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I'm so sad and disappointed

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Re: I'm so sad and disappointed

  • smerka said:
    I am obviously not reading the same thing. Because that all sounds relatively peaceful to me. They aren't talking about kicking anyone out or punching people in the face. But I am not sure it will accomplish anything. They don't exactly outline what they want Congress to do.

    Sure it does sound peaceful but some of them were here in our city last week throwing things at cops, using profanity and trying to hurt a horse. I'm totally fine with peaceful protesting but that's not always the case.
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • snp605snp605
    Tenth Anniversary 100 Comments Name Dropper 5 Love Its
    member
    edited March 2016

    But I just pray that if, whoever gets elected wants to repeal the ACA, they don't just blindly throw out the baby with the bath water.  Because what we had before was barbaric.

    I know I am always getting on my soapbox about this, but I've found that most people...unless they or someone very close to them has a major medical condition...just have no idea that, before the ACA, hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of people could not buy independent insurance AT ANY PRICE for ANY TYPE because of a pre-existing condition.  Could.Not.Buy.Insurance.  NOT EVEN a "calamity" plan where at least if something major happened...not related to their condition...they would still be covered.  Not even that.

    Think about what your life would be like if you were unemployed and not allowed to buy any type of health insurance.  But you're not feeling well.  So you go to the emergency room, because you can't afford to see your regular doctor.  You wait 12+ hours.  But finally get to see the doctor.  Bad news.  You need to have your appendix removed.  Pretty routine, low risk surgery.  Except it is going to cost $25K-$40K.  You've had health insurance most of your adult life.  This incident just happened to occur in the 3 months you were in between jobs.  But that doesn't matter, does it?  You don't have insurance now because no one would sell you an independent policy, even before the appendix problem.  Where are you going to get the money?  What are you going to do?

    Sure, at least the hospital will do the surgery because it is medically necessary without all or even any of the money up front.  But they still expect you to pay for it.  That's not the kind of money most people can just throw around.  It would have a devastating effect on most people's finances for many years to come and/or wipe out much of what they have worked their whole lives for.  Never mind if something really serious happened while not being allowed to buy insurance, like being diagnosed with cancer.

    Thankfully, I entirely made up the story about the appendix needing to be removed.  But that was exactly the kind of thing I was the most terrified about for the year I was unemployed (at the worst part of the economic downturn) and couldn't find any company to sell me even a catastrophic policy.  Never mind that I haven't set foot in a hospital for 20 years.  And while my scenario might have been made up, I would expect there are many many real examples of something like that happening to people in the decades before the ACA.

    Actually I don't have insurance now. Contrary to what one might think I haven't had insurance for more of my adult life than I have had it. When I was younger I couldn't afford it due to being a single parent. Then I got it for a short period of time until the bubble burst. I can't afford it now because despite it's name, healthcare is zero percent more affordable for people like me.I lost it during the economic downturn when my company had to economize to stay afloat. My husband is self employed and my employer does not offer health insurance since we are a small business. We ran the obamacare website and for the bronze plan with a $5000 deductible, our family premium for 3 people is 1100 dollars per month. So we would have to pay 17,0000 per year before we saw insurance pay the first benefit from insurance and then it would only be a percentage of the cost! In some areas this is not that much but I live somewhere where starting salaries for teachers is around $28K per year and attorneys for the government start around $36,000. I'm basically a glorified secretary where I work  so you are talking about something that is more than HALF of my yearly wages which pretty much nullifies any income I might bring into our household after taxes. For all that was spent on setting up bad websites, advertising, etc. we could have set up a nationwide high risk pool for people who did not qualify for regular insurance plans, insured them instead of setting a stage where insurance costs are still uncontrolled and have spiked so high people like me who don't work for large corporations can't afford it. People don't realize how much of their premium is subsidized by their employers, are negotiated down due to the size of their employers or how much of their income is left over to cover these costs because they live in a higher COL area with higher wages.

    I am that person who if I got cancer or even needed an emergency appendectomy it would render us bankrupt. However, we can't eat if we pay for insurance so we have to roll the dice.  We can't even buy a catastrophic policy anymore because they just aren't cheaply available anymore and we would still subject to the tax penalty anyway thanks to ACA. And before anyone gets on too much of a high horse in their head with stereotypes about the things I have but don't pay for health insurance -I have no cable tv, have not been on a vacation in over 9 years, do not have a landline telephone line, I do not have an i- anything no ipad, no iphone, etc. I have a 1996 vehicle and a my husband drives a 2010 vehicle both of which are paid for. We live in what would be considered a starter or entry level home. My kid goes to public school and I don't own a single piece of designer clothing, purses, makeup or like item. We aren't squirreling away thousands of dollars a month living like misers and trying to skip out on anything. Thanks to the taxes on small business, on paper it looks like we make a lot when we apply for insurance but really we are just treading water *without* paying an insurance premium.  We'd LOVE to have health insurance. As such, we can only budget out enough to cover our youngest daughter ($300+ per month) and stay solvent. We are trying to squirrel away enough this year that we might cover my husband next year because he has corneal transplants that are over 20 years old and need to be re-done and a mild heart condition that if left unchecked much longer could kill him. Coverage for me isn't even on the radar of possibility.

    There is an entire subset of people in our country like me who work 40+ hours a week but because we don't fit the stereotype of the govt worker or the worker for a large business we are left in the dust. I'd like to think as a tax paying American that I was at least marginally as important as the person with a pre-existing condition who couldn't buy health insurance before. You've basically traded one group of uninsurables in for a group of unaffordables.
    image
    BlueBirdMB
  • If the bronze plan premiums are more than 8% of your income, you are exempt from the insurance penalty. You may also qualify for your state's insurance
  • vlagrl29vlagrl29
    2500 Comments Sixth Anniversary 500 Love Its Name Dropper
    member
    edited March 2016
    also if you can go and talk to an insurance agent with the provider you prefer to get you a more accurate quote that is always best- subsidies are available to those earning 60k a year or less.  We are a family of 3 - both of us are self employed. Our AGI is $30k and we qualified for a $600 per month subsidy.  If you're self employed it goes by your AGI not Gross Income.

    ETA - before we were with the ACA we bought a plan privately from our insurance agent that was $230 per month for a $17k max OOP - in addition to that though he had us buy a $50 per month plan that would pay for all but $1000 of all our max OOP if we had a situation like the appendix one above.
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • To be clear, I don't think many/most Republicans or Libertarians, or people who want smaller government, are opposed to reforming health care and/or health insurance and for making sure people have access to affordable health care who truly need it. What we are against is government mandated health care that forces everybody, whether they want/need it or not to buy it. And, we dislike how it puts so much burden on small businesses.

    The USA needs a better health insurance system. But, the ACA also isn't fair to a lot of people. What about the people who work for small businesses who got put to part-time employment because their employers cannot afford to pay them as much and on top of that insult, they then STILL have to buy health insurance (as mandated by law) and it's NOT cheap. So they have lower work time and lower pay, which means they have less money every month to go around and on top of this they are forced to spend money on HI.


    BlueBirdMB
  • On a related note, I'm giving up on the presidential race, and focusing my energies on our state Congressional race.  Frank Guinta is our Republican Congressman and he is everything that is wrong with politics.  Disgusting liar and he should, but won't, resign despite being found guilty of violating campaign finance laws and then lying about it repeatedly.  Several Republicans are running against him and I'm fairly confident in who I am backing and I think I'd like to campaign for him this summer.  Just as important to research and vote for good Senators and Congressmen as Presidents.
  • @snp605 and @MommyLiberty5013, I actually totally agree with both of you and I'm not even saying the ACA is the answer.  I was more saying what we had before was worse.

    Health insurance costs skyrocket every year.  But that was true before the ACA also.  Maybe it is somewhat regional, but I really haven't seen health insurance for independent plans in my area go up any higher (other than what they historically go up) after the ACA went into effect.  But yes, EVERYONE should have access to affordable health insurance.  I think one of the biggest failings of the ACA is it does nothing to address the exorbitant medical costs our country faces.  And much of those exorbitant costs come from our long standing history of the vast majority of people being insured through their work, through a private insurance company.

    So, the consumer doesn't care how much a procedure costs, because their insurance pays it anyway.  The hospitals/doctors/pharmacies charge exorbitant prices, because they know the insurance companies will negotiate them down anyway.  But for someone without insurance, they're stuck with the over-inflated price.  The healthcare industry is an entity all its own that is not affected by the same type of market forces that helps to keep prices down and efficiency up, like in most other industries. 

    I'm a fan of high deductible plans.  When a consumer is responsible for the first $3K or $5K or whatever of their total medical bills, it forces people to think more wisely about their choices and to price shop more.  It brings back a little bit of that market force.

    So, you'd think those would be cheap plans since the vast majority people on them never even have the insurance pay out anything over the course of the year (except for a wellness visit).  Heck, even with my major medical condition, I never meet my deductible for the year and pay for all my care and medication out of pocket (which is fine).  Except they're not cheap plans.  As @snp605 pointed out, even those plans are shockingly expensive considering they're basically just the "new" version of a catastrophic medical plan.  

  • smerka said:
    If the bronze plan premiums are more than 8% of your income, you are exempt from the insurance penalty. You may also qualify for your state's insurance
    NC does not have state insurance and only medicaid if you are disabled, pregnant or under 18. While it is more than 8% of my income it is not more than 8% of my husband and my income combined. He owns his own business and there is a lot of debt from when everything tanked back in 2007/2008. We had a 70% drop in income which caused us to close down most of his business. However, those bills from that business don't just go away because you let go of all of your employees and move to cheaper space. Phone contracts are typically around 3-5 years long (business phone service is expensive!), business loans taken when the business was soaring, busting out of the seams in 2006 still require payments even if you are no longer using that equipment or building, business credit card debt that you used to pay employees and keep the place going when everything just stopped overnight suddenly is still payable. Even though you pay the debt out of current income you still pay tax on that income as if you brought it into the house. So if By way of example, if he made 70K per year after current business expenses not including business debt but pays 25k on that debt we still get taxed on the 70K even though he only actually brought home 45K. That's about a 25% tax bracket plus the self employed tax. That takes about 25kish in taxes owed. Take that out of the 45k he actually brought home and he would bring home less than 20K. We only have another year or two until the old business stuff is finally gone but it exists and we are not the only people positioned like this. Once it is gone we will have to start taking care of some things that have been put off while we clawed and dug ourselves out of this pit. House repairs have gone undone, my daughter needs 6K+ in orthodontics, etc. It would likely be, even at current rates, about 3-5 years before I can see any chance that insurance would be even remotely something we could budget for us as a family.

    I'm kind of tired of the kneejerk reaction from people that just because it worked out ok for them or someone they know they think that it must be ok for everyone else and the rest of us just aren't trying or looking hard enough or don't know how it works. We are a nation of unique people in different places in life. I am likely a totally different age, live somewhere with different healthcare costs and completely different policies allowed by state laws than someone else who got a policy much cheaper.

    Another example is a good friend of mine who was leveled by a chronic illness suddenly. The disability process was over 2 years. During that time some friends and family collectively covered her expenses (rent, food, insurance, etc). She was paying her health insurance premiums but had to shift to the ACA subsidized one when she lost her job due to absences related to her illness. The ACA subsidized one kept her for about 3 months but once they discovered that she was not working they dropped her and would not let her keep her insurance even at a full rate because she couldn't prove she could pay for it even though she'd never missed or been late with a payment! So someone with a major chronic illness had to go almost 2 years without insurance until her disability claim was resolved because of the arbitrary rules of the ACA.

    We did nothing about costs, there is nothing that takes the massive profits out of healthcare and the monetary incentives to continually charge more. I'm not just talking about the health insurers either.   I'm not opposed to the reforms. I love that people with chronic conditions can get health care. I don't think kids should be be denied. I don't think that the emergency room doctor should ever be labeled as an "out of network" charge. Those were pretty easy fixes. The coding system needs to be fixed too. Right now though, even with insurance, if I have to pay out of pocket due to a deductible, I can't even call a doctor and get an estimate because it all falls back to the same answer that "it depends how it is coded". This would likely keep me from going if I am on a fixed budget.

    Then again, I'm not convinced government should be in the healthcare business anyway. Any time you get govt involved it seems like things get more complex and expensive than if they'd just left it alone.

    Our local and congressional races are just as depressing as the presidential. {sigh}
    image
  • snp605 said:

    Our local and congressional races are just as depressing as the presidential. {sigh}
    Really?  Why is that?  I know nothing about NC politicians, but I'm always interested in learning about other members of Congress outside of my own state.

    Our congressional race has been labeled by a few news sources as "the race to watch of 2016".  It's rare that an incumbent is run against by 3 other members of the same party, but this guy has one of the lowest approval ratings in Congress.  I can't believe he got elected in the first place.  He was the mayor of the largest city in the state and his time there was filled with controversy too.  I really like two of the guys running against the incumbent, but I'm pretty sure I'm voting for one over the other because he is liberal on social issues (he's actually a gay Republican) and I really like his economic policies. 
  • snp605snp605
    Tenth Anniversary 100 Comments Name Dropper 5 Love Its
    member
    edited March 2016
    snp605 said:

    Our local and congressional races are just as depressing as the presidential. {sigh}
    Really?  Why is that?  I know nothing about NC politicians, but I'm always interested in learning about other members of Congress outside of my own state.

    Our congressional race has been labeled by a few news sources as "the race to watch of 2016".  It's rare that an incumbent is run against by 3 other members of the same party, but this guy has one of the lowest approval ratings in Congress.  I can't believe he got elected in the first place.  He was the mayor of the largest city in the state and his time there was filled with controversy too.  I really like two of the guys running against the incumbent, but I'm pretty sure I'm voting for one over the other because he is liberal on social issues (he's actually a gay Republican) and I really like his economic policies. 
    NC is notoriously corrupt. I think 3 of our last 4 governors were charged criminally. Locally our county commissioners are long time players on the political scene. They just seem to bounce to bounce from one local office to another (school board, county commission, state senate, city commissioner, etc). They are all super spendy and even the "fiscal conservatives" voted for an increase in our water prices for three years in a row. The increases are a result of mismanagement by the contractor who handled and continues to manage water services for our city/county. They also allowed the same company to distribute bonuses to the top level executives despite the errors they made that cost the taxpayers MILLIONS of dollars.  A couple of the county commissioners sit on the board of the water authority. It's a super incestuous mess but no viable candidates were able to raise the support to unseat them. They also voted to use bond money earmarked to improve our local community college to build a 59 MILLION dollar fine arts center in a town of about 150,000 registered voters. There is a $40,000 conference table in one of the executive suites upstairs. Since it opened it is being used less than once a week and tickets to events there start at around $40 for bad seats and then on up so it's not the sort of night out the average voter in this area could afford. Opening night with Liza Minnelli only sold 483 tickets out of a possible 1500. It's a super money winner! Heaven forbid we get state of the art nursing technology for the nursing school or expand the computer program because we all know those jobs don't bring in money to the local area. :
    8-|

    here's an old news blurb about an old well connected player who is back on the scene and killing it in the election so far
    http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20100420/ARTICLES/100429969/1067/tourism36&template=tourism
    and more gems
    http://www.wwaytv3.com/news-tags/julia_boseman/
    if you'll notice she is closely connected to Mike Easley who was charged with campaign finance irregularities
    http://abc11.com/archive/7805624/

    She is a local attorney and has so many complaints for bad work, the court has pulled her eligiblity to handle court appointed cases which rarely happens. Yet I don't think she's ever run for office in this town and lost.

    At the state level it's mostly just a bunch of the same old crusty white incumbent guys who haven't had an original thought since they were 12 and vote with their party 90%+ of the time :( Their challengers are mostly the same old players who like to spend money and tax the crap out of small business to pay for it. Can.not.win.
    image
    BlueBirdMB
  • I absolutely agree with you regarding the upfront cost of things. While picking your doctor because he is cheapest is not a good idea, for something like a routine ear infection or strep throat test, you should be able to call and price shop what it will take to get you an antibiotic. Places like the minute clinic and walmart have started to become a bit of a player in that game but it's a drop in the bucket.

    If people had to pay first and then get reimbursed, you would see a lot of medical dollars not get spent and that might actually keep insurance costs down. The ACA decimated the best benefits of HSAs. This is a great blog piece that describes how the ACA actually helps inflate health care prices via the story of one woman's hip replacement

    http://truthonthemarket.com/2013/05/25/my-hip-saga-and-how-the-affordable-care-act-squandered-our-best-opportunity-to-lower-health-care-costs/
    image
  • snp605 said:
    I absolutely agree with you regarding the upfront cost of things. While picking your doctor because he is cheapest is not a good idea, for something like a routine ear infection or strep throat test, you should be able to call and price shop what it will take to get you an antibiotic. Places like the minute clinic and walmart have started to become a bit of a player in that game but it's a drop in the bucket.

    If people had to pay first and then get reimbursed, you would see a lot of medical dollars not get spent and that might actually keep insurance costs down. The ACA decimated the best benefits of HSAs. This is a great blog piece that describes how the ACA actually helps inflate health care prices via the story of one woman's hip replacement

    http://truthonthemarket.com/2013/05/25/my-hip-saga-and-how-the-affordable-care-act-squandered-our-best-opportunity-to-lower-health-care-costs/

    Oh definitely!  When it comes to one's health, a good doctor is more important than a cheap doctor.  But if more people started asking questions about the cost, I think we'd slowly start to see more competitive pricing.  You already see it in dentistry and elective surgeries (like some plastic surgeries).

    That is one of the things I like about urgent care clinics.  There are a lot of them where I live and I can already see the results of competition.  I call and ask them about their price for whatever it is I need to see a doctor about.  I tend to find cheaper prices than a more traditional doctor's practice.  Sure, they aren't going to be for taking care of chronic conditions, but they are my go-to place for when I just need something basic or need an opinion on "here is my symptom(s), what can it be, do I need further care".

    The ONLY urgent care center I ever went to that had jacked up prices was one associated with a major hospital network.  But at least my high deductible plan, though it is usually useless to me, did the one thing it does well.  Forced them to only charge me the negotiated rate.  And poof!  My bill went from $280 to $101...which is about what I would normally pay at any other urgent care clinic anyway. 

  • BlueBirdMBBlueBirdMB
    500 Love Its 1000 Comments Second Anniversary Name Dropper
    member
    edited March 2016
    I just wanted to share my story about competitive pricing in medicine.  I truly had no idea that prices could vary so dramatically until a few weeks ago.  I've been struggling with a lot of health issues recently and have been spending way too much time with doctors lately.  I had to have an echo cardiogram.  My GP referred me to the cardiac group with her hospital.  When I called to make an appointment, I asked how much it was, knowing it would go towards our high deductible and that I would pay for it.  She said just under $3,000 not including the reading fee.  I was definetely surprised at the cost, but it didn't occur to me I could anywhere else cheaper.  I was telling my endocrinologist about this is passing and she told me to call this other group.  It was $800 for the exact same scan.  Crazy stuff.

    Oh and those urgent cares at hospitals are the same pricing as the emergency rooms usually.  Total waste.  If you need something basic that doesn't require emergency room care, go somewhere else.  We have some chains that have opened recently that are very reasonably priced. 
    short+sassy
  • snp605 said:
    snp605 said:

    Our local and congressional races are just as depressing as the presidential. {sigh}
    Really?  Why is that?  I know nothing about NC politicians, but I'm always interested in learning about other members of Congress outside of my own state.

    Our congressional race has been labeled by a few news sources as "the race to watch of 2016".  It's rare that an incumbent is run against by 3 other members of the same party, but this guy has one of the lowest approval ratings in Congress.  I can't believe he got elected in the first place.  He was the mayor of the largest city in the state and his time there was filled with controversy too.  I really like two of the guys running against the incumbent, but I'm pretty sure I'm voting for one over the other because he is liberal on social issues (he's actually a gay Republican) and I really like his economic policies. 
    NC is notoriously corrupt. I think 3 of our last 4 governors were charged criminally. Locally our county commissioners are long time players on the political scene. They just seem to bounce to bounce from one local office to another (school board, county commission, state senate, city commissioner, etc). They are all super spendy and even the "fiscal conservatives" voted for an increase in our water prices for three years in a row. The increases are a result of mismanagement by the contractor who handled and continues to manage water services for our city/county. They also allowed the same company to distribute bonuses to the top level executives despite the errors they made that cost the taxpayers MILLIONS of dollars.  A couple of the county commissioners sit on the board of the water authority. It's a super incestuous mess but no viable candidates were able to raise the support to unseat them. They also voted to use bond money earmarked to improve our local community college to build a 59 MILLION dollar fine arts center in a town of about 150,000 registered voters. There is a $40,000 conference table in one of the executive suites upstairs. Since it opened it is being used less than once a week and tickets to events there start at around $40 for bad seats and then on up so it's not the sort of night out the average voter in this area could afford. Opening night with Liza Minnelli only sold 483 tickets out of a possible 1500. It's a super money winner! Heaven forbid we get state of the art nursing technology for the nursing school or expand the computer program because we all know those jobs don't bring in money to the local area. :
    8-|

    here's an old news blurb about an old well connected player who is back on the scene and killing it in the election so far
    http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20100420/ARTICLES/100429969/1067/tourism36&template=tourism
    and more gems
    http://www.wwaytv3.com/news-tags/julia_boseman/
    if you'll notice she is closely connected to Mike Easley who was charged with campaign finance irregularities
    http://abc11.com/archive/7805624/

    She is a local attorney and has so many complaints for bad work, the court has pulled her eligiblity to handle court appointed cases which rarely happens. Yet I don't think she's ever run for office in this town and lost.

    At the state level it's mostly just a bunch of the same old crusty white incumbent guys who haven't had an original thought since they were 12 and vote with their party 90%+ of the time :( Their challengers are mostly the same old players who like to spend money and tax the crap out of small business to pay for it. Can.not.win.
    YIKES.  I personally know many of our state representatives and senators.  We have our share of bullshit too.  Our state congress I believe has the most amount of representatives, and they only get paid $100 per year.  Because we have tons of people, they change a lot.  Very few incumbents.  They also only work 6 weeks out of the year total.  It cuts down on a lot of corruption.  They also don't have time to waste on silly things, so they use their time more wisely.  Hell, they don't have a cubicle.  They each have a mailbox and that's it.  I realize that not all states can operate like this though.  However, they still manage to get in trouble.  It's amazing.  One representative just got arrested for attempting to meet a 14 year old girl he met online.  Another posted on Facebook that men can't help but grab a naked breast in reference to breastfeeding mothers.  Yup.
  • @snp605, I was just thinking about you!  It was time for my car insurance renewal, so I called up Progressive and went over my policy, just to make sure I didn't want to change anything.

    But that reminded me I have "medical bill coverage" on my policy.  I forget the specific term they have for it.  It only costs a couple extra dollars a month but, if I'm hit by an uninsured motorist or if an accident is my fault, it will cover the medical bills for myself and/or anyone else in my car.  If this isn't something you already have in your car insurance or you aren't sure, I'd strongly recommend looking into it.

    I actually used this portion of my policy once about 10 years ago.  Thankfully I wasn't badly injured, but I was in an accident that briefly knocked me out.  I woke up in the ambulance on the way to the ER.  I was released just a few hours later but, between the ambulance ride and the ER visit, it was over $3K in hospital bills.  And, although I had typical medical insurance, almost all of that would have gone against my deductible and I would have had to pay for it.  Instead, those bills were paid 100% by Progressive.  And it was all covered under the same deductible I paid to have my car fixed.

  • I don't think there is one presidential candidate that can be declared "This person will be the one that turns everything around." It's gotten to the point IMO that which candidate has the most views that agree with your views and who is the lesser of two evils.

    Also IMO, it doesn't matter who is elected, the opposing party will make it hard for them to make changes. If we really want to see changes in this country, there need to be term limits on congress & the senate, just like the president has. Too many people in there that are life time politicians who are just looking for their own best interest. Time for more fresh blood in those office. But since they would have to pass this type of thing, it won't happen because they aren't going to want to put term limits on themselves.






    short+sassy
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