- - Tuesday, March 11, 2014

According to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, I’m a liar.

He said as much last month on the Senate floor. “There’s plenty of horror stories” about Obamacare, he claimed — but “all of them are untrue.”

Apparently, I lied to the Senate last November. That’s when I testified before the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee about how Obamacare forced my insurance company to cancel my health care plan — a plan that I liked and wanted to keep.

Here are the facts: Last September, I received a cancellation letter from my insurance provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. It simply read: “You must transition to a new, Affordable Care Act-compliant medical plan.” With one sentence, I had lost my health insurance.

This directly broke President Obama’s — and Harry Reid’s — promise that I, along with 4.7 million other Americans who lost their health plans thanks to Obamacare, could keep my plan if I liked it.

That should be enough to disprove any claim that Obamacare hasn’t actually harmed anyone. The problems didn’t end with the cancellation, though. My insurance company offered me the cheapest plan they could find that roughly matched my canceled plan. I was hopeful that they would find something that roughly matched my old plan’s price tag of $202 per month.

That was too much to ask for. The cheapest plan they could offer cost $584 per month — a 189 percent increase over my old monthly premium. It also increased my deductible by $1,500 and nearly doubled my co-pays.

This isn’t chump change. This new, Obamacare-compliant health plan would cost as much $12,008 each year — more than double the $5,924 I ever would have paid with my old plan. Even if I don’t have a single medical expense during the year, I’ll still be paying over $4,500 more each year. God forbid I catch a cold.

There’s nothing I can do to defray this cost, either. I’m not eligible for subsidies. I’m thus stuck paying for a plan that I can’t afford, and I have Obamacare’s one-size-fits-all benefits and coverage mandates to thank for it. Never mind that, as a 61-year-old woman, I have no need for the maternity care, the newborn care and the pediatric services that Obamacare forces me to pay.

If stories like mine don’t qualify as “horror stories,” then the White House didn’t get Mr. Reid’s memo. Late last year, President Obama’s administration tried to undo the damage that Obamacare has caused by strong-arming insurance companies into extending canceled plans for 2014. Recently, they even announced that plans like my canceled policy could even be extended into 2017.

This only delays the inevitable. Mr. Obama is on the record saying that plans like mine are “substandard” and deserved to be canceled. It’s just a matter of time before that happens — and based on the slew of delays, that will likely be when it’s the least politically damaging for the president and his party.

The extension didn’t fully fix the problem that Obamacare created. After my old plan was renewed, my health plan’s premiums still jumped by 23 percent.

No matter what choice I make, Obamacare forces me to pay more money for my health care. Whether it’s next year or the year after that, I’ll eventually be forced onto the expensive plan that I neither want nor can afford.

Apparently, this ordeal doesn’t make me a victim of Obamacare. Maybe the “real” victims are among the other 4.7 million people who lost their insurance. I keep looking for the law’s silver linings, but all I can find is a bronze plan I can’t afford and a bunch of broken promises.


Sheila A. Salter testified to the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee last November.


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