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Poor state of health.

As a man in his sixties, I am starting to have more occasion to visit doctors and use my health insurance. What was once a relatively small amount of my budget has quickly grown these past few years to a large chunk. My wife and I share a $5,000 deductible responsibility and I pay a monthly deduction of around $560 from my paycheck. I know people who are far more worse off than that! Between that deduction and the amount of money I have to put in my HSA, it leaves little room for income growth. In fact, I had to increase my HSA deduction to meet rising costs to us and it basically erases my annual raise.

I am grateful that I got a cost of living increase to help offset the additional health care expenses, but that does not eliminate the need to ask the question: why is it increasing so much all the time anyway?

I remember the GOP voting some ridiculous number of times to repeal the Affordable Care Act when the Democrats held the majority. Purely symbolic and political, with no effect whatsoever. Everybody soon knew the Affordable Care Act was making insurance anything but affordable and wanted action, not symbolic votes. All we got was a lot of speeches and talk from a body that doesn't have to worry about healthcare costs EVER. So what happens? The GOP gets the majority and finally has a chance to repeal the act and replace it with something more functional that would actually drive costs down. However, they fail to agree on anything. Simply pathetic in the first degree. How can Republicans wonder why they aren't more popular? They are often seen as  a party of rich ol' white men who simply wish to protect the status quo. While I know that they have been historically the party of civil rights and less government interference, they have grown to be the old Establishment party who can't even agree on what the weather is doing outside.

Look, I am no fan of many of the strangling regulations the Obama administration placed on our economy or the unwieldy "Affordable Care" act that has caused premiums to skyrocket. But... at least President Obama did something about it. It may have been wrong in many ways (OK in others), but it was something. All I have listened to now (counting President Trump's 2 years in office and Obama's 8) for 10 years is how they are going to do something -- when, in fact, they have done NOTHING.

In President Trump's kickoff rally, I heard how prescription drug prices have fallen. Really? I'm not paying less. Moreover, all I know is that my insurer still gets to 'call the shots' and does not approve some medications that might make my life a whole lot better, just because they won't negotiate with the Pharmaceutical companies (another big problem in the U.S.) and pay a fair price. It doesn't seem to matter that a prescription my doctor is recommending might be the best thing for me, if the insurance company doesn't feel like paying for it.

I don't have the answers. Does it make more sense to have single payer coverage from the government like many civilized countries in the world do or should we open it up to the free market and let the people drive down the costs by being competitive? What I am sure of is the in-between partial control by the government with the burden of costs placed on the employer does not work well. Anybody can see that. Why can't we buy insurance across state lines? What is the reasoning behind not allowing that? The healthcare system in this country is badly broken. Those of us who are American citizens have the right to answers.

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