Dear Reader,

I do not have health insurance.

This is a problem, but not for the reasons you think.

I am not one of the admirable few who disobeyed the “Affordable” Care Act by electing to self-insure and pay the resultant penalty rather than purchase a conforming policy. I would have taken that route if I were single; since the steepest healthcare bill I've ever racked up was an $800 ER fee to pop my dislocated pinky back into place after a basketball mishap, paying almost that much each month in premiums makes zero sense.

But I'm not single. I'm one half of a marital unit, and because my wife visits several specialty doctors per year, we need health insurance.

We're trying to get it. We mail a fat monthly check to Vermont Health Connect (VHC), just like the gub'mint said to. But we've received nothing in return. No ID cards. No policy info. Not even a “Thanks for the money, suckers.”

Maybe the check got lost in the mail, you say? Nope. VHC cashed it and emailed us another bill for February.

That VHC cashed the check tells me that, in theory, we do have health insurance. But theoretical health insurance gets you about as far as a theoretical plane ticket. My wife has picked up two prescriptions in the past month, and in both instances the pharmacist was unmoved by her insistence that we do indeed have insurance. So she paid full price for the prescriptions. I hate to think of the predicament this puts people with real health problems in.

What's more, the complexity of maintaining our health insurance plan has multiplied tenfold since Obamacare kicked in. It used to be maintenance-free; our employers paid for our coverage behind the scenes, and we never had to handle a bill.

Apparently, something about that process was too complicated for the government to administer, so we've regressed back to prehistoric methods. Now each month, VHC emails me a notice that my bill is due. They don't email me the bill itself; that would be too simple. They only notify me that my bill is somewhere in cyberspace. So I have to log on to their medieval website and navigate through a maze of counterintuitive, ever-changing links to find the bill. I then print it out, write a paper check, put them both in an envelope, and drive to the mailbox.

You know, kind of how we used to do things before the Internet. Total amount of time wasted each month? At least forty-five minutes.

Just to recap, health insurance now costs more, is much more onerous to administer, and so far, at least for my family, is unusable. Not exactly the healthcare nirvana that Barack promised.

End of Rant

No one likes a rant, so I'll quit mine here by ending with a query: How's Obamacare going in your state? Tell us any stories, good or bad, in the comments section below.

Today's missive is jam-packed with good stuff, including one more article than usual, so let's get to it. First up, in an effort to examine the signs that it might be time to move yourself or at least some of your money outside your home country, Doug French explores the desperate measures governments have taken when they're headed toward bankruptcy. It's not pretty.

After that, Dennis Miller has a thorough explanation of bonds for the layman. Then we'll wrap up with David Galland's thoughts on the secret to success in Casey Gems.