Fiscal Cliff is Especially Scary for California

The Golden State Could Be Hit Hard If Lawmakers Don't Work Together

Yahoo Contributor Network

National politics dominated much of 2012, but state-level issues still merit examination. Yahoo News asked voters to pinpoint issues within their own states that they'd like to see tackled in 2013. Here's one perspective.

COMMENTARY | California may plunge into economic disaster unless Democrats and Republicans can work together immediately, which so far they have failed to do. As a San Francisco Bay area resident, the concerns that are hitting home right now are unemployment and rising health care costs. Unemployment is devastating anywhere, but here in California the cost of living makes it especially frightening. We have outrageously high gas prices, rendering the cost of going to work even higher.

The fiscal cliff looms, especially over California

According the Aaron Sankin of the Huffington Post, California's already fragile economic recovery is seriously threatened by the impending fiscal cliff. According to his article on Nov. 16, we could see dire consequences here if lawmakers don't figure out a way to work together and avert disaster.

He quotes a study by economist Stephen Fuller that indicates that California will be hit the hardest by the fiscal cliff cuts, resulting in the loss of nearly a quarter of a million jobs and more than $11 billion in income. A number of important government programs are at risk.

I'm wondering about unemployment benefits. My husband just joined the ranks of the unemployed on Wednesday, Dec. 1. We were afraid of this.

Health care costs have risen astronomically

Since the Affordable Care Act passed in 2009, our insurance premiums have gone up by more than $600 per month. Now that my husband has lost his job, we will have to enroll in the COBRA program and this cost will rise again by another $500 per month. Our insurance premiums are now higher than what we pay to rent a three-bedroom home, more than my husband's unemployment checks will be in a month.

As a cancer survivor, I don't dare to go without. I have to think there is a better way to implement the Affordable Care Act. According to the Huffington Post, the resulting upheaval is putting health care at risk for many low income people, especially children. We don't know how our family will manage.

The tide of unemployment could turn again

Our unemployment numbers are worse than most of the rest of the country according to DepartmentofNumbers.com. Now I am deeply afraid that political agendas will trump the interests of citizens and derail our recovery. This is going to be a lean Christmas, but we're hoping for the best.

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