Affordable Care Act. But millions are getting cancellation notices from their insurance companies because their policies don’t meet Obamacare standards.

On Thursday, the president said the administration no longer would require insurance companies to cancel policies that don’t meet the standards. That change will be good for 1 year. It remains to be seen how that will impact the number of cancellations.

Are there folks in the Sauk Valley who lost their policies because of that? If so, let me know. I’d like to report what’s going on locally.

David Giuliani is a news editor for Sauk Valley Media. You can reach him at dgiuliani@saukvalley or 800-798-4085, ext. 525. 

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