Trump, who had cut off the cost-sharing payments last week, appeared to endorse the deal. (Oct. 17, 2017)

After reading Dan Rodricks' column ("Trump, GOP won't escape blame if Obamacare fails," Oct. 18) regarding health care and "Sicko," I feel compelled to respond. Like most liberal Democrats as well as the mainstream media, Mr. Rodricks is stuck in his own little bubble. Mr. Rodricks, in your bubble, 20 million people who could never afford health care now have it because of the Affordable Health Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Also, in your bubble, the remaining 300 million citizens of this country have health care through their employer (like you do, according to your column) or they must be government employees, thus benefits provided there.

Let me explain to you my bubble, which may help you understand why Obamacare is failing and Donald Trump was elected president. My wife and I are small business owners. Our employee count has always been between 7 to 12 employees. We are about to complete our 32nd year. Over the last six years, I have watched a staggering number of people, all within my small town, who do absolutely nothing yet manage to have all the creature comforts and conveniences that my wife and I have. They have cars, they have cell phones, fancy clothes, plenty of food, a roof over their head, but most importantly, health insurance. I am not talking about the sick and elderly. I am talking young and middle aged. The ironic thing is that two of our county's largest employers are literally a stone's throw away with large "help wanted" signs along the highway and can't fulfill their needs.

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Here's the rub. While the standard figure of 20 million is so fawningly bandied around the airwaves as the number of citizens who now will "not die" because of Obamacare, the figure that no one has bothered to publicize is the number of people such as my wife and I who no longer have health coverage because we were priced out of the market. Four years ago, I stopped receiving my quarterly health insurance bill of $692, which included a $5,000 deductible per person. Is that cheap? Absolutely! I would have gotten a higher deductible but that was the limit. I basically wanted catastrophic coverage. When I questioned my provider, the response was "that plan is no longer available" (Let's skip the old Obama line joke of "If you like your plan you can keep it"). My "new" plan, under the ACA, was now $3,300 per quarter with a $6,500 per person deductible. That amounts to a nearly $900 per month increase. Best case scenario we spend $13,200 annually for nothing. Worst case, $26,200.

Now, Mr. Rodricks, I had to make a decision. Should my wife and I put in more than the 70 hours a week we now average so the entitlement generation can continue to do nothing while enjoying the fruits of our labor, or should we just roll the dice and do without health insurance? Well, we've been rolling the dice. In a nutshell, that is why Obamacare failed. At 53 years old, I simply refused to make another mortgage payment in order to feed the beast. Does this mean we're greedy? Homophobic? Racist? Misogynist? Anti Muslim? Absolutely not. We have always been generous at supporting local causes. We pay our taxes without complaining (mostly). I could swallow it a lot easier if the government "suggested" that my wife and I take another $900 each month and distribute it throughout our county to anyone we thought could use it to take a burden off. But for the government to create a system where we are monetarily penalized for being part of the working class who has the discipline and drive to get up every day and go to work is ludicrous.

It is so easy and convenient for those who "have theirs" to demand that others pay more. However, the time for change is long overdue. I'm sure The Sun may actually have readers who get up every day and go to work who are struggling with medical bills. Those are the people we should be helping. If I knew that my extra $900 a month had that purpose, I'd say great. But when I know for a fact, because I witness it seven days a week, that I can't take home a large part of my paycheck because the people up the street want to buy a bushel of number ones with their "Independence Card," I say let the system fix itself.

Todd B Smith, Chestertown

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