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  • Open Enrollment for Health Insurance, Republicans Planning Replacement

    For anyone wishing to apply for health insurance using the government healthcare marketplace, open enrollment started November 15 and will continue until February 15, 2015. Some people are reporting low premium success stories, according to the White House.

    Deductibles, however, are in the five figures.

    While President Barack Obama touted a success story of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) during his weekly address, he acknowledged that potential consumers must apply during open enrollment to determine how or if they’ll benefit.

    “You might be able to save more money, or find a plan that fits your family’s needs even better than the one you’ve got now,” he said. “And it might make a big difference for your family’s bottom line.”
    Obama said he received an e-mail from the wife of a married, self-employed trucking team, who said they found a plan that saved them $13,000 a year in premiums. Before the ACA, she said they were paying about $1,200 a month.

    Accepting Obama’s example as fact, they were paying $14,400 a year. Now, they’re only paying $1,400 a year, $117 a month, in Georgia, which declined the Medicaid expansion.
    What is known about Obama’s example is they are a self-employed married couple, living in Augusta, GA. Assuming their combined household income is on the low-end, $40,000 a year, and they don’t smoke, aren’t parents, are not pregnant, and receive no other form of health insurance, then they would be eligible for a $276.94 monthly, premium tax credit, resulting in a minimum $143 premium, according to HealthCare.gov.

    While the assumptions led to a premium close to that of Obama’s example, the married, self-employed couple’s deductible is not mentioned. In the assumption-based example, the minimum deductible is $12,600.Nevertheless, the couple was satisfied, according to Obama, who said “They found a plan with coverage they liked, and it was way less expensive.”

    Obama said that 10 million have gained health insurance, paying an average of $82 a month.Critics of the ACA have said it fails to provide affordable coverage to everyone, and for those who choose not to purchase health insurance, they will be fined, as the White House calls it, or taxed, as the the United State Supreme Court calls it.

    Open enrolment follows a week when videos of one of the chief architects of the ACA, Jonathan Gruber, was recorded saying the bill passed because of lack of transparency and the “stupidity of the American voter.” Rep. Brad Wenstrup (OH-2) said during the November 15 Republican address that Gruber’s comments were unacceptable.

    “This is the same arrogance we’ve seen time and time again from this administration and its allies. This is insulting to all of us. They say one thing and do another. Americans deserve far better,” he said. Wenstrup said the new Republican majority “We’ll take on ObamaCare… and we’ll propose that Congress – not the bureaucrats – has the final say on all new major regulations.”

    In an opinion editorial published November 15, Republican Senators Richard Burr (NC), Tom Coburn (OK) and Orrin Hatch (UT) proposed replacing the ACA with plan they said is based on consumer choice instead of government mandates.

    “Americans at all income levels make better choices for themselves if given the opportunity and the choice,” the wrote. “So we adopt policies that will make the market more transparent, competitive, and responsive to consumer demands.”

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