Obamacare Effects Begin to Hit Home

Image: Obamacare Effects Begin to Hit Home Angel Rivera looks at his health care options at an Obamacare kiosk setup at the Mall of Americas in Miami.

Thursday, 02 Jan 2014 10:22 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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The hangovers from New Year's Eve have gone and now millions of Americans are waking up to headaches from Obamacare sticker shock.

Middle-class families are finding out the exact cost of the Affordable Care Act to their weekly budget, and they are realizing they have to make cutbacks in their lifestyles to afford higher healthcare insurance premiums, The Week reports.

Calling Obamacare "another sucker punch to the middle class," the report warns that "when the family budget gets hit in the solar plexus, guess what happens to consumer spending and the economy?"

Editor's Note: Should ObamaCare Be Defunded? Vote in Urgent National Poll

All over the country, there are endless moving stories of how everyday lives are being affected by the higher costs of healthcare insurance plans under Obamacare, says The Week.

In California, the Wall Street Journal reported last month that 900,000 people are having their policies canceled because they don't meet the Obamacare requirements. And as some 600,000 of these people are not eligible for subsidies, they will end up paying larger premiums.

In New York, thousands of small businesses are being hammered by the cost of premiums under Obamacare, according to the New York Post.

The National Federation of Independent Businesses, which represents nearly 11,000 business owners across the state, has revealed that not one single member has reported that their healthcare insurance costs are going down.

The federation's director Mike Durant said an "overwhelming majority" of small firms with fewer than 50 employees have reported, in fact, that their premiums have shot up.

The Post notes, for example that Michael Kennedy, who owns two dog-grooming salons near Albany, said his cut-rate insurance coverage had more than doubled under Obamacare from $132.99 to $325.92 a month per person — a 145 percent increase.

Kennedy and his wife earn around $60,000 a year from their Pink Dog Parlor and Resort business, and he said paying for the higher premiums is "a huge challenge." He added, "It’s like another 100 dogs we need to groom."

In Alabama, WHNT News has revealed that middle-class residents have received letters "indicating their premiums will soon double."

Mother-of-four Courtney Long was stunned when Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama told her that her family's individual healthcare plan was going up from $352 per month to $796. "It's devastating. I started crying," said Long.

"I mean, we have worked so hard to get out of credit card debt, get ahead on the car loan, transfer our mortgage to a 15 from a 30 year mortgage…and for what?"

In Washington state, Forbes estimates that Obamacare "will increase, the underlying cost of individually purchased health insurance by 34 to 80 percent, on average."

And in Tennessee, Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander was stunned to learn from a report issued by the Obama administration that many Tennesseans face much higher premium under the new law, which took effect on January 1.

According to the Daily Caller, his analysis laid out four points to demonstrate how the Affordable Care Act will hurt people in the Volunteer State. They show that a 27-year-old man in Memphis faces a potential leap in premiums from $41 a month to $119 and 105 insurance policies in Nashville alone will no longer be available.

The Week points out that the bigger premiums will have a trickle-down effect on the economy as middle- and upper-middle-income families start to spend less while diverting some of their spare cash to pay for their expensive new health care premiums.

Pointing out that consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of the country's gross domestic product, the report warns, "The top 20 percent of earners account for about 40 percent of all spending in the U.S. When you increase the costs of health care and the new taxes associated with Obamacare, you can hear the wallets closing."

Editor's Note: Should ObamaCare Be Defunded? Vote in Urgent National Poll

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