Affordable health insurance is finally on the way – thank you, President Trump

Every month, as we pay our $950 premium for our bronze (lowest level) ObamaCare-compliant health insurance policy, my husband and I look at each other with frustration and concern. We frequently discuss whether we should do what many others in the individual health insurance market have done – go without coverage and pay the fine for being in violation of federal law.

But we don't want to break the law, no matter how much we disagree with this particular law.

Instead, we continue to submit to something that feels a lot like extortion. We pay an exorbitant amount of money for a plan that covers a vast array of health services that we neither want nor need, because ObamaCare requires coverage of those things. And we continue to pay out of pocket for our day-to-day health care costs since our plan’s deductible is a staggering $14,100.

We don’t pay $950 a month because we like our insurance. We do it because our government requires us to do so.

I was among the tens of thousands of small-business owners who stood up and cheered President Trump’s executive order on health care Thursday. I was especially heartened to hear Sen. Rand Paul voice my wishes succinctly when he said we need to “legalize inexpensive insurance.”

For people like me and my husband, both self-employed, the greatest insult of ObamaCare is the government’s requirement for us to buy a product, especially one that isn’t right for us. And the fact that the same law has made that product so expensive adds injury to the original insult.

It’s like being locked inside a Tiffany jewelry store and told you will not be released until you buy something. Something really nice. Until you do it, you’ll be trapped.

My strong preference is for the laws governing health insurance regulation (too frequently short-handed and frankly mislabeled as the “health care law”) to be fixed by Congress, because that’s a more permanent solution that can’t be undone by the pen of the next president.

However, I was among the tens of thousands of small-business owners who stood up and cheered President Trump’s executive order on health care Thursday. I was especially heartened to see Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., at the signing ceremony. He voiced my wishes more succinctly than any other national leader when he said we need to “legalize inexpensive insurance.”

I understand that the president’s order will not change the cost of my health insurance immediately, but hallelujah to the fact that it will start a process that might reduce it eventually.

Federal agencies are now tasked with investigating health insurance solutions that will help people like me – many of us owners or employees of small businesses. We want some kind of insurance, we don’t want to break the law and we desperately want something more affordable.

Reducing the excessive coverage requirements would be amazing, as would the ability to form a larger risk pool with other business owners through an association health plan.

This is something that small-business groups have been begging Congress to allow for decades. But time and again their voices were drowned out by big insurance companies that make big political campaign donations. The big insurers don’t want the competition that association health plans would create.

The criticism of President Trump’s executive action has been predictable, thinly-veiled fear-mongering about hurting the “old and sick.” Nonsense. Legalizing affordable health insurance products doesn’t hurt a marketplace – it makes it more robust.

The ability of Americans to shop somewhere other than Tiffany’s hasn’t decimated the jewelry market. Our ability to legally purchase less-expensive health insurance that fits the needs of individuals won’t decimate one of the biggest crony industries in America: big health insurance.

Jean Card is a writer and communications consultant with expertise in public policy and small business issues. She is a former speechwriter for the U.S. secretaries of Labor and Treasury as well as the attorney general. Follow her on Twitter: @JeanCard