Monday, February 21, 2011

A Great Idea

I was reading a story about a family's problems with getting health insurance after her husband lost his job and the family health insurance. She clearly found the new healthcare law excellent and wanted to describe folks why, simply companies can't reject you and your family if they have it and you can pay the premiums, they can't deny any coverage once you are enrolled, and they can't cancel your policy on a whim.

She suggested if the members of Congress thought the old system was so good, they should turn down the government insurance available to all members and partially paid by the government, and get insurance on their own for themselves and their family. They should see what real people experience when families have children, and like all of us, have "pre-existing" conditions, which not suprisingly covers damn near every condition.

I know how grateful I've been with mine from my 4 years in the service and 28 years with the federal government, and now in retirement. I have the same company and policy now as when I was working. The only difference is I pay twice the premium now as then. And coverage can't be denied or the policy cancelled, for the rest of my life, no mater what happens and health issues or problems I encounter.

I know if I had to get private insurance I couldn't. I had Rheumatic Fever when I was a child. Almost all my life I had a heart murmur, and while it's still there, it's almost indiscernible anymore admidst the noise of the heart at my age. I have damage on the edge of one valve but it's not signifiant and not out of the ordinary for someone my age.

But I know with the recently discovered probems with my pulmonary artery (20% blockage), any insurance company would find a way to first deny claims and eventually cancel my policy for the possible costs I may have if things get worse. With the federal active and retired employees' plan, that can't happen.

And the good part is that changes only occur once a year starting every January with policy and premium changes overseen the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). The companies can't make changes during the year. And as much as people want to bitch about the government, there isn't a loss of companies in the program and applying every year. It's profitable for them and beneficial for the employees.

And above all, it's all guarranteed, for my life. And for members of Congress it's guarranteed for their term in Congress. It's easy, they just pick a plan and they're in no matter their or their families condition. Just like Representative Gabriel Gifford, it's all there and covered minus the fixed deductible. The medical bills won't inundate her family's finances.

So this woman's suggestion is a good one for Congress, and really for any issue. Go live like an ordinary family. With the majority of members being millionaires, they don't have to worrry (except those tax cuts they wanted) about a job, the family expenses and budget, the debt, the mortage, and so on.

And as suggested health insurance. That's something they can do now. Just turn down the government managed plan and go it alone on the market. And if you can't, as Rep. Boehner said, "So be it." There's always the high risk pools, but only if the state you represent has one, except maybe yours who opted out or delayed starting anyone. As any member of Congress would say, "Good luck."

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