Tuesday morning, the Affordable Care Act becomes a new norm. A good new norm.
Sure, it will have some kinks, but nothing that can't be worked out by thinking members of the U.S. Congress on both sides of the aisle who really care about their country and their fellow man - not just about the sound of their voices.
With the new health insurance exchanges debuting this week, this Affordable Care Act is offering insurance and plan choices so everyone can be covered by insurance. No one will be shut out anymore.
Before tax credits, that work like upfront discounts for most who will enroll, the average premium cost for an individual will be about $328 a month nationally. In Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama, where 10-20 percent of residents are uninsured, it will be less: In Tennessee, $245; in Georgia, $317; in Alabama, $318, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
With those tax-credit subsidies for many people without employer provided insurance, the cost will be even lower. Likely those individual insurance premiums will be equal or lower than the cost born by workers with company insurance. For instance, at one Chattanooga company, individuals pay $165 a month on a $417 premium while the company pays the rest - $252.
Factoring in the subsidizing tax credits of Obamacare, a 27-year-old making $25,000 a year would see the premium for one of the most popular plan choices drop to $145 a month in nearly every state, including those in this region.
What about families? A family of four with earnings of $50,000 could get a monthly premium for a plan with modest co-payments for $282. But if the family used its tax credit to buy the cheapest plan, one with higher co-payments, the premiums would be $112 in Alabama, $132 in Georgia, and $128 in Tennessee, according to the government's state-by-state chart.
The Republican naysayers have thrown every possible obstruction in front of this program, apparently because they so fear its success with the American people.
Frankly, some of the scam websites seeking donations to help stop "Obamacare" should be criminally investigated. Again, the Affordable Care Act is the law. Naysayers claim choice is gone? Not true. As with most private insurance, you have different tiers of coverage to choose from. Buyers can cost share with deductibles and co-payments, or they can choose a more costly and comprehensive plan.
Obamacare already has provided thousands with insurance simply by raising the age for young adults who may stay on their parents' insurance plans to 26. It also means insurers can no longer turn down a customer for preexisting health conditions or drop them if they get sick. And it requires insurers to spend 80 percent of premiums for actual health care, not insurance corporate bonuses.
Still, Republicans want to tie funding the Affordable Care Act to the budget: Defund-Obamacare-or-shut-down government goes the mindless chant of sillybuster Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
During his speechifying last week Cruz recited the story of "Green Eggs and Ham," a Dr. Seuss book about people who don't want to try something new, then upon trying it they find they do like it. Here's a slight rewrite - just for the senator.
"So, I will eat them in a box. And I will eat them with a fox. And I will eat them in a house. And I will eat them with a mouse. And I will eat them here and there. Say! I will eat them ANYWHERE! I do so like green eggs and ham!
"Thank you! Thank you, Uncle- Sam-I-am."