I had believed that Obamacare was excellent at providing every citizen of America with healthcare and the medical care system had been fixed. However, my belief was ruined when I decided to go to school full-time and quit my job. I discovered the hidden rules of America’s healthcare system. I now believe Obamacare in America is unfair and failing to meet the basic needs of our most vulnerable citizens.
I’ve been working full-time for over 20 years, living with all of my needs met by my workplace insurance, and taking my healthcare benefits for granted. I was a healthy adult with minor medical issues. Recently, my only medical set backs involved a foot injury and a nasty cough.
While listening to the news, I had discovered that the federal government fines any working adult without healthcare. So, I was trying to avoid any extra fees or taxes this year, since I knew that I would have a limited income. In order to prepare for my 8 month hiatus from work and healthcare benefits, I started to compare healthcare insurance plans on the internet. I had to disclose my sex, my age, and disclose whether or not I was a smoker into an internet algorithm and hit send to receive an estimate on my monthly plan fees. My internet search (minus any human input) results yielded an affordable health plan to fit my budget. I felt satisfied with the $130 monthly charge that would supply me with every medical service I needed and nothing more.
However, I started wondering about the coverage of the plan, so I asked my insurance agent if she had any expert advice to share with me on subsidized healthcare insurance. She explained in detail that because I was unemployed, I qualified for a subsidized healthcare. I was thrilled, but there was a catch. I also had to estimate my yearly income and incur fines if I over or underestimated my salary. Wait, what? Overestimate my salary and pay fines? Underestimate my salary and pay fines? She added to the quagmire by letting me know that the minimum salary requirement to qualify for the subsidy is $15,000 per year.
I tried to imagine what Obamacare might be like for a single mother of 4 children, who might have a sick child, and works 90+ hours a week at part-time jobs. What would she do? How would she survive? Would she owe fines at the end of the year, because she made too much or too little? How is Obamacare helping people who struggle to make ends meet in America?
It is very clear to me that while Obamacare is helping people who have a reliable income, but it hurts more than it helps. It subjects someone who has the potential to earn more income at a better job without health insurance to reconsider if they want to continue receiving a government subsidy or get a better job. It forces people like me to decide whether or not I want to purchase healthcare or pay the fine. I had no idea how complicated this decision was going to be. I strongly disagree with how the government regulated the subsidy, because the payback clause is bonkers and my insurance agent agreed with me.
I started to weigh the option of not getting health insurance, as I am certain many Americans must do. I also know that one hospital stay from an accident or a health scare could dissolve my savings account overnight. I also also knew that the fine for not getting health insurance is $695 per person, a large amount of money for anyone who lives paycheck to paycheck.
I later discovered that the affordable insurance quote which I had initially researched did not qualify for the minimum coverage required to meet the government standards. There are hundreds of plans available, all labeled bronze, silver and gold. Each offers the account holder varying degrees of coverage and deductibles. Selecting a plan that does meet the minimum government requirements would cost me twice as much as I had thought. The new monthly payment is equal to a luxury car payment. I am most likely going to need a part-time job this summer to fill the gap in my budget for healthcare. Even though I had carefully planned and saved for my exit from working full time, I had not saved for this expense. I definitely regret not contacting an insurance expert sooner.
I have wondered what kind of monopoly all of these government rules and health care companies have created. I felt disillusioned by the news articles and countless testaments proclaiming that this system works.
All of this government bureaucracy shouldn’t have surprised me. I have worked for a government entity. I know how the system works. They pay an outside expert to analyze the issue, discuss the reports in committees over several months, argue every step of the way, draft guidelines, vote on the guidelines and feel accomplished. I feel certain that no one made the effort to analyze how the marginalized people of the American Society would suffocate under this bill.
I have the means to pay for my health insurance, I’m lucky. But I can’t stop thinking about the countless children, students, parents, veterans, elderly and homeless who need health care and cannot afford it. Americans deserve better.
I believe that America should reform it’s healthcare insurance system. It is broken. Every American should have health care with flexible rates that make accommodations for students, single parents, and stop fining people for wage variations.