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Unaffordable Health Care


I like my healthcare plan.

But I can’t keep it. Period.

I remember the process well…

My beautiful wife Michele and I sat down with an insurance agent several years ago, poured over all kinds of different options regarding cost, coverage, deductibles, etc. from several different insurance companies, asked lots of questions, did lots of thinking and finally decided on a healthcare plan we liked.

We’ve been very happy with that decision ever since, and haven’t even had to waste 30 seconds thinking about it, since it renewed automatically every year. We also had zero fear that Blue Cross/Blue Shield would ever cancel it and make us go through the whole agonizing “choosing a healthcare plan” process again.

And then along came Obamacare.

And along with it, this letter (click to enlarge):

Obamacare letter

Now, I’m no healthcare expert. But when I read that our new “Option 1” would be “most similar in benefits to what you have today,” and would cost us 63% more than what we’re paying now, something tells me that I’ve been had.

*NOTE: We also have “Option 2” where our deductible would rise by 43%, and our cost would go up by 9% as well. Not too bad – as long as we never need to use it, I guess.

Our President repeatedly insisted that his signature piece of legislation would be all things to all people – that it would result in better insurance, for more people, at lower costs. And because it was our President making all of those outrageous claims, I believed them.

Wow. Was I an idiot.

After all, the guy’s a politician – and a brilliant one, at that. That means that virtually everything he says and does serves one person and one person only: himself. In this case, he duped millions of Americans into paying higher insurance costs in order to subsidize coverage for others.

A noble cause – but one this nation can ill afford (no pun intended) while still mired in the worst economic “recovery” in our history, still owing China (of all countries!) trillions upon trillions of dollars.

Shouldn’t we as Americans be able to choose whether or not we want to support this “noble cause” – and not simply be lied to and railroaded into it under false pretenses?

Our fearless leader lied about what Obamacare would really do, jammed it into law, single-handedly changed it in many fundamental ways (including opting his cronies out of having to participate in it) and then rolled it out via an embarrassingly dysfunctional and overpriced website. The entire fiasco has become an historically outrageous example of the mindset that “the end justifies the means.”

When Obama was first elected, I wrote this email pointing out how bad his “wealth redistribution” policies would be for small business owners.

What I didn’t foresee was that he would lie so easily and often about his true intentions, thereby jeopardizing his legacy and creating tens of millions of enemies – including many former supporters who are finally seeing him for who he really is.

In case you need a refresher of all those lies over the years, or just want a few minutes of morbid entertainment:


I now need to go through the entire painstaking “choosing an insurance plan” process all over again, and will likely be paying significantly more to boot – both in our monthly premium and annual deductible.

In other words…

I liked my healthcare plan, but I can’t keep it. Period.

How about you? Are you one of the millions of small business owners who is also a victim of our President’s grand wealth redistribution plan?

If so, how does that make you feel?

28 Responses to Unaffordable Health Care

  1. Russ Burck Reply

    November 13, 2013 at 6:20 am

    I’m sorry to read what you and Michele are going through, Steve. I’m sure many of your readers are in the same boat and have the same strong feelings about Obama and Obamacare.

    I haven’t received such a letter, and being on Medicare, I won’t. So I’m lucky. My United Health Care company has, however, discontinued my Medigap policy, which provides coverage that is not available from them any more. It has grandfathered it, but who knows how long that will last.

    The story, however, is not over. It isn’t clear that these letters are coming from Obama and Obamacare. Many such letters have been sent out by the Blues and other companies. Many of them are intended to drive subscribers into their company’s private insurance programs and to capture them from Obamacare.

    If Obama and Obamacare would be capable of preventing you from receiving letters like this, it would be because they had nationalized the health insurance industry.

    Former Pres. Clinton has just advocated honoring the claim that people can keep the plan they have. The White House was already working, I have heard, on such a plan, so we have to see how that works out.

    The problem, however, is not that or whether Obama lied. The problem is that Obama said something irreponsible, because it wasn’t in his power to prevent things like this from happeniing. It is not possible for the administration to say that everyone will be able to keep the policies they have.

    Insurance companies change their policies every year. In all my years of employment on a job, I never had the same policy from year to year, and HR would bargain away benefits from year to year. One year we had organ transplant coverage, the next year, our medical center, a major transplant center, discontinued it for us. We were providing transplants, but we couldn’t get one for ourselves.

    Many of the policies that are being canceled have been written within the last year, so they are not policies that people have “always had.”

    The entrepreneurial attitude, as I understand it, is that we’ll find a way to cope. I wish you and others who are on private insurance for the self-employed, a speedy and more satisfactory resolution of the issues than you’ve got so far. I hope that the final word is not so damaging to the entrepreneurial spirit as the events that led to this column have been.

    • Steve Sipress Reply

      November 13, 2013 at 10:13 am

      Thanks for your support, Russ. Of course, like everything the government does to try to hurt small business owners, we’ll survive this, too.

      What’s important is that millions of those who blindly believed what our president promised have now been given a huge wake-up call.

      Hopefully, that translates into more thoughtfulness and action on the part of all small business owners to question whatever politicians say and take steps to avoid being damaged by their anti-small business agendas.

      This latest of our current administration’s lies/scandals is good, because our confidence as a nation has to hit bottom before we will truly start to see a recovery.

      Hopefully, our leaders in Washington don’t stoop much lower than this…

  2. Mike Robinson Reply

    November 13, 2013 at 7:39 am

    I value your wisdom and experience in marketing and believe you are out to help people grow their businesses…however the personal attacks on our president and calling him a liar is uncalled for and sounds hateful. It’s clear you’re a conservative politically and I can respect that but we’re here to learn from you about marketing…
    Not to hear your vindictive remarks about the President…please don’t undermine your credibility by doing such things….Fox news already does good job of that.

    • Steve Sipress Reply

      November 13, 2013 at 10:32 am

      OK, Mike. I guess I have to spell out the business lesson for you:

      “Often in business we are tempted to lie – in order to make a sale, land a contract, avoid a PR disaster, etc.

      But as we are learning through our president’s colossal mistake (some would say hubris), we must always look at the bigger picture and avoid that temptation.

      Because business owners don’t get to ‘stay in office’ for years after they compromise their integrity. The marketplace is much less forgiving and and swifter to exact justice than our painfully slow government.”

      I consider it un-American to “hate” our President. But I consider it equally un-American to sit quietly by while any member of our government lies to us (maybe you would prefer the candy-coated terms “misleads” or “misspeaks” or other such B.S.? In that case, you’ve landed on the wrong website).

      Our government continues to get bigger and bigger, and small business owners continue to suffer more and more as a result.

      Maybe — just maybe — all of the recent lies and scandals coming out of Washington, which have resulted in the lowest approval rating in history for politicians, will cause the American people to stand up for liberty and fight against increasing government control over everything we do.

      THAT would be a good thing for our flailing economy overall, and small business owners in particular.

      • Kevin S Reply

        November 13, 2013 at 11:14 am

        I am no fan of Obama and I didn’t think because of his past experience that he was the right person for the job but he caught lighting in a bottle and rode it to a political victory. I would like to add that I am a Black man for the record. The Dan Kennedy marketing tips have changed my life in a way that I am forever greatful and you have great tips also Steve. But I never heard you speak out as harsly when the Bush adminstration lied and took us into a war that has cost us trillions of dollars and killed american soilders for nothing. That lie on top of Bush’s follies lead us to the brink of economic disaster. We have the Tea Party trying to shut down government costing us billions to make a weak political point and you forget thAt Bush added a medicare prescription drug plan on top of his tax cuts that nearly caused the us to go bankrupt. Small Business has to pay for this mess also. To say that Obama lied is very misleading. One of the stupid reasons he was elected were due to the soft bigotry of low expections due to the fact that he “speaks” well. His biggest mistake on this was NOT articulating that insurance policies are changing for the better by eliminating certain langauge in the policies that exclude coverages or eliminate barriers to get insured. It was a brilliant ploy by the insurance companies that didn’t want this law passed to send out cancelation letters rather than changes or updates to your policy letters to customers to start this fake controversy. You know kinda like the marketing philosophy where you create a crisis and come up with reasons that you are the expert at solving the crisis and your prospects should use your product or service. Sound familar ? No matter who is the President of this country , and by the way ths approval of congress which is Repulican lead is the lowest of all time right now. We have valuable tools to determine our future thanks to people like you and Dan Kennedy. To bring your personal biases into the conversation only undermines your credibility with the people who could learn from you and benefit the most.

        • Steve Sipress Reply

          November 13, 2013 at 11:58 am

          I agree with you 100%, Kevin, as I’ve stated many, many times: All politicians are liars. I think that’s in their job description.

          I started this blog years after Bush’s warmongering ballooned our nation’s debt and harmed the economy, which is why you never heard me speak out when that was going on.

          Our political system is a disaster, with so much at stake for politicians to keep their jobs and all of the ridiculous perqs that go with the office.

          The best thing for our economy and business owners would be for government to get out of the way.

          That goes for ALL politicians — black/white, tall/short, Republican/Democrat/Tea Party/whatever.

          As for my “personal bias”, that should be crystal clear: It’s towards business owners and away from politicians. Period.

  3. Jon Bockman Reply

    November 13, 2013 at 9:11 am

    “Wow. Was I an idiot”, when I close my eyes I can picture you saying that Steve.

    Great article, period.

    I’ll happily disagree with Mike above for one reason alone, this is your sandbox and you make the rules. If I have to wade through one rant to find ninety-nine great marketing tips, then it’s well worth it.

    • Steve Sipress Reply

      November 13, 2013 at 10:37 am

      Thanks, Jon.

      And there’s a heck of a lot more than just “marketing” tips on this site.

      This one is more of a general “strategy” tip — that it’s a HORRIBLE strategy to lie/blame/make excuses in any situation.

      Washington is learning that — currently suffering its lowest approval rating in history.

      My sincere wish is for no business owner ever to have to learn that lesson.

  4. Stuart Patterson Reply

    November 13, 2013 at 10:02 am


    You could have posted Trumps comments and leave it at that.

    What makes your post even better is the details of your personal experience. And, I happen to believe it has EVERYTHING to do with the nature of marketing and the business values you bring to us.

    To put it simply, if you and I were able to make a law, forcing people to buy and threaten them with financial consequences, or worse, if they didn’t buy, we wouldn’t need marketing. We wouldn’t need to create value. It wouldn’t matter if we even delivered a good product.

    Oh wait, there are businesses like that in this country. They just happen to be Illegal.

    It’s extortion.

    This is a country founded on concept of freedom, and free enterprise.

    What Trump is driving at is that if it was possible for competitor to come in to the healthcare market with the idea to serve the under-served, a noble niche no doubt, they wouldn’t have even been able to launch with the background, the balance sheet, and lack of experience in this field displayed by our government. It wouldn’t get past the worst investors in business.

    A noble idea, without a chance of being executed with any success.

    I really think Our Government Has No Business In Business other than to protect our freedom to conduct business as entrepreneurs and citizens.

    Wow, I just don’t see it any other way. Thanks for the post. It’s very pertinent to what you do.

    Stuart Patterson.

    P.S. Hey, by the way, thanks for paying the pediatric dental care. That’s a good one.

    • Steve Sipress Reply

      November 13, 2013 at 10:41 am

      Well said, Stuart.

      p.s. Good to know we’ll have “Maternity and newborn care” and “Mental health/substance abuse” coverage, too.

      Because our government’s policies and arrogance are driving me crazy.

  5. Lane Reply

    November 13, 2013 at 10:07 am

    If you voted for democrats, you are getting what you deserve. BOTTOM LINE

    • Steve Sipress Reply

      November 13, 2013 at 10:57 am

      All Americans are getting hurt, regardless of who they voted for.

      A government mired in scandals and deceit isn’t good for anyone.

      …unless this finally causes Americans to get fed up enough to take action to stop the encroachment of government into areas where it clearly doesn’t belong.

  6. Mimi Morgan Reply

    November 13, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Hey Steve,

    At least BCBSIL is going to give you:

    “the opportunity to provide reasonable assurances that you and each member of the policy have coverage for pediatric dental services.”

    Steve? Michelle? Are congratulations in order?

    Oh wait. That’s right. You don’t need these benefits, but they are required by the new healthcare law…

    “even if there is no one on the policy who is eligible for these services.”

    Of course, I’m not surprised by this at all. I’ve personally witnessed “people” in powerful positions lie A LOT just to get their way–no matter how impractical, illogical, or detrimental their “ways” will undoubtedly be to others.

    I don’t really think of these liars as people, but rather as geese. Why? Because their thinking is, What’s good for the GOOSE is good for the GOOSE. They’re also extremely territorial and mean as hell!

    The good news is that these ghastly geese-people eventually got their feathers plucked! The bad news is “eventually” didn’t come soon enough–they weren’t kicked off the farm quickly enough and thus the heavy trails of goose crap left in their wake.

    • Steve Sipress Reply

      November 13, 2013 at 12:03 pm

      Please let me know when all politicians get kicked out of office, Mimi.

      Until then, we as business owners MUST employ effective strategies for our businesses to survive and grow — and avoid all the goose crap.

      Because things just keep getting crappier and crappier as our government grows bigger and more powerful…

  7. Bernard Mixon Reply

    November 13, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    As an African American, America has lied and continues to lie to me all my life. That being said We need to stop the blame game and start to help one another as Americans. Our President can’t do everything by himself we as Americans must work together and make things better.

    • Steve Sipress Reply

      November 13, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      America has lied to all of us, Bernard.

      I agree with you 100% – it would be nice to have “government by the people” instead of our current “government does everything it can to control people” situation.

  8. Mike Robinson Reply

    November 13, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    Can we please just get back to some great marketing ideas..and stop the’s really not serving us.

    • Steve Sipress Reply

      November 13, 2013 at 2:43 pm

      Mike: Just click on the links at the top and bottom of every page on this website labeled “Marketing”, and you’ll find plenty of great marketing tips.

      There are also hundreds of other posts on this site that are not about marketing – like this one.

      …and you can also find plenty of marketing tips elsewhere, of course. It’s a free country.

      (for the most part)

  9. Ace Luciano Reply

    November 13, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    You guys that try to defend or “blame Bush” -my personal favorite all-encompassing excuse for the most gross ineptitude of any president before of since. As a 20-year executive-level sales professional and Entrepreneur, I wonder how long I’d get to “blame the last guy” for my lack of progress and results.
    Let me think all the times that has happened….
    Oh, that’s right. NEVER!

    In a pure sales and marketing sense, let’s imagine how this conversation would go.

    “Our company, XYZ, truly values your business. We have decided that our widgets, normally priced at $100 each will now be sold for $165 each. The good news is, that they will each be colored BLUE instead of GREEN and will go from being circle-shaped to SQUARE! Isn’t that great news?
    If you like the GREEN, CIRCLE-shaped widgets, you can KEEP them, until you run out. Then you will need to go to our website, fill out 25 detailed pages on your business and all of its financials, your social security #, cell phone number, etc., as well as the numbers of all of your bank accounts. The site is currently experiencing some delays, and we anticipate it being up and running smoothly sometime in late 2014.

    Once again, XYZ corp considers you a valuable customer and thanks you for your business. If we do not hear from you BEFORE DECEMBER 1, we will assume you want to order the maximum number of the new, Blue, Circle-shaped widgets.
    Have a nice day!”

    I dare any of you to send a similar letter to YOUR clients.
    I just might. Just like this post- it will generate a ton of contact and interaction.

    Steve, once again, you’re brilliant and, in typical fashion, won’t let anyone “manage” you into failure!

    P.S.- My actual spend out of my pocket this year will INCREASE by over $10,000.00, as I have 2 children with special health needs.
    Because I have worked hard and am successful, I pay a $10,000.00 penalty so others can get theirs for free.
    That’s a system I would NEVER DREAM of putting out to MY customers.

    • Steve Sipress Reply

      November 13, 2013 at 6:25 pm

      Thanks for another excellent – and very basic – marketing lesson, Ace:

      a. Find a group of people with a need
      b. Offer them a solution

      Do NOT try to force people into something they don’t want, just because you think it’s better for them.

      (Unless you’re The Government.)

  10. Sydney Barrows Reply

    November 14, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    I just found out yesterday that my policy is being canceled and that the alternatives are more expensive and/or have higher deductibles than my current policy. And even the Platinum plan, which is $300 more a month than I’m paying now, doesn’t have as good coverage as I have now either.

    I feel so betrayed, particularly since what I’m hearing and reading says that he knew all along this was going to happen. It may “…only affect 5% of the population”, but if you’re one of the 14 million in that 5%, it’s a big effing deal.

    Paying more, getting less – whatta bargain! I don’t think any of us could get away with that and stay in business.

    • Steve Sipress Reply

      November 15, 2013 at 9:36 am

      Exactly, Sydney.

      If anyone had a product that not only tens of millions of Americans needed, but they would be fined if they didn’t buy it, and they had a 3 1/2 year pre-launch, including major exposure on every television channel, and they had only 6 conversions on the Day Of Launch, that would go down as the most colossal failure in the history of business.

      When (if ever?) will Americans learn that people who don’t know anything about running a business can’t be trusted to implement anything business-related?

      And when (if ever?) will Americans step up and get back to the self-reliance that build our great nation, and away from the belief that government’s purpose is to coddle us and solve all of our problems?

      So sad.

  11. Bryan Binkholder Reply

    November 15, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Well, I don’t agree with you when you say “I believed him when he said you could keep your plan.” You’re wayyyyyy too smart and were right on with his wealth redistribution plans to really think the system they are trying to create would survive without people like YOU AND ME (my Blue Cross plan was cancelled….my old HSA 10k Family deductible was $345……new comparable plan is $12,600 and $787 a month)….thankfully I’m now covered for Maternity (never mind my wife is past child bearing years so if she got pregnant I’m pretty sure it’s a Miracle from God and I’m sure He’d figure out a way for us pay for such a Miracle)……I also have birth control for myself and my boys…..I get unlimited benefits (oh wait I had that)……

    Anyway, the ONLY WAY this system works is to get everyone on the Overpriced plans and then take money from many of the same we ask to pay for everything else…Middle class and on up……to pay for those who wouldn’t get insurance even if it only cost $50, those who have medical issues (never mind if it was choices they made in behavior ((I know not all have health issues due to behavior but I have to believe the person overweight by 75 lbs is helping their health issue along a little))….In the end, you and I and many other business owners are facing more costs to supplement the others we already supplement in virtually everything in life. Just wait until companies start dropping coverage because really any company under 50 employees should do it to avoid ‘government regulations’ which will kill them…..(and the Gov. will make sure to hammer this and companies) because they need people on the exchanges paying the inflated costs for the few plans ‘they approve of.’ The best thing is to continue to show how leaders will SAY AND DO whatever they want to get elected and develop their own laws…and then how this affects people…

    • Steve Sipress Reply

      November 16, 2013 at 8:34 am

      Thanks, Bryan. I just learned another great lesson.

      Since I DID believe that “if I liked my plan, I could keep my plan” (after all, our president said it — in an emphatic, practically condescending way over and over for years), you’ve made me realize that I need to pay more attention to financial matters.

      Of course I didn’t read the Obamacare Bill (I only know one person who did — my friend Howard Berg, The World’s Fastest Reader, who read it live on TV years ago). Therefore, I really did blindly assume that I wouldn’t have to deal with the “choosing a new healthcare plan” process or the accompanying Obamacare Sticker Shock once this horrendous law went into effect.

      So here’s the important problem this has revealed: Entrepreneurs are often visionaries who are not meant to deal with details, so we MUST engage expert advisors to help us navigate important financial issues.

      That way, we won’t be shocked by future lies from our leaders on such topics (because we all know that those have become accepted behavior from politicians and are not likely to end anytime soon).

  12. Yar Zuk Reply

    November 17, 2013 at 10:42 am

    Why not have a few more ‘free’ teaching hospitals in each state and keep things simple? The USA medical system does need to help everyone but the solution doesn’t have to be so messy. Too many pigs at the trough.

    • Steve Sipress Reply

      November 17, 2013 at 4:17 pm

      Excellent idea, Yar. One of many, no doubt.

      Unfortunately, your last point makes it highly unlikely that it — or any other sensible solution — will ever become a reality: Too many politicians and special interest groups with power, money and influence could care less about doing what’s best for the American people.

      So sad.

  13. John Senska Reply

    November 17, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Someone once said “The Devil is in the details”. As a student of a overly generous mentor,I’ve found the Liberal Democrats to be masters of marketing. These snake oil salesmen/women not only promise dreams they could never fulfill, their followers will defend their lies no matter what. As marketing students,the lessons are limitless. We must protect our clients from snake oil con-men and reach out to others to help them avoid the perils.

    • Steve Sipress Reply

      November 17, 2013 at 4:28 pm

      I agree with you that “Liberal Democrats” are excellent marketers, John, but I’d add all other politicians into that group as well.

      Sleazy, self-serving, stretching-the-truth politicians know that they need to employ the very best marketers in order to obtain and keep their power.

      Business owners who pay attention to their schemes can learn a lot about how to market their own businesses, as you point out.

      And how much better results can honest, caring business owners get from using such strategies and tactics, considering that they work even for shyster politicians and their cronies?

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