NBC does some actual reporting on Obamacare. This is what is happening all over the country.
The 41 employees of Extreme Dodge in Jackson, Mich., are very familiar with trade-ins, but this year they’re learning about trade-offs as they come face to face with the new realities of health care. A few workers say they’re getting a great deal, but most have a severe case of sticker shock.
“I feel like I’ve been taken to the cleaners,” said Neal Campbell, a salesman.
The news was presented at the company’s annual benefits meeting earlier this month, when employees were told that the health insurance plan that the auto dealership had provided its workers was canceled because it doesn’t comply with the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
Rather than officially sponsor a new policy, the company – voted one of the 100 best car dealerships to work for in the country last year – will instead provide its employees with $2,400 apiece to buy their own insurance, or to pocket and pay the new federal penalty if they elect to go without it.
A handful of the Extreme Dodge workers came out winners — mostly low-wage earners who qualify for subsidies and therefore pay very little for insurance. The biggest winner is Brandon Chisholm, a detailer with two daughters, who will get health insurance for the first time, and will have to pay virtually nothing for it because he qualifies for a big government subsidy. That means he can bank the $200 a month the company is giving workers to replace the health insurance it previously provided.
Asked if he was excited at the prospect of getting nearly free coverage on top of the cash stipend, he replied, “Oh yeah! Anything that can help me and my family out, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Twenty-six of the dealership’s workers had been covered this year under the old company plan. Twenty-one have now decided to go with the new group plan recommended by the company for next year, though they realize that they face sharply higher out-of-pocket costs next year.
Their deductibles will go from $1,125 this year to $3,000 next year, and maximum out-of-pocket costs jump from $2,250 to $6,350. And for families, those numbers double: to a $6,000 deductible and $12,700 out-of-pocket maximum.
“How is this helping the average American that’s working 40 to 50 hours per week?” said Terry Hardcastle, a salesperson. “How are we supposed to live?”
Cathy Smith, who’d hoped she’d qualify for a subsidy and made just a little too much money, had tears in her eyes. “You don’t make that much money to begin with,” she said, “and the prescriptions are going to kill me.”
This scenario is going to be playing out all over the country. It is into this environment that the Obama Administration plans to pump out their stories about people who have been helped by Obamacare.
I think I know the answer to Kathy Hardcastle’s question. How is she supposed to live?
She’s supposed to barely survive.
She’s supposed to give up all hope of saving for anything or owning anything nice. She’s supposed to learn to be desperate, truly desperate, for every promise that the government holds out for poor people—among whom she will soon learn to count herself.
She is supposed to learn to beg for food stamps, beg for tuition help for her children.
She’s supposed to get too busy and exhausted to care about Iran or Syria or drones or anything else our political torturers wish to do overseas.
She’s supposed to learn to submit to ever cop and every checkpoint because only people who can afford lawyers can really push back against unconstitutional encroachments on the part of the government.
If she owns any firearms, she’ll need to sell them so she can buy more important things. At her new income level, she can’t afford the higher price of “green” ammunition anyway.
The middle class are a pain to the political class. Obamacare will provide them with relief.