Capturing A Pawn… By Sacrificing Your Queen

I’m of two minds about the Hobby Lobby decision.

It’s always good when a branch of the federal government acknowledges (in effect) freedom of conscience and choice. On the other hand, the possibility of these types of endless specialty niche carve-outs from what is a clear mandate of the law, seems to just tie commercial interests even more closely to a begging-for-favors scheme with the Feds.

And even worse, this is *bad law* and these kinds of small wins may actually be counter-productive. They may take what was a clear overreach into private exchange and commercial transaction decisions of individuals and organizations, and transform it into a measured step towards more central control and planning of our lives by government overseers.

People react to clear overreach, but measured steps in the wrong direction becomes like the frog in pot. Just a little more heat… Just a little more heat… Just a little more heat…

I know the legal fight to overturn this whole shebang as an illegitimate use of government authority already lost once and forcefully, but people should be guarded in their celebration of these subsequent “victories”. They may simply modify the enforcement of the legislation in a way that camouflages what a true disaster it really is.

Please Politicians, Stop “Helping”

First published on the Wake Up Tucson Blog:

As an insurance broker I am faced with clients every day preparing for and dealing with some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable: loss of their home, injury in a car accident, unexpected medical conditions and many more. My job is to place them into financial products that, while not eliminating their suffering, can at least help them avoid the financial ruin that will make it all the worse. Thus I help people face their fears and manage them… unfortunately I had to face a professional fear this past week and there was no way to manage it or deal with it. Over the course of 5 days, I received two separate calls from clients for whom I could not place coverage, whom I could not help. They were healthy children and I couldn’t provide coverage because of changes made to the health insurance market by the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Due to budget constraints and mismanagement, effective October 1st AHCCCS (Arizona’s Medicaid program) made changes to benefits eligibility.  As a result of these changes a friend and client of mine recently received a notification that her two minor children would be losing their coverage. She came to me last week as her agent to discuss options for replacing this insurance.

The second call came from two grandparents. Tragically, their daughter and her husband had died in a car accident several weeks earlier. Because of this they were taking in their 16 year old granddaughter. They called me because they were both in their 70’s and on Medicare, thus they needed an individual policy for the new teenager in their home.

As recently as a few months ago I would have been able to help both of these situations easily with policies that would have cost no more than tens of dollars every month ($30-$60); very reasonable and within reach of a working student and mother as my friend was, and a couple on a fixed income as the grandparents were.

But no longer.

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