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Here are some news stories and articles which might be of interest to you. I've posted the opening section, and if you want to read more, you can click on "Read the whole article" to go to the original item. You'll find a variety of things here -- current news, political analysis, opinion pieces, articles about religion -- things I've happened to read and want to share with you. It's your Reading Room, so take your time. Browse. You're certain to find something you'll want to read.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It’s Not Political, It’s Personal

How one family would fare under the current health-care bills.

By Joseph Coletti

I have spent a good part of the past few months reading and talking about health care. In the back of my mind is always the nagging question that many other Americans are asking themselves: “What about me? What will all this mean for my health care?”

I cannot answer these simple questions for my own family’s consumer-driven health plan. Complicating my job is the fact that the president has not endorsed or even summarized a specific policy or a plan. Which leaves us reading the bills or whatever is publicly available, though these items change on a daily basis.

Through all the obfuscation and dissimulation, the outlook for my family’s health insurance is not good. President Obama and Democrats in Congress still repeat the line, “If you like your insurance or your doctor, you can keep them.” But the clear effect of the House and Senate bills would be to take away my high-deductible plan and accompanying health savings account (HSA).

Start with the minimum requirements for health insurance under the House Democrats’ plan. Many of these are above and beyond my current level of coverage, meaning my insurance wouldn’t satisfy them — and I’d have to buy a more comprehensive (and expensive) policy. These requirements include medical equipment for the home, cost-free preventive services, limits on out-of-pocket expenses of $10,000 per family (my share of out-of-network services could be twice as much, so that’s a potential disqualifier), and oral-health and vision services for children under 21 (my children’s dentistry and vision care are not covered).

There’s also a minimum actuarial value of 70 percent, meaning that the insurance policy would have to cover 70 percent of my family’s expected cost of care (based on our demographics). Regulators would calculate my policy’s actuarial value without counting my Health Savings Account (HSA), which would guarantee a low actuarial value, and so mean my insurance does not cover enough.

The whole reason we chose the high-deductible policy and the HSA was to save money on premiums — with the full knowledge that the insurance policy would not cover our costs until we reached our deductible. Our preferences do not matter under the law, however, and my family would have to purchase a more expensive insurance policy deemed acceptable to the government...  Read the whole article.

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Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.