With the new "Obamacare" health insurance exchanges officially open for business, Glenn Beck and his radio co-hosts Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere went to www.healthcare.gov on Tuesday only to find what countless others were greeted with: glitches, errors, and messages asking you to hold.
Before long, they also spoke with a caller whose life is being turned upside down by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
"We appreciate your patience," Gray said in the voice of a telephone operator. "You are Number 477,326 in line. Please continue to wait, as you will be taken in the order in which you arrived. Thank you for your patience."
"Hope you don't have anything really wrong with you," Beck added.
Soon it started to look like Burguiere's monitor was making progress, but the message merely changed to: "???ff.ee.shared.header.getinsurance???"
Complimentary Clip from TheBlaze TV
After the break, Beck took a call from Bryan in Florida, who says his costs have already skyrocketed in the wake of the Affordable Care Act.
"Our insurance for the family plan...our current cost is $127 a week through United Healthcare which, you know, we have a really good plan," Bryan began. "Well, my wife went in early this morning, they went over all the different options. The same plan for my family -- nothing in our life has changed, everything is the same -- is now $237.10 a week."
But the jump from $127 a week to $237 a week isn't even the worst of it, he said. Even if they opt for a plan that's not as good as what they currently have, they'll still be paying more than they were before.
"The cheapest plan -- which is way higher deductible than what we have now, less coverage -- is still $178 a week," Bryan remarked. "Now, mind you, my wife makes $35,000 a year. So if we kept with the same plan, that means 1/3 of her total income would go just to have the same insurance that we've had for the last four years at $6,000 a year."
Beck sarcastically responded that those "damn insurance companies" are "gouging" him -- predicting that many will blame the insurance companies, not the government for the changes.
A reeling Bryan said that's not even "the kicker."
Lower income families under the Affordable Care Act are told they will get subsidies from the government to help cover the cost of insurance under the exchanges. But because Bryan's employer offers a healthcare plan, they were told that they are not eligible for any of the subsidies because they will be "refusing" the insurance they're provided -- even if it's because they can't afford it.
"And I put a big 'question mark question mark' on that," Bryan said, mocking the "???ff.ee.shared.header.getinsurance???" message Burguiere received from healthcare.gov.
Bryan said he was shocked by how many people are going to be affected -- unable to pay for the insurance they had (though technically, if they like it, they can keep it), and forced onto the government programs without the promised subsidies.
"I'm like, okay...It's either eat or buy health insurance," he said. "And if you don't, you're going to be penalized."
"You want to eat and have health insurance?" Burguiere asked mockingly. "Greedy bastard," Gray added.
Bryan said that in the end, they're "going to take the lesser option," but that amount is roughly equivalent to their electric bill. They don't want to be dependent on government assistance, he said, "but there again, that's going to be another $1,000, you know, another $3,000, $4,000 a year."
"I want you to look at the bright side," Beck concluded sarcastically. "You say that this is now what your electricity bill is -- but under his plan, electricity prices will necessarily skyrocket. So that won't last for very long."
Complimentary Clip from TheBlaze TV
Reflecting on the call later in the program, Beck said Bryan's story is indicative of what is coming in America.
People won't be able to afford the private insurance, and will be forced onto the government exchanges. And if they're not eligible for the subsidies, many will be clamoring for them.
"And so everyone is going to be on government subsidies," Beck said. "I'm telling you by the time the next presidential election happens, 100 million people will be getting food stamps."
"We are headed towards Venezuela," Beck concluded. "By the way -- Venezuela just posted guards this last weekend at the toilet paper factory. Why is it that it always ends...standing in line for toilet paper? Do you remember that in Russia, the Soviet Union? You had to stand in line for toilet paper. I mean, can we just admire the capitalist system here just a little bit longer before it slips into darkness?"
"I swear to you the day that we're standing in line for toilet paper -- you do not want to be in line with me because I'm going to be bitching at everybody else in line," he said. "'How many of you people voted for this crap?' Excuse the pun. 'How many???!'"
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