My annual health care costs will drop at least $60,000 in 2014 thanks to the health insurance exchange the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is operating.
This financial relief comes just in time. After Obamacare was signed into law in 2010, my health insurer rushed to cash in while it could, jacking up our premium 29 percent over the last two years and another 13 percent in 2014.
Our new costs would likely drop further if Georgia had a state-run health insurance exchange. Unfortunately, Gov. Nathan Deal is deliberately undermining Obamacare so he has refused to implement a state exchange. Nor has the Georgia Chamber of Commerce — the purported advocate for small business — lobbied Deal to establish an exchange.
Our 24 employees will go to the federal exchange to select policies. Silver Plan benefits offered there closely match what I currently provide. The cost for most of these plans is lower than what we now pay and about half of my employees will qualify for tax credits they can use to purchase their health insurance. As I have always done, I will pay a portion of their premiums.
Thus, an employee with three family members earning $46,000 who paid $595 per month for health insurance in 2013 will pay less than $100 per month in 2014 after tax credits and my employer contribution.
My employees are free to decide what coverage they buy, no longer stuck within the limits of the insurance we offered. Unlike pre-Obamacare days, they cannot be refused coverage for pre-existing conditions and their policies won’t be canceled if they get sick or injured.
Georgia small businesspeople continue to be swamped with relentless Chicken Little prophesies coming from the conservative media and Georgia’s congressional caucus.
Rep. Tom Price: “The last thing that this nation needs is this law that will destroy quality healthcare in this country.”
Rep. Phil Gingrey “This (roll-out) fiasco is yet another warning sign of Obamacare nightmares to come.”
Rep. Paul Broun: “Obamacare will destroy everything in America.”
If Obamacare is so awful, why not just let it fail? Democrats will suffer politically and Republicans will pick up seats in Congress and maybe even win the White House in 2016.
Here’s the answer: “People will like it,” tea party Sen. Mike Lee admitted during a recent interview with Rush Limbaugh.
Yes, the online rollout was botched. Problems will be fixed by Nov. 30. Some insurers cancelled junk policies that can be replaced with superior plans, in many cases for the same or less money.
Nevertheless, Republicans branded Obama a heinous liar and demanded accountability. For them, I’ve got just two words: mission accomplished.
Recall this is the same crowd who showed no interest in accountability after President Bush, on the wings of his infamous “mushroom cloud” lies, sent American troops to Iraq in search of non-existent WMD and 4,487 of them came home in caskets.
But Obama gets no benefit of the doubt, let alone any help from the GOP as he reforms a broken system while providing decent insurance coverage to 40 million Americans and lowering the nation’s run-away health care costs.
Conservative hypocrites are bound to be exposed as the real liars when stories like mine are repeated across Georgia and the U.S. by individuals and business owners who discover Obamacare’s bottom line benefits.
This time next year, when Republicans are claiming credit for healthcare reform, Georgia voters need to remember their deceitful words and ask why it was Price, Gingrey, Broun and Deal so dishonestly stood in the way of something so good for Americans and American business.
Kevin Foley is a public relations executive, author and writer who lives in Kennesaw.