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Hillsdale Daily News: How the AACA hit close to my home

February 25, 2014
Opinion Editorial
Last week I covered two town hall meet­ings hosted by U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg during which he discussed the impact of the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare" on residents in Michi­gan's 7th Congressional District.

Putting my own per­sonal opinions aside is part of what I do as a journalist and so during these meetings I took everything I heard with a grain of salt as most of the discussions were between like-minded people who were upset with how the ACA has been imple­mented thus far.

But an interesting thing happened in between the two meetings — one I thought was a direct tie-in with the events I covered.

First, let me provide a bit of background about myself.

In 2008, before I started taking classes and working toward a degree in journalism I worked for the Obama campaign in Lenawee County. I was 24 years old and wanted to make a difference in my community and in my country — and truly believed in the message soon-to-be President Obama was spreading.

Although I did consider myself a Democrat, I was never someone who only believed strictly in party platforms, but Obama's vision swung me to his side in 2008.

I went door-to-door, made phone calls and spread flyers around town discussing the various parts of Obama's plat­form and as you might suspect, health care reform often came up. I touted the benefits of Obama's plan along with other ideas such as green energy and student loan reform.

At the time, I really believed the health care reform Obama was push­ing for was the right way for this country to go about finding a way to get coverage to all of us. In fact, even after I became a journalist I still thought the idea was good, but gave up helping with the campaign as I knew it was a conflict of interest given my profession.

Fast forward to this week: When my wife found out her employer was ending all health care coverage for her and her co-workers starting next month.

After eight years of working for her boss, my wife was informed the company could no longer afford to provide health insurance because too many employees there worked more than 30 hours in a week. Rather than cut hours, they cut benefits.

This is an unfortunate but understandable deci­sion, as I don't want to see any of those people lose hours just so we can keep health insurance. I was confident we could find a similar plan at a reasonable rate on the marketplace — as I've been told for years I could by the man I helped put in office.

Wrong.

For the last few years, the main reason my wife didn't seek another job was because we had good insurance at an affordable rate for our family. Now for our family of four to continue receiving com­parable coverage from the marketplace, we're looking at paying nearly triple what our premium is currently.

To say this was a shock is an understatement. And while there are sub­sidies that may help bring the cost down,we may not qualify for them because my wife is also a small­business owner and our income is in a constant state of flux.

We may or may not make too much money to lower the cost.

We still need to explore our options further, but right now it looks like we'll either have to pay more money for a plan with fewer benefits or pay the fine for not having insurance next year.

I don't blame Presi­dent Obama for trying to reform health care. While I'm one of the many who've been hurt by the ACA, I still believe we need reform in this country to ensure all of us can get health care coverage. The ACA has helped many people and to a point I still believe in Obama's vision for reform, but it's obvious that this current ver­sion is in need of many tweaks.

That's not to say I agree or disagree with the agenda Walberg pre­sented while on his tour, but the I couldn't help but draw the comparison between my life and the stories told at the town hall meetings.

There is no doubt in my mind that the presi­dent did not intend for me and millions like me to be affected this way — but I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel like I got bait-and-switched by him either.

To read the original article at Hillsdale Daily News, please click here
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