Julie Hagenbuch: Rhetoric is making America sick | SteamboatToday.com

Julie Hagenbuch: Rhetoric is making America sick

I am a 58-year-old small business owner and Colorado taxpayer. I have worked since I was 16.

Thirty-seven years ago I first purchased health insurance through my employer and have been continuously covered ever since. This is my first year on ACA.

Nine years ago I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. After eight surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation, I am left with many side effects. I have maxed out my deductible eight of the last nine years. Most recently, I have experienced recurrent life-threatening infections that cause me to be hospitalized.

My immune system is permanently compromised. I have worked very hard and have spent tens of thousands of dollars on supplements, integrated care and on experts not in my network to improve my health.

I spend extra money on grass-fed and organic food, maintain a full garden seasonally and exercise four times a week. Senators Gardner and Bennet, Congressman Tipton what else can I do to improve my health?

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Most people wouldn't fight to keep my high deductible ACA policy for my husband and I. It is good for us because my premium is low, and we are able to use our Health Savings Account that we have had for years for my medical expenses.

Should we lose the premium tax credit (subsidy), the premiums would go up $25,000 a year. Yes, $25,000 more for the same high deductible plan, twice as much as the Cobra plan I had previously. The insurance companies set the prices while the federal government sets the tax credits.

The so-called plans advanced by Congressman Tipton, Speaker Ryan, and others, all propose to give the subsidy money back to the richest Americans. Not only that, they do away with all the preventative care like mammograms, PSA, vaccines, physicals and more. Lifetime maximum limits will be restored, which a sick baby can use up in its first year.

Tell me Senator Gardner and Congressman Tipton, will I really get more for less? I don't see how it is possible?

What would you do about health insurance if you were in my situation? What happens if you repeal ACA with 50 Senate votes using the reconciliation process? What happens if you cannot get the 60 votes with which to replace it? What then? How much will my insurance cost then in the so-called free market system?

I have to say all your rhetoric with basically no reasonable plan is making America sick. You've had eight years to come up with something. Time for you to put up or shut up.

I'm certainly willing to work hard to improve ACA, affordably getting more middle class people covered, containing costs and creating more competition. I think there is a solution that makes sense for taxpayers, insurers, medical providers and policyholders.  

Julie Hagenbuch

Steamboat Springs