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Face to Face With Obamacare

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Long-time readers are familiar with my rolling, four-year critique of Obamacare and my unstinting ardor for its repeal, either at the hands of the Supreme Court or the American people.

But alas, John Roberts vacated the courage of his convictions in 2011 and voters saw fit to give President Obama a second term in 2012, likely making Obamacare a fixture of our lives. Court challenges and various legislative rear-guard actions continue in an effort to slow implementation of the law, but that has not stopped the fetor of Obamacare which now moves inexorably closer to entangle the public in very real ways.

I know. I have now had my moment.

Like a prairie farmer staring down an approaching twister with grim foreboding, I have finally come face to face with Obamacare on a personal level.

First, there was the notice from my health insurance company. Effective May 1st, my monthly premium will spike by nearly 20 percent – the necessary adjustment in basic rates to accommodate the new, mandated coverages of Obamacare.

Or, said another way, in order to get all the good, free stuff in Obamacare, I am going to have to pay more.

It’s ok. Go ahead and laugh.

Indeed, chuckle again that the pointy heads in Congress and HHS who have delivered this burden to us with the best of intentions, still don’t understand the iron principle of economics – there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Fast on the heels of the insurance notice came a public announcement by the Administration that Obamacare’s small business insurance exchange–which lets employees negotiate the best healthcare rate with insurance companies in a competitive marketplace–won’t be ready until 2015, a year after its intended debut. As I run a small business, the exchange was my best hope to find and keep affordable insurance.

So, it now appears that I am stuck with increasing fees to pay for Obamacare mandates, without any of the alleged benefits that will level the costs – at least until 2015.

What to do? I briefly imagined life without having to pay exorbitant health insurance premiums.

But that day-dream crashed and burned when I made my annual pilgrimage to the accountant to have my taxes done.To the litany of questions and advisories that are standard in preparing a return, there was a startling new bit of information at the very end.

I was told what my penalty – pardon, John Roberts opined that it was a tax – would be if I did not have health insurance in 2014 when Obamacare officially kicks in. Little did I know that the first potential penalties are being conjured now, by the IRS - don’t you just love them - based on a percentage of your adjusted gross income for tax year 2012.

Now, this is certainly terrific news for the 90 million Americans not currently in the labor force (latest jobs report) -though no one actually escapes Obamacare penalties, even the unemployed - but it is a stark reminder to the rest of us, seeking prosperity amid difficult economic times, that you can run from Obamacare, but you cannot hide.

Remember well as Obamacare roars to life that President Obama and his supporters promised that we could keep our insurance, that we would pay less for it and get better quality out of it.

Today, none of that is true.

The irony here is that I shouldn’t be surprised. I warned about this for four years.

It is one of those times when you regret being right.

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