Monday, November 18, 2013

Another Sad Obamacare Story

On October 21 President Obama made a speech in the Rose Garden of The White House extolling what he said were the virtues of Obamacare.  In his speech he referenced a letter from a woman named Jessica Sanford from Federal Way, Washington who had written to President Obama about her excitement on enrolling in Obamacare.

President Obama on Oct. 21 in White House Rose Garden 

This is what Ms. Sanford wrote to President Obama.
“I am a single mom, no child support, self-employed, and I haven’t had insurance for 15 years because it’s too expensive.  My son has ADHD and requires regular doctor visits and his meds alone cost $250 per month.  I have had an ongoing tendinitis problem due to my line of work that I haven’t had treated.  Now, finally, we get to have coverage because of the ACA for $169 per month.  I was crying the other day when I signed up.  So much stress lifted.”

President Obama went on to say this in his speech.

Now, that is not untypical for a lot of folks like Jessica who have been struggling without health insurance.  That’s what the Affordable Care Act is all about.  The point is, the essence of the law -- the health insurance that’s available to people -- is working just fine.  In some cases, actually, it’s exceeding expectations -- the prices are lower than we expected, the choice is greater than we expected.

Unfortunately, none of it turned out to be true.  Jessica had gotten the wrong information from the Washington State health care exchange which gave her the wrong subsidy amount.  As a result, she not only is not entitled to any subsidy based on her income as a self-employed court reporter (a little less than $50,000) per year but she probably is looking at a substantially higher premium than she would have had prior to Obamacare's passage.

Under Obamacare, the estimated cost of a silver plan for her zip code would be about $6,000 per year according to the Kaiser Obamacare Calculator.  This generally would probably require about a $4,000 annual deductible for herself and her son.  On the other hand, I was able to find a $4,000 family deductible plan in Federal Way, WA for 2013 on for $283/mo ($3,396) per year.  That  is almost half of the Obamacare rate.

Of course, she is uninsured today so she obviously has already decided she cannot afford $283 per month. Therefore, she clearly cannot afford $500 per month and has stated that she will pay the penalty and forego the health insurance.

This article from the Washington State Wire has the full story.  Read it and weep for this poor woman.

What is really sad is this comment from Ms.Sanford which I think is typical of a lot of people who thought that Obamacare was actually going to help them.

“I was dumbfounded,” she said. “I thought this was a total mistake, they’re going to correct this — this isn’t true. How could I not qualify for a tax credit? I make under $50,000 a year. There’s got to be something. So I got ahold of my broker, and a couple of days later he called me back, and he told me that no, it was true.”

What is even sadder is that Ms. Sanford is a big Barack Obama supporter and still doesn't seem to understand that his policies are not designed to help her.

She says she wants to make it clear she has no beef with Obama and Obamacare. She still believes in the Affordable Care Act. “I don’t want this to be a political thing,” she says. “I don’t want to be bashing the president. I don’t want to be bashing the ACA. I don’t want to come across as saying that. I am a big Obama fan.
At the same time she has seen the problems of big government and its bureaucracy up close and personal but it does not seem to register with her that therein lies the problem.

“But to me there is a big problem with the way the state is handling it. It is like a big machine – you put your stuff in there and once you do it, it is impossible to do anything. You can’t get through to them [on the phone], the website is really limited. So you are stuck on this big treadmill of bureaucracy, and you know, it feels very out of control.”
 Sad, sad, indeed.  What more can one say?

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