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tv   Washington Journal 04012021  CSPAN  April 1, 2021 9:02am-10:01am EDT

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host: lawmakers are continuing with their easter access. -- recess. joining us now is sheryl gay stolberg on the state of the affordable care act.
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what is the state of the aca at this point? guest: you would say that the state of the aca is strong. it is 10 years old now, signed into law by barack obama, and it really is in charged and american society, despite many years of court challenges and republican efforts to repeal it. i interviewed a republican strategist not long ago and i asked about the fight to repeal the aca, and he said that fight has been won and lost. host: why? guest: it has survived numerous court challenges. the court is likely to decide by june, and by all appearances the justices seem inclined to
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reject this current challenge to the aca. there have been numerous attempts on capitol hill to repeal the law. you might remember when president donald trump was first in office, he pushed an effort to repeal and a senator john mccain came in at the last minute, sick with cancer, and give it the big thumbs down, and that was it. republicans have tried to repeal it and it has to survived and grown in popularity. the public, despite problems with the aca, and there are problems, the public is largely supportive of it now. host: what are the problems? guest: health care is still very expensive, even with the aca. the law has helped to provide insurance for some 23 million people that did not have it before, but it's still very expensive to purchase insurance
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on the open market. and so that is a problem that really needs to be fixed. we have seen health care costs go up dramatically in this country and to the aca has not been able to hold down costs, both for health care for prescription drugs. host: what is happening with subsidies today and will that help? guest: it will help. the $1.9 trillion rescue plan that president biden signed into law includes two years worth of extensions for subsidies for people who are basically too financially well off to qualify for subsidies, but not well off enough to really be able to afford insurance. so subsidies have been expanded from middle income to upper middle income americans, but it will only last for two more years, so the question now is
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what is going to happen at the end of the two years, and will congress expanded the subsidies or make them permanent? host: it applies to 36 states using health websites, premiums will be capped, down from 10% and 80% of people will be able to find plans for $10 or less after subsidies. so what is being talked about when you talk to lawmakers on capitol hill about what they do after these two years? guest: when i talk with lawmakers, and i actually talked with a doctor yesterday, a democrat, who said to me that there is going to be a push to make these permanent. that will be high on their list. another thing high on their list, the democrats, that they will get a fight from republicans on, is adding a public option to the aca. your viewers might remember that
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when the law was first passed, there was talk about a public option, and by that i mean the availability or opportunity for people to buy into a plan that is like medicare, controlled and run by the government. at the time, president obama said he didn't want to do a public option. i think he was looking at the political reality, that basically it was not going to pass congress or even get the support of moderate democrats. but i think politics have changed and the debate around the aca has moved to the point where the left is embracing a medicare for all plan, basically eliminating private insurance and having the government run the whole program. and somewhere in the middle would be a public option, which would allow people to just buy in. democrats will push hard for that and it will be interesting
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to see what republicans do. i think that they can be expected to fight it, as an expansion of government control. they will call it socialism, et cetera. we know that democrats have a narrow majority, the narrowest of majorities, and the senate, so will they be able to push a plan like this through on the budget or using the budget maneuver known as reconciliation? we will see. they will probably try. host: will they try this year along with the infrastructure proposal from the president? guest: that is a big question. a new president only has so much capital. and president joe biden has obviously decided to order his priorities in the way that we have seen. first, the stimulus bill, which extends the benefits or subsidies for two years.
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and yesterday, he laid out a massive infrastructure package. and he is really looking to remake the economy by having a green infrastructure initiative at that would rebuild roads, bridges, while creating jobs, raising taxes on corporate america, it cetera. so that will be a big fight for him. and i do not think that he can overlay that fight with another fight over health care. i think that he is going to have to do things sequentially. so, we will see how this infrastructure plan plays out. biden's time is limited, though. history shows us that the party in power loses seats during the midterm elections, so he probably has until may be midway through or early 2022 before the
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campaign season goes into full swing again, to try to make a health care push. right now, the top wi -- talk will be about infrastructure. and those on capitol hill that want health care reform will keep pushing for it. there have already been some hearings. and we will have to see what timetable that will take. host: we are talking about the affordable care act this morning. new york times' sheryl gay stolberg is here to take your questions. republicans, 202-748-8001. democrats, 202-748-8000. independents, 202-748-8002. if you are enrolled in the aca, 202-748-8003. we want to hear about your experience. what do people have to do to qualify for the new subsidies? guest: i think that they have to show their income. one thing the administration is
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also doing is trying to make it easier for people to enroll by putting money into the navigators, people who try to help people navigate the application process. that's something that was defunded under president trump, but president biden is building that up again. so people would have to, at least in these 36 states, either on their own go to the website and make an application or they could get help, from outside help, to do that if it is too confusing or maybe they do not have access to a computer. we should also note the american rescue plan has expanded incentives for states to expand medicaid. medicaid is a big reason why a number of americans come a large number of americans, have health
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insurance under the affordable care act. but that is an entirely different path for those who are lower income. and that is also, you know, a way for people to get insurance, and a way that many people who have lost their jobs and insurance and the pandemic have gotten covered. host: we will hear from linda in georgia. an independent. caller: hi, how are you? would you say that this is a common strategy that the democrats use to put something into place for two years, and since it is giving really basically money back into people's pockets, no one wants to refuse that. it seems to me like a slick way for the democrats to push in mor e of their welfare programs. guest: i would say the caller has good political instincts. she is right, this is a way
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democrats were able to set the table and get people used to something. i do not know i would call it a slick way, but it is a political strategy for them to get something on the table, have people become accustomed to it. and with the law, with the aca, it is really hard to take something away when people get used to it. that's why we saw debate over pre-existing conditions during the trump administration, when president trump would say, i want to repeal the affordable care act but i will not take away the coverage for pre-existing conditions, because people like that. i think the caller has a good point. host: a republican from kentucky on the line. kenneth, your turn. one last time. caller: hello.
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guest: hello to the state of kentucky. host: kenneth? hello? caller: yes? host: go ahead. caller: well, the only question i have not is -- have got is, uh. hello? host: ok, you are getting confused because you are trying to listen with your television and phone. just listen and talk through the phone. david, a republican. caller: my question is, when people do not like the $12,000 from obamacare, what did they do? did they go to medicaid or what? guest: i believe that is right. i confess i'm not 100% certain of the income qualifications for
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medicaid, but if your income is low enough, then that is what people do, they would go to medicaid. host: what are states doing with medicaid related to the aca provisions? guest: a dozen states have not extended medicaid. i need to explain how that happened. when the aca was passed, it required states to expand medicaid. states, some of them fought and there was a court case and the supreme court found that congress could not require states to do that, so states were allowed to opt out of the medicaid expansion. 12 of them have done so. under the american rescue plan, there were incentives where the federal government was going to pick up more of the cost, so
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states could expand medicaid. we have seen two states that have talked about doing so, alabama and wyoming. just yesterday, or may be the day before, wyoming killed the medicaid expansion. so, i think that we are still at status quo in 12 states where medicaid has not been expanded. and in most states, it is tough for people. you can go from one state that has expanded to medicaid to a state that has not and find different insurance pictures among the residents. for those folks who do not live in medicaid expansion states, it can be hard. they can fall through the cracks. they do not qualify for medicaid, but probably also do not qualify for subsidies, because as the original law was
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envisioned they would have gone into medicaid. host: take a look at the map of state action on the medicaid expansion decision. the states in orange not adopting, not adopted. chris in dayton, ohio. a democratic caller. caller: if every state had set up an insurance exchange and extended medicaid, would insurance be cheaper? thank you. guest: well, you know, that's a great question. and i think that that is a question maybe more for a health care economist than for a reporter for the new york times. it's hard to know whether or not insurance would be cheaper,
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although one would think if people who had serious health conditions, perhaps enrolled in medicaid, and the government was absorbing those costs, thus leaving the pool of those insured -- that would be minimized for the insurance companies, it is possible premiums would be lower. but i feel like i am talking out of my league here, so i will not address what might happen if medicaid had been expanded to all states. it is hard to know. host: gabby in washington, an independent. caller: hi, i have a question. it kind of relates to -- back to the voting suppression that ties into health care. if the -- if voting suppression
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is able to continue because of court judgments and that kind of thing, could the risk -- is it possible that it would bring out and motivate so many voters, that the democrats will win a lot more seats because it is so highly motivating, and then we could actually get really good health care for all of the states, maybe? if you could -- host: why do you think you would get good health care if more people turn out to vote? what's your assumption, that one party wins? caller: that more progressives would win. the democratic party, i think, well, i've been dissatisfied with because they have been to corporate. so i am thinking -- too
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corporate. so i am thinking if more progressives come out -- host: we understand. what do you think? guest: it is an interesting point about democratic politics, politics within the democratic party. really, despite president joe biden's victory, the progressive wing of the party really is ascending. i was struck that when medicaid for all was introduced in the house a couple of weeks ago, a majority of the democratic caucus signed on, including representative malone, the chairman of the house energy and commerce committee, who has control over health care legislation. this is an indication that the party is moving on health care. we know that the public views democrats as better positioned to handle health care than republicans. when you ask, who is better, who
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do you trust more on health care, the public tends to trust democrats. so it has been a strong issue for them. health care is the way that democrats won the house back in 2018. they ran on a health care message and they won. they ran again on a health care message in 2020 and they won, although more narrowly so. so, i think that the voter is talking about -- or the caller is talking about the idea of a backlash, a rising up among progressives who take umbrage at the efforts at that republicans are making around the country to restrict voting rights or to make it harder for people to vote. and i think that progressives are motivated and we really saw that in the 2020 elections in georgia, for instance. who would have thought that two democrats would take the georgia
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senate seats. that was in large part because of an animated progressive base in georgia. so, i do think that that idea about backlash is well taken. host: a caller, democrat from pennsylvania. caller: i wanted to say that insurance companies tend to go into fits whenever they have to pay more than half of their premiums for benefits. so, actually the government run program would definitely cut prices in half. and -- host: let's take that point. guest: certainly, e-government run -- a government run program writ large, in other words medicare for everyone, i think
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would certainly cut the costs of health care. i just do not think that is going to happen, frankly, in this country, despite what i said about more democrats embracing it. i think that we remain a center-right country and republicans will cast that bill as a socialism. so, i do not think -- so, i do not think that that is likely to happen. i do think if democrats can pass of the public option, then for those who could buy into a public option, the costs would be lower, but we will see a huge push from the insurance industry not to do away with the employer-based insurance program. host: ken in massachusetts, an independent. caller: thank you for having me this morning. host: go ahead, we are
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listening. caller: yes, there are so many issues here besides at the affordable care act. it's a good thing, because there's tons of people not insured properly. but for some reason people think if they have in a kind of insurance, oh, i have insurance so i will be saved. insurance policies that -- the [indiscernible] with severe lead poisoning and gluten allergies. that came from a lot of areas. but the medical attention i got from that that ridiculous. host: ok, we are losing him. we will go to howard in virginia. a republican. caller: i was listening earlier this morning. are they going to do with the
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personal insurance we have, plus the medicare and medicaid we have? thank you. guest: uh, well, i certainly do not see congress doing away with medicare and medicaid, those programs are here to stay. and i also do not see congress doing away with employer-based insurance. what they might do is to try to expanded the ability of people to buy into a government run program. nobody would have to buy into the program. if people are comfortable with their employer-based insurance, then i would think that, you know, that they would still be able to have it, although i do wonder if over time, if there was a public option, if more and more companies might try to
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steer their employees into it. i wonder about the cost of health care -- it's a high cost not only for individuals, but for companies to provide health care to their employees. host: i was going to ask, what if companies do away with employer-based insurance? guest: i do think that that is going to be part of the debate. and i do not want to say that is a risk, because i think that that is the wrong connotation, but that is a possible outcome of adding a public option, especially when you think of smaller companies that are really struggling to provide insurance coverage to their employees. perhaps they wouldn't provide their employees a subsidy to buy into the public option. so it might shift the dynamic of employer-based health care in
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this country. i am assuming that they would -- that that would be worrisome to the insurance industry, which relies on employer-based coverage for a lot of its income. host: a democratic caller in kansas city. caller: how are you? host: good morning. caller: i am wondering if your guest is aware of the referendum that was passed in missouri about adding additional medicare and medicaid aid for those that are underprivileged, and yet our misery congress has -- our congress has overturned that referendum. i think they passed it and overturned it, and are going to -- the unemployed and welfare people or people who have been
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hit the hardest by this covid pandemic, and they are not going to provide any assistance for those people. and i think, i just think missouri is becoming a fascist state. guest: i am aware. that's an interesting point. when the issue of medicaid expansion goes to the voters, voters tend to favor it. and the public is behind the idea that people deserve health care. as far as the specifics of what's happening in missouri, um, you know, i think frankly that the caller is right, that there will be some people who could have had coverage who will be left in the lurch because of this. host: terry in washington, a
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republican. caller: i have been finding the conversation interesting. i used to work for the health care authority before i retired, and we have actually processed things for aca, but we also have contracts with the health care providers. and what was always amazing to me was actually the providers could leverage the system. they could put a rate for whatever they want, and the state basically had to take it. so when they can leverage that rate, no matter what the aca does, it does not make a difference because providers can do what they want. guest: when uc providers -- you say providers, you mean insurance providers? caller: like kaiser permanente, insurance providers.
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guest: usually we hear that medicare is the 800 pound gorilla, which means when medicare sets a rate for something, the private insurers tend to follow. because medicare is such a big player in the market. it is interesting to hear that it could in fact be the other way around, and when the private insurers are setting a rate, the government has to follow. that's intriguing to me. host: do you have a follow-up? caller: yes, for medicare, they do rule the rates, but we have thousands of people in my state that are not medicare eligible, they are not even medicaid eligible, and that is where the leverage happens. so people who are under that age, they can leverage whatever they want. guest: i see. well, that makes sense.
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host: sheryl gay stolberg is a correspondent for the new york times. follow her on twitter @ sherylnyt. guest: there you go. host: thank you for the conversation. guest: thank you. host: we will continue this conversation about health care and health care costs. we want to hear your individual stories. what are your health care costs? eastern central part of the country, not on pacific, and those enrolled in the affordable care act. before we get to your phone calls, here is president biden discussing how the american relief plan will affect people who get insurance from the affordable care act. [video clip] pres. biden: it makes health care more affordable.
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it means lower premiums. if you enroll in obamacare, you will save an average of $50 a month, $600 a year. for a family of four earning $90,000 a year, that could save $200 a month. for a 60-year-old couple in ohio, earning $75,000 a year, it could save them about $1000 per month. to maintain the same health care. at $12,000 a year -- that's $12,000 a year in your pocket. you may have lost health care because you lost your job, so you pay your contribution and employer's contribution on employer-based health insurance. so, since they have gone out of business or you are no longer there because you had to be laid off, you can stay covered for up to six months until you get back on your feet. the federal government will
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cover both ends of the payment. host: president biden in march. subsidies are expanded today in the affordable care act. it will be applied in 36 states using's website. the premiums will be capped at 8.5% of income, down from 10%, and people will be able to find plans for $10 or less after subsidies. based on a survey, an estimated 46 million cannot afford needed care, one in five adults. in the survey, 18% or 46 million report that if they needed to access quality health care today, they would be unable to pay for it. this is how it breaks down by race and ethnicity. 29% of black adults say they are not able to afford quality care while 20% of hispanics said the
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same thing and a 16% of white adults. when you look at it by age, nine nonwhite adults saying they could not afford it. 26% of them said they could not afford it. 20% of white adults between 18-49 also saying they could not afford it. we are asking, what are your health care costs? linda in orange county, explain them to us. caller: good morning. our health care costs are through medicare, and if we want a supplemental we need to pay for that on our own, but i also have two points i want to make with the public option buy in. like medicare. we raised four children and over the years we cap jobs that the
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pay was not as good because the benefits were there and we needed them for our family. if we had a public option and we could've purchased that ourselves on our own, we would've been able to move from job to job. second of all, we would not have had to had our employers throw wages, instead of benefits, interfaces. it would've allowed us so much more flexibility and still keep our children and family insured. so i am all for a public option buy-in. granted, there are different levels. there's medicare, and if you want, you have to buy supplemental. i'm sure that many elderly cannot afford that. but i'm all for a buy-in for the medicare option. host: this survey was done by
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the kaiser family foundation and this was a poll taken in 2020, but they found that a national health plan, sometimes called medicare for all, in which all americans would get health insurance from a single government plan, 20% said they opposed, and independents were at 61% favorability. republicans, 72% opposed medicare for all, while 24% favor it. now when you ask them, a government administered health care plan, sometimes called a public option, that would compete with private insurance plans and the available to all americans, look at the numbers. 85% of democrats say they would favor it. and 73% of independents also favor it. and a portion of republicans goes up to 42% versus 51% that
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opposed. frank in new york, what are your health care costs like? caller: i am retired. now i know young people are having a hard time. you showed joe biden with that $90,000 where they will save $200, but the tax you like $10,000. so what are you saving? it is bull. it's a lie. and the wall street journal list you just showed, what, did you take a poll of all liberals? host: it is the new york times. it's not our poll. james in alabama. caller: i have health care costs through the v.a.. my wife, her employer pays her
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insurance. before i got with the v.a., i was a truck driver and my employer paid my blue cross-blue shield. before i became a truck driver i worked for the railroad. there was a man from canada who worked with us and i asked, why did you come to alabama to work, and he said they kept putting off my health in canada because i had cancer. once he got to alabama, he got blue cross blue shield of florida. and he instantly started seeing the doctor .. he said in canada, it will be six months, then another six months . but i got good insurance through the v.a. but i just wanted to tell you that according to him, the universal health care does not work. it didn't work for him in
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canada. he had to transfer to alabama at the age of 61. host: take a look at the health system website where they have put together a comparison of what americans pay versus other countries. on average, other countries spend about half as much per person on health than in the u.s. particular, on average, per person, it's nearly $11,000 compared to other countries. the comparable country average is around $5,697. joan in phoenix, arizona. caller: yes. i'm 82 and i'm on medicare. i'm having a lot of problems with that because of the facility charge that i'm also being charged. i'm a very low income person.
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and it happened that i did not get on the -- the advantage plans this year. because of the situation. and now i'm having problems with the facility charge, even though i'm taking advantage of what i can. host: how much is the charge? caller: the facility charge, the one i got was $25. host: a month? caller: $25 for each visit that animate -- i make. or that i made to one particular doctor. i have not been to other doctors this year. but when i asked, i did not get a receipt that day and today took it out of my credit card, but they did not give me a
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receipt. they gave me a paper that showed estimated costs of what medicare would pay, that i would end up paying. so, anyway, they put it on my credit card, but a year later when i have a recertification, um, i cannot get on the receipt, it does not show i paid it. it says transfer of funds for that amount. host: let me get in paul in birmingham, alabama. what are your health care costs like? caller: i do not have health care coverage at all. the reason being is recently got on disability and i did not have to wait to get a lawyer, they just put me on disability right away because i'm so bad off. usually you have to wait two years before you get health care
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coverage from the government when you go on disability, and it is a ridiculous situation. i do not know what to do. i'm here with no health care and no way to get it. i used to have the aca and that was so wonderful, but now everything is gone and i am wondering if somebody could look into the two year loophole going on. i guess they just want people to die. host: that is constituent services, you need to reach out to a member of congress. we have a text saying, "my son has blue cross blue shield employer plan. $1200 a month, family of three, $10,000 deductible for each." ken and montana. caller: my costs -- first, i should say i am almost 80 years old. and my costs due to health care
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are mainly for insulin. i'm a 40 plus year diabetic. in 1997, i was playing $12.97 -- paying $12.97 for insulin. that was before medicare. my total cost now is about $1000 a year for insulin. now on medicare, my bottle is $160. i have that donut hole that i have fallen into, so now my cost for insulin are approximately out of my pocket at $3000 a year. we have to do something as a nation to control the costs of health care and medicine. and as long as we do not, as long as we do nothing and we
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just bounce of the ball around and fight between republicans and democrats, and i am a democrat, i do not make any bones about it, but as on as we continue to fight over this very basic individual right, nothing will get accomplished. and our kids and families will suffer from it. host: there was a hearing recently on capitol hill about health care costs and how the cost of insulin has gone up, it was brought up several times. there was a headline about the burden continuing to rise, despite reduced net costs. joanne in connecticut. you are next. caller: hello. i'm calling to talk about the cost of the aca, affordable health care, which i think was a total misnomer. and a genius name.
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i'm telling you about the cost. i'm on medicare, i'm an old person. but my son and daughter-in-law have three children. when the aca came in, their deductible was not -- i do not know what it is now, but the deductible reached $7,500. and monthly premiums were so high that my daughter-in-law, who was a stay-at-home mother, now is a full-time worker. they could not afford health care. so it is not the affordable care act. i think that was a genius stroke to call it that. thank you. host: ok. "my husband was getting his blood pressure medicine from express -- at $6 a month. now the local pharmacy wants $90 a month." pamela in arkansas. hi.
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caller: hello. i wanted to make a comment. you heard a veteran call in. i'm so glad he did. i'm a retired v.a. employee. it's not free care. every taxpayer pays for it and we are happy to do it. i'm just below age 65 and my health care costs -- i have a pension and social security -- i pay about one hundred seven dollars a monthto -- $107 a month to hold my insurance until i become medicare age, then once i become that age have to take medicare part a, then i will either have to choose medicare part b or keep my blue cross. so, is anybody else out there as confused as i am? i do not qualify for the affordable health care act. thank you. host: news about the covid-19
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vaccine. pfizer's vaccine is effective after six months and moderna is starting a variant trial. dale in illinois, good morning. share your health care costs with us. what's it like for you? caller: i pay nothing for medical because i have not gone to a doctor since 1974. i'm working and i will be 70 in june. i always refuse medical coverage. host: you refuse it from your employer? caller: yes. host: what do they give you in return? caller: nothing. i do not apply for it. they have a meeting to offer you what they have and i refuse it. my medicare costs -- medical costs have been zero. host: diane in pennsylvania.
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hi. caller: good morning. host: good morning. how much do you pay in health care costs? caller: i am on ssdi, so i am covered under medicare and apart s, supplemental -- and part s, supplemental. it's a small cost considering the benefits i get. i wanted to talk about the pharmaceutical industry and hospital industry, who go after group pricing. these costs can be brought down. the aca did nothing but increase everybody's deductibles. i was not working at the time, but my boyfriend is working, and his deductible went from $300 a year to $3000 a year. you know, it -- there's nothing affordable about the affordable care act. i had to navigate my daughter
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through that and it was a nightmare. 10 years later, we are still trying to get golden rules off of her information because just yesterday somebody called saying, golden rule is her primary insurance. that was a joke that was part of obamacare. all they did was give you discounts on over-the-counter medication and she was paying for that monthly. so as an intelligent nation that we are, there are other ways to go about this than the aca. again, going after the pharmaceutical companies, getting them to reduce prices to what other countries are paying. and hospital transparency. i choose whether i go to upnc or penn state or another provider based on costs. host: diane in pennsylvania.
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we want to share other news. an iowa democrat claiming "toxic campaign, bluecoat's formation -- political disinformation" and she has withdrawn from challenging iowa's second district seat. another caller now, daisy. caller: i have always been a fan of the aca and i have gotten to use it in two different situations. in one eye was a part-time worker and my employer did not have insurance. and i had a dependent. at the premiums were low and i did not even have to pay a deductible or anything. but when you go back to work, and i became a full-time worker, then basically speaking even if my employer, for whatever reason, do not have insurance,
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it just becomes too expensive. the deductibles are high. in new york went anything over $30,000 and you have no dependent, you are going to pay $600 a month and at the deductibles are ridiculous. it's like having no insurance if you are paying $500 and you still have to pay a high co-pay when you see a doctor. like i said, it was better than nothing because it did offer that children can stay on your plan longer, so there were some good things with it. but they need to definitely start looking into that. and for the people that make over $40,000, you know, that is not a lot of money per year, and if you are paying $600 a month, it is not doable for many people. host: ok, pat now in georgia. caller: hello. host: it is your turn. caller: yes, i have been
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enrolled in the aca for three years. and the first year my part was $30 a month. last year, it was $60. this year it is free. so my concern is, um, the first two years my premium, that was paid by other taxpayers, was $957. and this year it shot up to $1100 for one person. i have not gone to the doctor much. and -- host: but you get a subsidy to pay for that, so you are not paying for that? caller: i think what is amazing -- right -- i feel lucky to have it. 'im 64 -- i'm 64 and i will have to have this until i qualify for medicare next year, but now i
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feel like a welfare bum. when i worked for someone, is seemed like for decades my insurance was about $400 to $600 a month, then with the aca it just about doubled and now it is more than that. it's very expensive. somebody has to pay for that. so i feel guilty about using it. host: angelo in new york, good morning. caller: hi. i get my health care from my provider. and it does not cost me much because they pay for it. i pay a copayment when i go to the doctor. it goes up a little bit every once in a while. when i look over my statements, i get charged, or they actually get charged something like $500 for something then they settle on a cost, paying them only $70
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or so because they are in insurance company. i have to wonder, if they just charged the $70 to begin with that they were settling for anyway, if they charged everybody that, then why does anybody need insurance? host: angelo in new york. a tweet, "i'm one of the lucky ones. my health insurance is subsidized by the retirement system after 28 years of civil service. the premiums are reasonable. i'm still pro single player -- payer." carl in new jersey. caller: good morning. i happen to be an insurance broker and i just turned on the last 15 minutes. host: carl, you are muffled. can you talk right into the phone? caller: i thought i was, i'm sorry.
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can you hear me now? host: yes. caller: i am an insurance broker who works in the philadelphia area, the delaware valley, and i am astounded at the number of people who do not have good professional advice right now. what people are saying, a lot of it is wrong. if they got professional advice, the aca would work well for each and every one of them. i wanted to put it out there that if people got advice from professional insurance brokers, a lot of the confusion would probably go away. host: can you give us an example from what you heard from one of our viewers? caller: the woman that said she had to pay for part a, then she chooses part b, that is not true. you get part a because you pay social security taxes, so she has been paying for that all of her working life. b, you buy from the government,
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and on top of that you choose to either purchase a supplement or a medicare advantage plan. if she had a professional to guide her, she would understand this completely and it would make it easier to navigate the nuances of the system. host: how much does it cost for a professional to guide you? caller: nothing, because professionals are paid commissions by the insurance companies to guide people, so they can get any professional they want at no cost. host: ok, thank you. don in pennsylvania. -- dawn in pennsylvania. caller: yes, i want to comment on the previous caller. i did have a professional insurance broker, which i ended up using the services of, and it turned out i was a tad overqualified for a government subsidy. and my premium that year, from
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june 2018 until the end of the year was $1600 a month with my deductible being $5,500. it's crazy. in other words, from 2018 until this past january, when i turned 65, i shelled out $60,000 through obamacare, supposedly affordable care, $60,000 in health care costs. but i needed the insurance, so i was afraid to take the chance of not having it. host: dawn, thank you. a text, "when will the affordable care act be affordable? we take $20,000 a year in premiums, plus co-pays. this is through my employer.
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it is nearly 50% of my salary. that is not affordable." caller in tennessee. caller: are you the one i will be talking with? host: yes. caller: i am a single lady and i have a supplement. and i pay total a year $4716, and i pay it every three months. and when i do, every other check i am putting it out on the first of the month. that's the only income i have. i do not have retirement or anything. i wanted to ask another question while i'm on here. it's concerning -- well, it is not about health care. i'm an older lady and i do not have a computer or smartphone. and the stimulus, this time
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around, we have been getting them direct deposit, which you should with the social security, and they are saying -- i got somebody to check for me and it is saying they have no data and if they are working on it. and not -- and i may not be eligible. host: have you filed your 2020 tax returns? caller: i am not required to. and so i haven't. but i have talked. i do not understand why this administration has not put more on the news. you know, the last time, not that i am a supporter of donald trump -- host: i would call your member of congress. this is something that they can help you with. stephen in illinois, go ahead. caller: i want to make one small,. comment.
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nobody ever seems to interview doctors about what they think about health care. and the costs of everything. it's ridiculous. they know, but they keep their mouth shut. i do not like that because they are privy to all the transactions that go on. the one thing i never see is anybody interviewing them and putting them on the all, they ao be advocates for their patients. they are a bunch of cowards and people have to stop putting them on pedestals. they are people and they need to be cross-examined about this because it is their fault the system got the way it was. host: why their fault? caller: i will tell you why. they either go along with the charges or not. they profit from shutting up. i don't like it. it's easy for them to shut up and just go along with it because they are being appeased by large


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