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Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Health Care Proposal

Eileen Falk

Staff Writer

When looking for a spouse, many people look for someone trustworthy, respectful, and kind. Others look for someone with wealth and power. And others, like one Florida rabbi, are just looking for someone with an affordable health care premium.

For years, Rabbi Craig Ezring, of Boca Raton, Florida, received health care coverage through a small business plan for the corporation he started with his wife. When she died four years ago, he was told he could keep his relatively high but affordable two-person rate. Despite having one fewer person covered by his plan, his rates began to climb. This year, he was forced onto a less affordable one-person plan. Although the 56-year-old is in great shape and participates in Zumba and dance classes most days of the week, he has had bypass surgery within the last few years, causing his insurance company to raise his rates. His new bill came to a jaw-dropping $1,553.71 … a month.

 When he discovered the premium for his private insurance had reached nearly $20,000 annually, he decided he needed to take action to reduce his health care bill as soon as possible. The resourceful Rabbi took to his blog and asked if any young female reader with an affordable insurance plan would be willing to marry him and put him on her plan. He closed his post with a plea, “Give some thought to the possibility of marrying me … a good insurance plan is all I ask. Okay there maybe one or two other things I ask for, but sadly, right now insurance has become a top priority.”

And while Rabbi Ezring struggles to find a way to manage health care costs, Florida Governor Rick Scott pays a meager $400 a year for his taxpayer-subsidized health plan while simultaneously fighting against the Affordable Care Act and other attempts to help people manage their soaring health care costs.

Thankfully, the Affordable Care Act will help people like Rabbi Ezring afford quality health care, despite the efforts of people like Gov. Scott. Soon, insurers will no longer be able to discriminate against people based on pre-existing conditions, and low- to middle-income people will be offered subsidies to help them afford private insurance in health care exchanges.

So while I admire Rabbi Ezring’s creativity, we can all be grateful that the day when people no longer have to marry a stranger or rob a bank to get affordable health care is coming soon.