Mr. Obama, I’m Not a “Substandard” Father

I don’t hate Barack Obama. I wish the man no ill will and, honestly, I originally liked ObamaCare’s high-level concepts.

Ensuring that everyone gets some basic level of healthcare is A-OK by me, and I have gone on record stating that I am OK paying a little more to ensure that happens. I also like the idea of simply changing something about the system so that we’d break out of the status quo. In addition to those talking points, though, I also liked the idea that I could keep my health insurance plan if it suited me. As I posted yesterday, that seems not to be the case, but that’s yesterday’s news.

Today, though, I read something that really bothered me more than any of the rest of this. Today I read that Mr. Obama called the health insurance plan I have “substandard.” That took all manner of politics out of it and hit home in a very very personal way for me.

I am not a perfect man. I am not a perfect husband (despite repeated assertions by my wife to the contrary!), and I am not a perfect father (for the record, my kids make no assertions to the contrary). But I do try really hard, and I care so very much, and I realized today that calling anything I do for my kids and family “substandard” hits a nerve.

Yesterday, Mr. Obama called the type of health insurance plan that has served my family for 10+ years “substandard.” This type of plan has served us through the birth of a child, several sets of broken bones, major invasive surgery and related hospitalization, a concussion, Lyme disease, Bell’s Palsy, and all manner of everyday maladies that happen to a growing family.

Every year I take the previous three years’ numbers and run them against all kinds of insurance plans. I, too, like the “pie in the sky” idea of a no-fuss, $30-copay, and every year I hope that my math will show me that in at least one of the previous three years that would have been the smart plan to get. But every single time I do the math it shows me that the only correct move for us is the one I have always chosen: a high-deductible plan that does nothing more than protect us from bankruptcy. True insurance.

With this type of plan we pay for our healthcare starting with dollar one, and the plan essentially only kicks in when we’ve spent more than about $5,000 on any one person in the family. Yes, that means our cash flow is sometimes unpredictably impacted, but it saves us thousands every year. 

It’s never made any sense whatsoever for us to carry maternity coverage, either. Even in the year our son was born it made more financial sense to pay out-of-pocket for the pregnancy-related costs than it would have to add maternity to our plan. It’s important to note that while our plan didn’t cover routine maternity costs (by our choice, of course), it would have (and did) cover any pregnancy-related complications.  Again, our insurance was chosen by us to minimize our yearly out-of-pocket costs (and protect us from bankruptcy, of course), nothing more.

Every year I put a lot of responsible thought and effort into choosing exactly the right health insurance plan for my family, and for our President — someone to whom we’re supposed to look up and respect — to call it “substandard”  says to me that he thinks I’m a substandard father for actively and repeatedly choosing this path for my family.

Screw you, buddy. To call any human “substandard” is not something I’ll tolerate from anyone. Not from my kids, not from my coworkers, and certainly not from you.


15 Responses to “Mr. Obama, I’m Not a “Substandard” Father”

  1. Seth Rosenblum Says:

    I’ve had the same type of high deductible policy for my family for many years as well and of course mine has been cancelled too…. Obamacare may started out as a good idea and a good way to improve our very broken system but has fallen into the ways of that system and is broken right out of the gate…..too bad


  2. Dave Hamilton Says:

    Thanks for the comment, Seth. Agreed… the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and this plan may have started out fine but its run through the political machine has made it little more than a gift to the insurance companies.

    I get that this may not have been what our President intended, but to have him come out and dance around to defend it shows me that he’s not willing to stand up and say, "yes… I know… it’s broken… but we’re making change and this is the first step. Bear with us. We’ve got your back."

    At least now we know.

  3. Bob O. Says:

    "Ensuring that everyone gets some basic level of healthcare is A-OK by me, and I have gone on record stating that I am OK paying a little more to ensure that happens."

    Are you OK with those who don’t want to pay more (or cannot afford to) being forced to?

    Specifically, this is what is happening with your cancelled plan. You were not paying enough, so the law is structured to force you to pay more.

    Obamacare is not a high level
    concept. It is just plain old income redistribution by force of law. The intentions were never good.

  4. JT Ray  Says:

    Ah healthcare. The wife developed a blood clot in her brain this summer due to a drug prescribed as part of preventive care. Through my company I had chosen an HRA plan with a deductible of $4k and total out of pocket of 8k. Needless to say the 4 day stay in the ICU resulted in hitting the 8k out of pocket.

    In the end I do the same as you have Dave. This year my HRA plan is not a generous compared to the price. I am like you looking at the costs related to changing to an HSA, which really makes my head hurt. The main reason is the the HRA no longer has the $25 co-pay option and doctor’s visits don’t count towards the deductible.

    I am really glad that you have taken to talking about how you feel, it is refreshing to hear a more widely known voice express an honest opinion on a hot topic.

  5. James Marino Says:

    We have a similar plan, but we have not been cancelled (yet?). I did the same thing as you and had nearly the same math.

    I can’t find supporting documentation anywhere which outlines the baseline that insurance companies must offer as their minimum plan. Perhaps it is state-by-state? I am in NY.

    Certainly UHC was not making any money on us… and when companies do not make money from consumers, then change comes mighty quickly.

    As an aside, I’ve been listening to MGG for a long, long, time. And while it is my only real exposure to you, I can’t help but feel that you are an outstanding father, husband, musician, citizen, and geek. Don’t get caught.

  6. Andrea Says:

    Dave, my husband and I are in the same place. We had a plan we liked that has been cancelled. And, it worked for us and was not substandard for us. We are in our mid-50s and self-employed. We paid $10 thousand a year with a $7 thousand deductible and now expect to pay 30-50% more! The thing that makes me mad is that we are being told our plan was substandard because we didn’t have maternity care. Maybe Obama believes in miracles and thinks 56 year-old women need maternity care😏. But, as you say, this is all about redistribution and subsidy from one group to another. Just annoying that there is such little honesty about itand people like us are told we have made substandard choices.

  7. Jeff Says:

    I am expecting my cancellation notice any day now from insurer MVP. Looking at replacement plans available on The People’s Republic of Vermont health care exchange, the least expensive offering will result in a tripling of monthly premiums. Yes, triple.

    Remember the following when administration officials talk about "sub-standard" health insurance plans: these plans were duly filed by the insurance company and approved by the state insurance commissioner in every instance.

  8. Joe soap Says:

    Obama made a liar out of me.

    I too think everyone should have some basic, and I mean basic level of healthcare. And Dave, I too chose a plan with a high deductible because that is what makes sense for my family.

    So when I heard partisans complain about it, I would answer "well if you like what you have then you can keep it.". I told this to a lot of people. Well, now I know I lied to them. You, Mr. President lied to me. Repeatedly.

    I donated Five Figures to your presidential campaign and you paid me back by lying to me. My insurance is much higher than yours, Dave, because I live in Silicon Valley where rates are sky high already. Now they are more than double for the bronze level.

    Mr. president, you spy on us, you attack whistleblowers, you kill civilians from the air, and now you broke your word. I guess this is not the worst thing you have done, but it is dispicable nonetheless. What a mistake I made supporting you.

  9. Michael Dixon Says:

    This administration thinks they know what’s best for you. Who honestly believed that once their "10 essential" elements (maternity, etc) were mandatory in every plan sold that the costs of these plans would actually decrease? The fact is, they knew everyone’s coat of insurance would increase. That’s the point. Their goal is to take money and resources from the middle class and give it to those who they deem fit to receive it. The NYT summed up this philosophy perfectly when they said "we simply cannot allow people to keep the financial benefits of good health anymore". This administration and liberals in general believe that they know what is best for you and your family. Because in their eyes its not about the individual at all but rather what’s good for the collective. That’s why you can’t keep your plan. Because, even though it might suit your needs perfectly, it isn’t what’s in the beat interest of everybody. Their view is you can pay more and you aren’t and that is simply unacceptable.

  10. Merrick Says:

    Dave and Seth,

    I appreciate your noble intentions, but frankly your positions with respect to this law and the president’s motives are naive at best. This was never about improving health care but a means of wealth redistribution, providing panem et circenses, and increasing government control over the economy and the people. Dave says,"this plan may have started out fine but its run through the political machine has made it little more than a gift to the insurance companies." Who but the most myopic didn’t see that from the very beginning?

    Were there problems in the "old" health care system? Of course. Was government ever the solution? Of course not! In fact, it takes little mental effort to realize that most of the problems WITH the "old" health care system WERE the government. For insatance, the government drove every other competitor out of the business of health for seniors decades ago and the so-called "crisis" in health care was primarily because the government could no longer afford what they’d taken as their sole responsibility. So, now, let’s extend that to EVERYONE. Just brilliant.

    I’m married, and have young children, so this isn’t particularly relevant to me at the moment, but as Michael Dixon suggests, what sense do universal "essential elements" make? If I were a single male with no children and no significant other what good would maternity coverage, yearly pap smears and breast exams, etc. do for me as a single male? But every healthy, single American male is going to have to have them covered on their plans and pay for them. And I have to keep paying for maternity coverage in a few years and for the rest of my life even after my wife goes through menopause. Why does that make sense from the standpoint of healthcare? The fact is that IT DOESN’T. It DOES make sense from the standpoint that liberals think that young women, who use the health care system more than young men, shouldn’t have to pay more for their insurance. It "seems" unfair. It "seems" sexist. But why isn’t it sexist to make a perfectly healthy man pay for half of another woman’s pap smears and breast exams when he doesn’t even know her? Because it’s not about health; it’s about control, transfer of wealth, and bread and circuses. Old men tend to be sicker than old women. So old women shouldn’t be subsidizing old men’s insurance either – but the government forced that to happen almost five decades ago. But since old women aren’t generally rich, they just took all the money for both from younger people. More bread and circuses. But the government has your back when you get old, right? Yeah, good luck with that.

    It’s time for "liberal" voters to start thinking past their shallow desires and truly think through the consequences (unintended and otherwise) of their choices before they empower those who force them on the rest of us.

    Remember, in 2010, when liberals hailed the decision that Bush had broken the law because he did a warrantless tap on a phone call originating in a foreign county, from a known terrorist, to a phone in the United States of a representative of a group known to support terrorists (al-Haramain, now banned world-wide by the UN Security Council)? Where is your liberal outrage at the Obama administration’s violations of the 4th amendment in continued warrantless tapping of domestic-domestic communications of every nature? Where is the liberal outrage over the selective IRS harrassement of Conservative non-profits? Where is the liberal outrage over Bill Elliot being selectively audited by the IRS within days of appearing on TV to tell his story as a cancer patient who just had his health insurance cancelled because of Obamacare? Where’s the liberal outrage over Harry Reid deciding his folks can’t be expected to participate in the "Affordable Care Act" because it’s not good enough for them? Where is the liberal outrage over "if you like you insurance, you can keep it"? Didn’t you like your insurance? Where’s the liberal outrage over ALL the actions the THEIR elected leaders?

  11. Dave Says:

    "… a high-deductible plan that does nothing more than protect us from bankruptcy. True insurance."– This is the clearest statement so far on the whole issue. Good job, sir.

  12. Merrick Says:

    Dave, you’re not a substandard father – but apparently Barack Obama is a substandard "father of our country" – people signing up for Obamacare CAN’T get their children covered. This is SO much worse than even your worst mightmares and plenty of people have been yelling it in the streets for going on five years now.

  13. Merrick Says:

    Good news!!! Apparently you and all the other "substandard fathers" out there have been given a green light to continue abusing yur children with your substandard health plans… if it’ll increase the chances he protects his majority in the Senate.

    It’s so refreshing to know we have a president really cares about the people.

  14. Merrick Says:

    I have a firend who is a PhD physcist and an MD pediatric oncologist. He gave up his medical practice several years ago and left California (USC Medical) to come to the East Coast where there was still work and no Jerry Brown (of course, now he’s got McAuliffe). He went back to school to get his medical degree after he was diagnosed for the first time with cancer. He decided he wanted to know everything he could about the disease and became hooked on medicine and his other love, children. He beat cancer back the first time. About a decade ago it came back and he beat it back again. About a month ago a nasty cold set in and he’s been unable to kick it. Last week he developed a fever and started bleeding. So he went in for tests. His doctor ran a blood test and it came back with white cell count at 19,000. Here’s the dialog as narrated to me:

    "The manual says 20,000, so keep doing what you’ve been dong (nothing) and if you don’t start to improve in a few days come back and we’ll run further tests."

    "Manual? What manual are you talking about?"

    "The new healthcare guidelines"

    At that point explitives were involved, but for the general audience:
    "That the Obamacare manual. What does your medical training tell you?"

    "Between 5,000 and 10,000."

    "And you’ve reviewed my medical history"

    My friend says that after several seconds of fiddling with his file his doctor’s face turned white and he took several more seconds to stammer out, "…you’ve had cancer. We’ll have to order a bone marrow biopsy."

    You and I don’t have the privelege of an MD. You and I will have to swallow whatever the "heathcare guidelines" determine for us, our wives, and our children.

    Good job, everyone who supported "Universal Healthcare."

  15. Merrick Says:

    I realize that you have no particular interest in discussing health care in general. The issue came up because it was directly impacting you and your family – and this is your blog. But I hope you don’t mind me dropping in a new comment every now and then about health care…

    Gentleman enrolled as soon as enrollments was possible (started trying on 01 October 2013 and finally "succeeded" in November 2013 – which meant coverage should start 01 January 2014. Nevada Health Link started taking money out of his account within days. Has been taking monthly payments ever since. But they are not covering the surgery that happened in January because although he enrolled in plenty of time for his coverage to start in January (as the law was at that time in the ever changing mind of the president) and he had been paying in plenty of time for his coverage to start in January it’s been arbitratrily decided his coverage didn’t start until March (you know, because we have to pass the bill and follow the rules of the bill before we find out what parts of the government is going to enforce and how).

    Going broke because his chemo isn’t covered – because of a PRE-EXISTING CONDITION.

    I can just hear Mandy Patinkin as Che:

    When the money keeps rolling in, you don’t ask how
    Think of all the people guaranteed a good time now

    When the money keeps rolling out you don’t keep books
    You can tell you’ve done well by the happy grateful looks
    Accountants only slow things down, figures get in the way

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