OPINION: Promises, Promises, Promises

No matter how much you may like them (at least some of them), you just can’t trust politicians. Remember George Bush’s “Read my lips, no new taxes” promise? Or how about, “If you like your (health insurance) plan, you can keep it.” (Barack Obama, 2010)

In a last ditch effort to cast aside opposition to the ill-conceived Hidalgo County Hospital District tax, the county judge and commissioners are now “promising” to lower the county tax rate if we just pass the hospital district measure (Prop. 1 on the November ballot). Despite the rhetoric of some of the commissioners, this was not their intent or plan. Several weeks ago, when members of the OWLS (Objective Watchers of the Legal System) argued that the county tax rate should be reduced if the hospital district is approved along with its new taxes. This was met with stiff disagreement. Now, all of a sudden, this is the Commissioner’s Court’s plan?

wethepeopleObviously, it is no more than a ploy to offset stiff resistance from the community opposed to yet another tax. We already pay property taxes to the county, city, school districts, Drainage District #1, South Texas College and South Texas ISD.

As it is, Hidalgo County has the highest tax rate of the larger counties in the state. Compare the tax rates: Hidalgo County, $0.59; Travis County (Austin), $0.49; Harris County (Houston), $0.41; El Paso County, $0.40; Bexar County (San Antonio), $0.32; Tarrant County, $0.26; Dallas County, $0.24.

Let’s say you’re okay with increasing your taxes 8 cents for a hospital district. Do you really think they aren’t going to increase that tax rate in a year or two? Just as South Texas College recently approved a 25% tax increase this year, we will see costs for this proposed hospital district spiraling out of control.

Hollis Rutledge Jr. expressed it well Wednesday as we chatted about the elections. If we approve the hospital district, it will open the floodgates for illegals to come over here for free medical services.

Anyone with the reasoning ability of a 5th grader knows that’s true. And when that happens, the hospitals will be back at the courthouse asking for more money (there’s your tax rate increase) for indigent care.

This is an idea that clearly has not been thought out, as the effects will be harmful to all county residents. This is not so much designed to help the indigent as it is designed to make the rich richer. The hospitals and their investors are the ones who truly stand to benefit — from both the hospital district and the medical school, which will also be asking for funding from you and me, using the Hidalgo County Hospital District as a new source of tax funds for them to dip into — adding to their already fat profits. Do doctors really need any more money? Really?  

The Unaffordable Care Act

I just received an unpleasant surprise in the mail this week. My insurance carrier just notified me that my private health insurance plan will no longer be available after December 31, due to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

This is just the latest in a series of negative notices I have received concerning my health insurance since the “Unaffordable Care Act” was passed at the midnight hour without anyone reading the bill.

The other notices are all rate increases. The latest in this series of price hikes was a 26.7% increase in March of this year. Mind you, I am in excellent health, with no pre-existing conditions and no medical claims on my insurance since the Unaffordable Care Act was passed. Overall, since June, 2013, my insurance premiums have gone up 43%. Thanks, Mr. Obama.

So, what do you do? I called my insurance agent and asked, “What’s up? Why can’t I keep my insurance plan?”

Her answer was that Blue Cross Blue Shield (my health insurance provider) is dropping the old plans and replacing them with new ones conforming to Obamacare regulations.

Didn’t Obama say, “If you like your plan, you can keep it?”

We learned immediately when the Unaffordable Care Act provisions began to take effect that millions of people were being bumped off their health insurance plans. But now, it has become personal. My plan is being cancelled, forcing me to add coverage that I don’t need or want? I’m closer in age to being a great-grandparent than a parent at this point in time. Why is the government forcing us to not only have health insurance, but the Obamacare version of health insurance?

I went looking for answers and found a website called obamacarefacts.com.

The website states, “A common talking point of supporters of the Affordable Care Act was, “if you like your plan you can keep it….If you have a non-grandfathered plan that meets the requirements of the ACA, you can keep it. Also if you have a grandfathered health plan that doesn’t meet the requirements of the ACA you can keep it as long as the benefits remain relativity unchanged. However, most grandfathered plans will change and will require people on those plans to move to a new plan that does meet the requirements of the ACA.”

Okay, so I have to get a new insurance plan. What’s that going to cost me? Adding coverage I don’t want or need, and putting me in an insurance pool with people with pre-existing conditions surely means it’s going to cost me more.

The website also says, “Everyone is required to have insurance for 2014, allowing some to keep their plans and others to buy new plans with more coverage will unbalance the cost of premiums. It creates two separate pools of healthy and sick people.

“The healthy people would be more likely to stick with the old plans, which cost less and offer less coverage because they don’t expect to need it. Meanwhile, sick people would buy the more expensive, comprehensive plans.”

So, the healthy people who don’t use the insurance are not only required to have it, but they are going to be paying higher premiums to subsidize the cost for other people who do use the insurance. Does the word “socialism” come to mind?

When I asked my insurance agent about rates for the new Obama-approved plans, she said she cannot quote any rates until open enrollment begins November 15. So, I have no idea what my insurance is going to cost. And, unless you are working for an entity such as a school district or governmental office, you probably don’t know either. And we have no control over many factors that affect the steeply rising cost of health insurance we are being required to buy.

Of course, we won’t know what the price tag will be until after the November 4 elections. Now, that’s no accident!

The price tag that needs to be paid should happen on November 4. Vote out the politicians who voted this healthcare fiasco into place on that midnight run under the cloak of darkness. This includes Congressman Ruben Hinojosa who continues to defend and promote Obamacare in his current re-election campaign.

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