Open enrollment has begun for the Affordable Care Act, and CNN is quick to report that despite premiums continuing to skyrocket, federal subsidies will protect most enrollees. But Christopher Briggs, a father in Virginia, wants to know whos going to protect his family from Obamacare itself.
Joe Biden ran an ad when he was president, saying he couldnt imagine what it would be like to have a child with cancer and no health coverage, Mr. Briggs said. I dont have to imagine.
His familys struggles encapsulate the broken promises of the ACA.
When the Briggs youngest daughter was 2, she was diagnosed with leukemia. The familys health insurance premiums rose to a level they simply couldnt afford. Consequently, they turned to the Obamacare marketplace to find a less expensive policy.
That was in 2017; in Virginia, their only option was Cignawhich wouldnt cover their daughters cancer treatment at Inova Fairfax, the only hospital in the region with a pediatric oncology ward. A policy they purchased in 2020 initially said it would cover her clinic, but it reversed course in the middle of the pandemic and dropped that facility.
Under Obamacare, our daughter was effectively without coverage for cancer, Mr. Briggs said.
Its been a constant struggle for the family ever since. In 2020, they were able to buy a slightly better policy, and for now, their daughters cancer is in remission.
But doctors tell us it can come back, and that has us worried, Mr. Briggs told me. Will our insurance cover the treatment she might need?
Obamacare was supposed to end these kinds of life-altering problems, but its promises have proved hollow.
Remember this one? If you like your health care plan, youll be able to keep your health care plan, period. Even Politifact named this one its Lie of the Year for 2013.
The Briggs family had a perfectly good health plan before the Affordable Care Act was passed. The ACA, however, limited their options to more expensive plans that offered fewer benefits. In fact, up to 9.3 million people lost their coverage in the first open enrollment period. Then-President Barack Obama eventually apologized to these families for misleading them.
How about this one? You can keep your doctor. As many as 214,000 doctors opted out of participating in Obamacare exchange plans. CNN declared that claim false. And the ACA website revised and then dropped the section titled Can I keep my own doctor?
For the Briggs family, this was a bitter disappointmentdoes it count as coverage if a plan doesnt cover the pediatric leukemia physicians that their daughter needed and could need again?
Even one of the legislations most popular promisesthat parents could cover their offspring through the age of 26proved false. An older daughter, who is 24, is heading to graduate school. The Briggses would love to include her on their insurance plan, and under the ACA, she should qualifyexcept for a provision that makes it all but impossible for those on the Obamacare exchange to add adult children.
For Christopher Briggs, the Affordable Care Act has been an American dream-killer. His purchasing options are severely restricted, and the one-size-fits-all nature of the exchange policies just doesnt work for his family.
What makes it worse is that the government knows how flawed Obamacare is, yet instead of fixing it, they are resorting to limiting more affordable private plans in a naive attempt to get more healthy Americans to buy into ACA plans. My group, the Texas Public Policy Foundation, has filed a comment opposing the limits.
When Mr. Briggs had trouble enrolling his older daughter in his plan, a federal employee advised him to simply lie on the form. He rightly refused to do that.
But he hasnt given up on fighting for medical freedom for himself and his family. He now works with the Independent Institute to tell his story and to demonstrate the failings of the ACA.
In its coverage of the issue, CNN seems to be unaware of the fundamental truth the Briggs family has discovered: Coverage doesnt equal care, and continuing to subsidize a broken government insurance market changes nothing.