Oxymoron: Affordable Healthcare

“He had had much experience of physicians, and said ‘the only way to keep your health is to eat what you don’t want, drink what you don’t like, and do what you’d druther not.” -Mark Twain, Following the Equator

What is this?  What part of “affordable” does the United States federal government not understand?  How could this have happened?

I had a small health insurance plan my parents purchased for me after I graduated college.  I didn’t use it much until I had anxiety issues… which led to tests proving I had diabetic issues among other things.  The health insurance helps with haggling over the medical bills (I only had to pay $150 for a $1000 emergency room bill! Yay…. ?) and pays for all my generic drugs.  I wish it did more, but the premiums would be more outrageous if I “upgraded.”  Still, it served me well.  On December 31st, 2014, I shall have to lay it to rest.  The new plan that my insurance company has chosen for me is $70 more on the premium and, if I’m reading the plans correctly, $2000 more on the deductible!  This is not affordable.  The “Marketplace” where I can compare other plans doesn’t officially open until November 15th, 2014, but the estimated plans are out there and the plan my insurance company is planning to give me is actually the best plan possible with a low premium, but high deductible.  The average deductible for the “Bronze” plans are around $5000.  How on earth can I afford that?  I don’t think I met the $3000 deductible on my old plan even with all my health problems a few years ago.

I thought the point of universal healthcare was everyone got a version of Medicare or we had a health service like they have in Canada and the United Kingdom?  One could argue that such a plan is expensive, but it’s needed for the good of the people.  Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid… we’ve done it before in the United States.  The Affordable Care Act looks more like a bailout for insurance companies than actually helping the average citizen.

And that stupid website!  It wants me to “verify” my identity, so it asks me a series of questions that connect me to my public credit report.  I answer the questions, it gives me an error code and no explanation on what I should do.  I Google around for the error code and it turns out to be a common problem.  Something about the verification contractor not finding my credit report or something.  It also likes to log me out of my account at inexplicable times.  I also thought that the “compare plans” function would place the plans side-by-side so I could spot the differences like you see on the car dealer websites.  Instead, the site puts them in a list and I have to click each plan individually to see the information which I could have done before without using the “compare” function.