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Here’s the Big Obamacare Lie

December 14, 2013
By MIKE MYER , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

The good news, the son of a friend of mine told him, is that he finally was able to sign up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. And, in another bit of good news, the young man added that he now has maternity coverage.

But the bad news, he added, is that the only insurance plan he could afford has a $6,000 annual deductible - about what he'd expect to pay to have a baby, should he ever be in that situation.

That may be the cruelest of the many Obamacare lies - that the program is making health care insurance affordable for millions of people who couldn't fit it into their budgets before.

Some analysts have reported the average annual deductible under Obamacare policies is higher than under the private insurance network that served us for decades.

Obamacare offers four levels of coverage: bronze, silver, gold and platinum. Most lower-income and lower-middle-class people will choose bronze, because that's all they can afford.

But the average deductible for bronze plans is $5,081 a year for an individual. It could go as high as $12,700 for a couple or family.

That means that, on average, Obamacare individual enrollees will have to spend $423 a month out of their own pockets, plus their insurance premiums, before they get a dime's worth of benefits.

This is progress?

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Since when is refusing to vote for more federal spending an unacceptably radical position? Since Thursday, apparently.

But don't be too hard on House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other Republicans for criticizing so-called "tea party" lawmakers who voted against the budget deal that day. Strategically, the arrangement may have been the only realistic path for conservatives.

U.S. Rep. David McKinley, the Republican who represents this area of West Virginia, was among 62 GOP lawmakers to vote against the much-touted budget deal. His explanation makes sense.

McKinley points out there have been a couple of years of progress in reducing federal spending.

But the new deal allows spending to increase for two years. According to the Congressional Budget Office, real savings in the 10-year deal will not occur for another seven years. Then, they will amount to only $23 billion.

So McKinley voted against the deal because he didn't want to reverse the modest progress made thus far.

Another factor in his thinking was that things change in Washington. One of his Democrat colleagues told him that if that party regains control of the House, one of the first things to be done will be to erase the current deal - and go back to the old liberal tax-and-spend policy.

Again, however, Boehner and company felt they had no choice but to go along with the budget agreement.

It provides at least two years in which there will be no more confrontations over spending, and no government shutdowns of the type that drew criticism of conservatives. During that two years, Republicans may gain control of the Senate, putting them in a position to put new limits on spending.

So both sides in the GOP debate have defensible positions.

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If you're a betting person and want to make a few bucks on the race to succeed U.S. Rep. Shelley Capito, R-W.Va., put your money on Charlotte Lane to win the Republican nomination for the position.

Capito is running for the U.S. Senate. That opens her seat, from the state's Second Congressional District. Lane and at least five other people are seeking the GOP nomination.

Lane's record is excellent and gives her name recognition among voters. The St. Marys native served two terms in the House of Delegates, then on the state Public Service Commission. Later, she served eight years on the U.S. International Trade Commission - with votes showing she tried to protect U.S. industries, including steel, from unfair foreign competition.

As matters stand, Lane is the clear frontrunner.

Myer can be reached at: mmyer@theintelligencer.net.

 
 

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