I've been a registered, and voting, Democrat since I turned 18. I'm now close to 50...52 is still close, right?
I believe in social programs to aid the disenfranchised and vulnerable.
I believe in providing opportunities to those who don't have any.
I don't believe quality healthcare should only be available to the wealthy.
I believe our healthcare system is broken.
I didn't realize just how much till hubby and I got our health insurance through the new exchange.
BTW...I hate it when Obamacare is referred to as "access to healthcare for all." It is not access to health care. It's access to health insurance. There's a big gap between buying insurance and getting quality health care.
When you sign up for health insurance through the exchange, all the insurance rules still apply. You pay a copay, and the insurance only pays a "certain" percentage of your costs after you've reached your deductible. Here's how it shakes out for me and hubby:
We have the Bronze Plan -
Monthly premium: $750
Deductible amount annually: $12,600
% of doctor visits covered before deductible is reached: 0
% of prescriptions covered before deductible is reached: 0
% of emergency room or hospitalization covered before deductible is reached: 0
BTW...this is NOT based on income. The only time income comes into play is if you are eligible for subsidies. It is based on age and number of people in the family. Period. We are both over 50 and are empty nesters.
So, for the hell of it, I pretended to be a family of four making less than $60k per year (actually, it's $0-$59k per year so I guess these guidelines apply if you make $59k or $5k). Here's what Obamacare tells me:
You could enroll in a Bronze plan for about $1,654 per year (which is 3.31% of your household income, after taking into account $3,952 in subsidies). For most people, the Bronze plan represents the minimum level of coverage required under health reform. Although you would pay less in premiums by enrolling in a Bronze plan, you will face higher out-of-pocket costs than if you enrolled in a Silver plan.
Remember...me and hubby have the Bronze plan which pays for nothing.
OUT OF POCKET COSTS Your out-of-pocket maximum for a Silver plan (not including the premium) can be no more than $10,400. A boatload for a family of four making $50k per year. They don't mention what the premium is for the Silver plan.
Whether you reach this maximum level will depend on the amount of health care services you use. Currently, about one in four people use no health care services in any given year. No shit. Because they can't afford it.
You are guaranteed access to a Silver plan with an actuarial value of 73% (you know you're in trouble when they start talking about "actuarial value"). This means that for all enrollees in a typical population, the plan will pay for 73% of expenses in total for covered benefits, with enrollees responsible for the rest. My one hip surgery (I've had four) cost over $100k. So the family of four who makes $50k per year would pay more than $25k of that cost.
So, guess what? That family of four will have health insurance but will avoid doctor offices like the plague they will probably get due to lack of health care. I know that because I'm doing it right now. I won't go to the doctor unless a limb is hanging off. And only if its the limb I use the most. I've also been a single mother with two kids who had health insurance but still couldn't afford to go to the doctor, back in the day. Not much has changed.
Of course, it's now illegal to NOT have coverage. In response, folks are choosing to pay the fine (a percentage of income) instead of getting insurance. There are "fine calculators" all over the internet.
There's really nothing groundbreaking about the Obamacare scheme. It works the way insurance has always worked, only it costs a hell of a lot more. The young and healthy subsidize the older, unhealthy (Obamacare is not paid for by the beleaguered 1%). Which is why they need a huge percentage of youngsters to sign up. But, they're not. Even the youngins that will tell you how great Obamacare is, are NOT signing up. I've asked. I get a blank stare, then "Why would I spend that kind of money? I can't afford it."
So, in my humble opinion...Obamacare is yet one more government program that keeps the working poor, poor...and unhealthy. And now, many that used to seek out health care as needed (like me) won't.
I'm not speaking for the masses. This is my experience and I'm not gonna say Obamacare helps no one. I'm sure there are some who consider it a Godsend. Particularly those with pre-existing conditions. But I haven't met any of those people.
I normally avoid political discourse on my blog. But, then I remembered I'm a writer. And no one becomes a writer to stay silent. I don't know what the answer to our health care problem is. But I know this isn't it. If the idea was for more to get health care, I think the opposite is happening.
Just writing this has given me a migraine. Which I would treat except the migraine medicine costs me $15 a pill.
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