By Marsha Blackburn
In 2012, America was introduced to Julia, the fictional poster girl for President Obama's range of policy goals that were touted to improve the lives of average Americans. Julia was a stand-in for you and me, a way for us to see how the president's reformulating of the American government was going to impact our way of life on a personal level. Of the many ways the Obama administration envisioned reaching into Julia's life, by far the most intrusive and harmful was through health care, where they promised increased access to care, lower costs and higher quality for everyone if we would just allow the government to co-opt our health care system.
It's 2014 and Julia is long gone. Meet Emilie.
Unlike Julia, Emilie is actually a real person who experiences the intrusion of Obamacare on her life every minute of every day. Emilie is from Lawrenceburg, Tenn., and suffers from lupus, an autoimmune disease that attacks a person's own cells and tissues. Despite her ailments, Emilie has worked hard to create a good life for herself: She worked her way through college with a full-time job and earned a degree in accounting. Emilie viewed the promises made by President Obama in 2012 with optimism, as many Americans did. She had a health care plan that she liked, that fit her needs and the president promised that if she liked her health care plan, she could keep it.
Emilie, like so many Americans, works in the backbone of our nation's economy: small business. It was cost prohibitive for her employer to purchase a companywide plan, so Emilie needed to obtain an individual health care plan. Emilie found a plan that was affordable for both her and her employer. Since 2006, Emilie has called it "stellar and affordable" and it has helped her cope with the high costs of numerous trips to the emergency room and several major surgeries.
Like Julia and millions of other hard-working Americans, Emilie was looking forward to keeping her current health care plan.
Unlike fictional Julia, Emilie has lost her health coverage, the coverage she liked and wanted to keep. President Obama's signature health plan says Emilie's health care doesn't meet the standard of coverage. Emilie's health care that has been a lifeline for her and served her well is gone.
With the discontinuation of her plan, Emilie is being forced to purchase a plan through the HealthCare.Gov exchange. Like so many others, under Obamacare Emilie's insurance premiums have skyrocketed. Emilie will now be paying 400 percent more for her insurance than she was paying for her previous plan.
The Affordable Care Act might work for Julia in a fictional world where an executive-branch storyteller determines the plot. But in the all-too-real world of Emilie, it just isn't affordable. Not by a long shot.
As my guest at Tuesday night's State of the Union speech, Emilie heard from President Obama about just how wonderful it is that she can have access to the health care she doesn't want and can't afford. Republicans have a better solution for Emilie -- the American Health Care Reform Act, a plan to reform health care using a patient-centered, free-market approach.
Unfortunately, Emilie isn't alone in her story. And unlike Julia's fictional world, far too many have been saddled with the unaffordable promises of the Affordable Health Care Act.