In a column last week, I wrote about the Battle of Obamacare and discovered what a minefield it truly is.
By ALAN BAVLEY
The Kansas City Star
I had recounted examples of the stories available about winners and losers from the overhaul of the nations health care system, not to take sides, but to show just how different peoples experiences and opinions can be.
One story was about a self-employed Overland Park man, Bill Douglas, who had struggled with medical expenses and now was able to afford health insurance for the first time in 20 years.
But it was the second story that drew most readers interest, or should I say ire. It was about a 62-year-old retired Wichita teacher who complained to the office of U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran that her health insurance premiums had risen by 25 percent and 28 percent in the previous two years, something her insurer blamed on Obamacare. Now her plan was being canceled; a new one will cost twice as much and include prenatal coverage she doesnt need.
Moran, a Kansas Republican and Obamacare opponent, told her story on the Senate floor.
Readers met the anonymous womans claims with incredulity. The past premium hikes seemed unrealistically high, they said, and couldnt be blamed on Obamacare. Her complaint against paying for prenatal care showed a misunderstanding of how insurance risk-sharing works; her odds of pregnancy may be nil, but her chances of developing other conditions are much higher than those of a younger woman.
One reader who called me was Eugene Powers of Paola, Kan. His wife is 63, about the age of the Wichita woman, and had been turned down for health insurance in the past for a medical condition. Powers kept his wife on the plan he gets at work.
But Powers is 64 and contemplating retirement, something he would have to postpone if his wife couldnt get her own insurance. He went to an extension service meeting on Obamacare and came out pleasantly surprised. Is this what the (government) shutdown was about? I cant believe it. It sounded like a pretty good deal.
Obamacare doesnt allow insurance rejections or higher premiums for pre-existing conditions. Powers wife found a plan that will be cheaper than what he can get her through his job. Now I can work because I want to, not because I have to.
Powers said he shared his good news with Morans office on Wednesday. I asked Morans press secretary Thursday if the senator would discuss Powers experience on the Senate floor, as he had the case from Wichita. As of Friday afternoon, I had not received a response.
Powers take on the likelihood his senator will read him into the Congressional Record: Im not holding my breath.