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Since the dawn of Covered California, the state’s wholly owned subsidiary of the federal Affordable Care Act, health journalist Emily Bazar has tracked the dysfunctions. The skyrocketing premiums, cancellations and “glitches” of the $454 million computer system were responsible for “widespread consumer misery,” not exactly a ringing endorsement. Covered California also dropped 2,000 pregnant women from their plans, causing them to lose their prenatal appointments. More recently, victims of Covered California protested a massive “bait and switch” trick that makes glowing promises then sticks them with expensive, inferior coverage. On the other hand, victims who think Covered California can’t get any worse are sadly mistaken.
In her most recent column, Emily Bazar charts how Covered California slammed victims by nearly doubling their premiums and depriving them of their tax credits. Covered California boss Peter Lee cited “systems issues that had never occurred before,” an allusion to the $454 million computer system that Covered California blames for everything. Lee helpfully added that “real people” have been affected. One of them is Mike Connelly, 62, of Granite Bay, who like others was mistakenly kicked over to Medi-Cal. “After they have you,” Connelly told Bazar, “they won’t let you go,” and that is not a good thing. Medi-Cal service is shaky and as Bazar noted, they “demand posthumous payback from enrollees 55 and older for a broad range of medical costs,” even if they didn’t use any medical services. All victims of the ACA, meanwhile, should understand that actual health concerns are secondary.
The Affordable Care Act is perhaps the greatest “taking” in U.S. history. It takes away the plans the people like and gives them only what the government wants them to have. The ACA increases the size and power of government and lays the groundwork for government monopoly health care, the “public option.” The people ought to beware because once that system has you, it won’t let you go. Even if you don’t like the plan, you have to keep it.