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Late last year, my husband started a small contracting business. I am 64 and work two part-time jobs. We must buy our own health insurance. The least expensive plan I found was a group with the Buffalo Niagara Association of Realtors. It cost $2,035 quarterly, but we paid it last year, rather than go without. Since I can no longer afford this astronomical amount, I contacted Healthy NY, which is designed for small businesses. I was told we did not qualify because we were insured last year. As a result, we will probably be forced to go without.

I have worked since I was 14. I put myself through college, and raised three boys by myself without support. My husband is the hardest working man I have ever known. I say this because if we didn't work, and milked this state's ridiculous system, we would be eligible for health benefits. Not only would we get free health insurance, but "cream of the crop" coverage that includes brand-name drugs and taxi rides to the doctor. Meanwhile, low-income and middle-class Americans like ourselves are forced to go without. What is wrong with this picture?

Ellie Corcoran