I've been fighting a nasty bug the past few days, barely poking my head out from under the covers to send out the newsletter (well, I did yesterday's newsletter on my smart phone for the first time, on the way to and back from the doctor. She prescribed a Z-pac antibiotic and probiotic yogurt. I added chicken soup.)
(image by US government) DMCA
I must confess that my new ACA/Obamacare insurance is making me smile. I'm paying about a third less than I did the previous year, and the co-pays for office visits have dropped-- from $30 a visit to $10. The prescription was $5. I'm pretty sure it would have been $10 before.
I'm not saying Obamacare is anywhere close to perfect. I'd much rather have single payer for all, like all the civilized first world nations in the world. Note that I did not say "other civilized nations." The US is not a civilized nation, not as long as it allows so many people to be hungry, so many people to live in poverty, so many to go without healthcare.
I went for a platinum ACA/Obamacare policy. But a lot of other people I know did not. They got lesser policies that don't help much. They make it a lot more expensive or difficult to get treatment. That's just not right.
To be specific, some don't get co-pays at all for doctor visits, until after they meet really high deductibles. And some have to sign up for plans with service providers far from home, to get the lower rates. Those policies amount to insurance for acute emergencies. Now, my doctor told me I either had a lower sinus infection or strep throat. I'll know by tomorrow whether it's strep, if my cough doesn't diminish. But if the visit had cost me full freight, or if I'd had to put out $100 for an urgent care facility or one of the docs on premises facilities at many big pharmacies, I may not have gone in at all. I may have just waited it out. I am certain that there are millions of people who do just that. I'm sure many just suffer through the course of the illness and get better. And I'm sure some of them die. That is not a system that works for all. But it lets Obama tell a nice story.
Right wingers would argue that you get what you pay for, or that you have to earn the money to pay for it. That's not the way the civilized world works.
Still, I've been pretty critical of Obama and skeptical about obamacare, especially during the signup time. I had my share of problems accessing healthcare.gov, scares about missing deadlines, and I'm not sure the billing stuff is all straightened out yet. Yes, I've paid for the first few months of the insurance, but at first I wasn't getting the government subsidy. Also, I over estimated my already abysmally low income, so I may have short-changed what I'm getting for a subsidy. And I had the help of a person who was certified to help people sign up.
Still, so far, this is working for me. I've had two specialist visits at 20% lower cost than last year and this GP visit at much lower cost. These are the best rates I've paid in years. But we're absolutely not "THERE" yet.
Shortly after the ACA was passed I asked my then US senator Arlen Spector about single payer and he replied that equal rights didn't all come at once, and that this was a step towards reaching single payer. I hope he's right. And I'd like to see the senate start taking up the idea. Single payer is the ONLY just and civilized answer for healthcare, and from what I've learned from my colleagues who are at the front lines advocating for single payer, it is the best economic solution too-- at least for the 99% and for the USA's bottom line.
I'm curious what your experience has been, and what critiques or compliments YOU have.
|The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author
and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.