By Beacon Staff

I should love Obamacare. I had Hodgkin’s disease when I was 16, the cure paid for by Uncle Sam’s Air Force.

Normal life resumed, and I picked up two bad vices, skiing and motorcycles. Since I’m not real graceful, off to the friendly insurance agency I went. And the next. This was in the prehistoric days before Al Gore invented the Internet, ya know. After many frustrating office visits, wading through reams of rate sheets and other whatnot, I fully realized just how screwed I was – and still am.

Even at a crazy deductible, the proposed premiums exceeded what I was then spending on rent, gas, food – everything else combined. Even better, if I moved across a state line, I’d have to start the whole insurance rigmarole again. Best of all, the policies I could “afford” not only excluded Hodgkin’s disease, but all other forms of cancer. Yay!

So I’ve had years to think about being one lump away from utter ruin, including thinking about tossing money into a tax-deductible medical savings account (MSA). But such didn’t exist back then. Not until the mid-1990s did Congress pass something called Archer MSA’s, so people could sock tax-exempt funds (and interest) away to offset a high yearly deductible. But only a little bit at a time.

In 2003, the Medicare prescription bill replaced Archer MSAs with HSAs, (H for Health), but guess what – HSAs have to be accompanied by, yep, an “approved” insurance policy. You know, the outrageous premium with the exclusion? Oh, joy! And deposits are still limited on an annual basis, currently a puny $3,250 for an individual – which covers what – an MRI and one $50 aspirin?

Why, pray tell, won’t Congress pass a law enabling personal medical trusts, exempt not only from yearly deposit limits and income taxation, but from inheritance taxation, too? Do I smell the stink of insurance lobbyists trying to keep Americans from self-insuring, of health-care providers who like handing out expensive aspirin?

So, yep, I should love Obamacare. But I hate it, and here’s a tiny example of why: My friend Keith Olson is a big-wood Olympic Peninsula timber faller who everyone else calls for the really tricky stuff. In his spare time, he’s a reading teacher. His wife Heidi works in management at a fancy lakeside resort that is really popular with affluent Seattleites.

Keith wrote me last week that the hotel chain “canceled Heidi’s policy in October (all employees) so the Obama plan she had to sign up for that was comparable to what we had was $526 per MONTH higher than her old policy and the deductible was $1,000 higher! Here’s the kicker – that is the cost after removing me from the new policy!!!!!!! We have to find an additional policy for me also!!!!

“That adds up to over $6,000.00 per year more in insurance cost. Plus an additional thousand dollars in added deductible; just for Heidi, not me. It’s pretty risky business for a 63-year-old timber faller to go three years without insurance until the time he can get onto Medicare, but what the hell are people to do?”

Yeah, what ARE people – several million and counting fast – to do? Wear pajamas, drink hot chocolate and tell their friends to sign up? Still, Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-Somewhere in California) asserted Christmas week that Obamacare is “going to be a glorious thing.”

Democrats need to face reality. Obamacare is an inglorious failure, inflicting unprecedented insecurity upon millions of additional Americans who suddenly find themselves “Obamascared,” not just about higher costs, but about falling through some “unforeseen loophole” in their coverage.

In my view, the best option for everyone is an immediate repeal of Obamacare that specifically enables Americans to resume their prior coverage as if Obamacare never happened. After that, the only question remaining is how Obamascared voters will look upon Obamacare’s train wreck – and that depends on how good the Democratic spin machine operates.

But the Democrat spin doctors need to be really careful – after all, negligent acts that cause harm are sometimes forgiven. Deliberate acts that cause harm are almost always punished.

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