Obamacare Sinking The Middle Class

Healthcare LunchboxAfter listening to Episode 49 Obamacare Sinking? Why, It’s Just a Flesh Wound, Says Krugman! I felt compelled to add my two cents.  Although I have not written about the Affordable Care Act in a long time I have not given up hope for meaningful health care reform. Just last week after a little prodding from Ross Kohler of ZaneBenefits I sent emails to my senators asking for their support for The Small Business Healthcare Relief Act [H.R.5447/S.3060].  The odds of it passing are up to 39% on govtrack.us! I remain optimistic for healthcare reform in the same sense as Jonathan Tepperman is optimistic in his TED talk, The Risky Politics Of Progress. He lays out a framework that worked for several previously intractable issues. I am afraid that with this issue we will have to wait for the collapse of the health exchanges before we will find the political motivation to make meaningful bipartisan changes. Think of it as the first step in a Twelve-step program for health care reform.

My comment to Episode 49.

As a middle class person who was hurt by the Affordable Care Act I was disappointed that Mr. Krugman did not reach out to the middle class with some better ideas. My annual health insurance premium went from $3,732 in 2011 to $6,564 in 2016. The lowest cost bronze plan for 2016 was going to cost me $12,300. I do not need a Nobel prize in economics to figure out that I am much worse off in 2016 than I was in 2011. For a person who has not filed a health insurance claim in this century, I lay the blame on the Affordable Care Act.
Since it is highly likely that my grandfathered health insurance plan will not be available to me in 2017, next year I am confronted with an interesting dilemma. The IRS says I should spending no more than 8.05% of my income on health insurance. That means the lowest cost bronze plan will be affordable for when I start earning $152,795. Sadly I am not earning anywhere close to that number. In an ironic twist since there are no health insurance plans available from the exchange that are affordable to me, it appears that the Affordable Care Act is recommending that I should be uninsured and enjoy my exemption from the individual mandate. I am not sure which universe Mr. Krugman is living in but the lack of affordable health insurance in the exchange is more than a bump in the road to the average middle class person. For the first time in my forty year career I will not have affordable health insurance available to me. Is this the Affordable Care Act good news Mr. Krugman was referring to?