Jul 19, 2010

Posted by in Politics | 0 Comments

An Email from Michelle Obama

Today, I received an email from Michelle Obama. It was addressed to me by name, too. The subject of the email was “Prevention,” and it extolled all the virtues of the “Affordable Care Act” that was passed earlier this year. (I have posted the email in its entirety below my post.)

The first line of Michelle’s email  states: “When you hear about the new health reform law these days, too much talk is focused on the political.”

That was an interesting opening line since the disclaimer at the end of the email reads: “Paid for by Organizing for America, a special project of the Democratic National Committee — 430 South Capitaol Street SE, Washington D.C. 20003. This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.”

Rather amusing that Michelle thinks the talk about health care reform is too political and yet it is being sent out by a “special project” of the DNC. 

In the second sentence, Michelle writes: “What I’ve found is that most Americans just want to know how this new law helps their families stay healthy — and how it reduces their costs.”

My reply to that is: Good luck trying to determine what all of the changes will really involve. One of the first things I noticed is that this new law will increase my healthcare costs effective 2011 because it cuts in half the amount my family may put into our Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and it also eliminates the items I may purchase with this account by requiring a doctor’s prescription for things such as over-the-counter medications. If I want to continue to use my FSA account to buy cough syrup or pain killers, for example, I will now have to make, and pay for, an appointment with my doctor so she can write a script for the medications. Neither of these changes saves me money, Michelle.

Michelle goes on to tell me how “for moms like me, it makes our lives easier.” This will, according to her, give families control over their own care (funny, I do have that now!) along with the “comfort of knowing that our insurance will be there when we need it most –especially if we get sick.” She continues to let me know that there “is a lot to know” and that our esteemed government has set up yet another website, at HealthCare.gov, where “folks can see customized information about how care will improve for their families.” Feel free to click on over to the site if you care to do so. I did but really could not find any definitive information which will clearly outline how this new law will change my current health care and associated costs.

Continuing with the letter: Did you know that under the new law, private health care plans will have to provide basic preventive services “absolutely free of charge” to their members ? That’s right, according to Michelle, there will be “No copay. No deductible. No co-insurance needed.” To Michelle I say what I say to my children: Nothing is ever free. There are always costs associated with health care, whether it is coming directly out of my wallet or it is a benefit of employment. The “free” preventive health care will not be free; it will be paid for by the user in the form of premiums or, to the taxpayers who are helping to fund health care for others, in the form of more taxes.

I do agree with Michelle’s opinion that preventive health care is important. It is something I have maintained for our family, either paying for it with our insurance coverage or out of pocket. I also agree with Michelle when she writes that “each of us needs to take responsibility for our own health and the health of our families.” I disagree with her about this new health reform law helping to do that. Beginning in January 2011, it will be cost me more of my hard earned money.

Michelle Obama may be a mom, but I am not a mom like her. This health care reform package will not grossly change the health care received by Michelle and her family, nor most of the Democrats who voted for it. Clearly the Obama’s do not have to worry about the decrease in FSA limits making a dent in their pocketbooks. It is also obvious that no one really knows everything that this “Affordable Care Act” will change.

Yes, people should not have their insurance cut off. Folks should not be denied coverage for preexisting conditions. Sure people should go to the doctor for preventive care. Yes, health care should be affordable.  I do not, however, believe that this “Affordable Care Act” will make health care affordable. Not one little bit.

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Below is the email I received from Michelle Obama:

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