Well, I’ve already pissed people off this weekend on the topics of home birth and religion, so I might as well go for broke and touch on Obamacare.
Let me start by saying that yesterday marked the first day of 2014 that our family had health insurance. That’s right, we – a family of nine – were without health insurance for two months.
What I find curious is that when I’ve mentioned this to people over the last several weeks – that we currently had no health insurance – the first thing out of a number of people’s mouths was something along the lines of, “Gotta love Obamacare, eh?” followed by a derisive snort.
It’s funny how people jump right to their own ideologies to explain things.
So, no, our being without health insurance for two months was not the fault of Obamacare. It was actually the fault of Michael’s former employer. See, when the firm he had been working for up until last September closed its doors, we continued our health coverage through COBRA. Problem was, that former employer up and canceled the group policy without telling his former employees – and once the group policy is canceled, it’s not available even through COBRA. We only discovered that our coverage had been canceled when one of us went to pick up a prescription refill at the pharmacy and were told we had no coverage. A few phone calls later confirmed that, indeed, by that time we had already been without coverage for two weeks – since January 1 – only Anthem Blue Cross never even bothered to send us a notice of cancellation (and in fact, still hasn’t, and in fact, still owes us a refund of one month’s insurance premium which we mailed, and they accepted even though our policy had been canceled unbeknownst to us). Under the Health Care Reform Act (yes, Obamacare), you must apply for new coverage by the fifteenth of the month in order for coverage to go into effect on the first of the following month. We didn’t discover that we were without coverage until January 17, so we missed the deadline to get new coverage by February 1, and therefore had to wait until March 1 for new coverage to become effective (which, for what it’s worth, is NOT through Anthem Blue Cross – who was perfectly willing to accept our money even though our policy had been canceled, has yet to refund that money, and who was perfectly willing to not tell us that our doctors are no longer in their network, but try to get us to sign up for new coverage with them, saying that we could iron out the whole doctor thing later).
Anyway, so we have new health insurance now. Hallelujah! In the last two months while we’ve been without coverage, all nine of us got colds/flu while we crossed all of our fingers and toes that there would be no ear infections or upper respiratory infections requiring visits to urgent care, seven of us had stomach bugs that lingered, and Michael had an episode of abdominal pain, which, with his history, could definitely spell big trouble but which this time, thankfully didn’t.
So, back to Obamacare.
If I hear one more person say that Obamacare is socialized medicine, I swear to god I will throw an encyclopedia at them. Obamacare is not socialized medicine. Socialized medicine is characterized by the fact that the hospitals are owned and run by the government, and the doctors and nurses are all government employees. In America – even with the evil
Hitlercare Obamacare, health insurance is still private, for-profit enterprise.
Is Obamacare perfect? No. Is it an attempt to regulate the health insurance industry? Why yes, yes it is. It is an attempt to make healthcare accessible to everyone. Again, it is not perfect – but I don’t see anyone else coming up with a better solution.
Dudes, I am happy about Obamacare, okay? So don’t think for a moment that your snide remarks about how Obamacare will be the downfall of America, blah blah blah will get a chuckle or a nod of agreement from me. For us personally, we will be paying a little less for monthly premiums than we were when we had group coverage through Michael’s employer (and this is without subsidies – we don’t qualify). The coverage we have now – effective yesterday – is in some ways better than what we had previously (we can choose our own doctors! We can see specialists without a referral or authorization! We have pediatric dental coverage – we’ve never had dental coverage! We’ll pay less for prescriptions!), and in some ways not as good (some of the co-pays/shared costs will be higher). But all in all, it’s definitely coverage we can live with and are happy to have. And hey, Michael is a cancer survivor. Finn has Down syndrome. Those are pre-existing conditions, my friends. Yeah, we’re pretty happy to have this coverage.
And you know what? I would be happy to pay a little more than we were paying before in order to make it possible for someone else to be able to get coverage who otherwise couldn’t afford it. That insurance is an enterprise that spreads the risk and the cost among many is not a new idea, folks – that’s what insurance has always been about.