Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I’m Officially Covered

I’ve told parts of this story before so I’ll mostly skip over the narrative about the why and the how, but since 2005 and for various reasons including a punitively large premium increase, a preexisting condition (back injury) and cash-flow issues due to the Great Recession, I’ve been an unintentional member of the often discussed 30 million uninsured Americans.

For nearly ten years, I’ve been one serious injury or one serious illness away from financial ruin.

It’s not that I didn’t want to be covered. I was simply incapable of being covered. Not long after dropping my small business plan in 2005 due to an egregious rate hike, I was riding my bike through a small town near my house when a group of teenagers in a beat-up hatchback cut me off in traffic. My bike and my body t-boned into the side of the car as it made a sudden, screeching right turn. The impact smashed one of my vertebrae, but fortunately the driver’s auto insurance covered the ER visit and the MRI. Injury aside, I was very lucky in that regard. If I had crashed on my own accord, I would’ve been screwed.

Suffice to say, acquiring health insurance after the accident was impossible, especially since I refused to give up cycling.

But as of April 1, and along with six million others (so far), I’ll be covered by an affordable, comprehensive health insurance plan. After deliberating for several months over which plan to choose, I finally pulled the trigger and signed up for a Kaiser-Permanente plan through the Hawaii Health Connector (the Hawaii exchange). It’s a “Silver I” plan with a relatively inexpensive $197 monthly premium, along with a $1000 deductible, $15 generic drugs (no deductible), free wellness checkups and so forth. And, naturally, no lifetime or annual limits on coverage. (Incidentally and for the edification of any tea party trolls, no, I didn’t qualify for subsidies. Oh, and Kaiser-Permanente isn’t a “government-run” insurer. Sorry!)

The most refreshing aspect of my uneventful 30-minute enrollment process was the total lack of any questions relating to my medical history. Without preexisting conditions as a factor in receiving coverage, medical histories are irrelevant now. They simply don’t matter. If you pay the premiums, you’re covered.

Had it not been for the ACA I wouldn’t be insured. Frankly, will my voting choices be guided in part by a desire to remain insured? You’re damn right they will. And anyone who tries to repeal the law will hear from me in this space and in the voting booth — now more than ever. I refuse to allow any tea party gomer deep in the throes of flaming Obama Derangement Syndrome to take away my coverage. I suspect I’m not the only one.

Maybe that was a major political consideration for the Democrats and the Obama administration to pass the law, maybe not. One way or another, a long-term side-effect of the ACA is that voters with Obamacare coverage will vigorously campaign against anyone who tries to take it away. In this regard, not unlike Medicare and Social Security, it won’t be long before center-right Republicans wise up and support the ongoing existence of (and, hopefully, improvements to) the ACA. In the process, the nickname “Obamacare” will become one of affection rather than ridicule.

Oh, and speaking of tea party gomers, there’s this unit:

Contrary to flippant hipsters who, in bursts of social media ennui, insist that both parties are the same, the ACA is absolutely one of many issues where the two parties have distinctly separate views, but it also illustrates how our votes matter, how politics matters — not just in terms of distant, disconnected issues in faraway lands, or in terms of hypothetical slippery slopes, or whatever the news cycle happens to be pumping during a given week. This is a one-to-one relationship. Vote Democratic, protect your healthcare. Undermine the Democrats, risk losing your healthcare. Likewise, as soon as the GOP controls Congress and the White House, I will lose my healthcare. It’s as simple as that.

I mean, here’s a tea partier whose first commercial out of the gate, during his primary challenge against incumbent conservative Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), is about literally shooting the law that’s provided me with health insurance (you might’ve noticed how one of his firearms is the AR-15, the Sandy Hook and Aurora weapon) and then shredding that law in a wood chipper. There’s no gray area there. If there’s a majority of this species of hoople elected to Congress, millions of us will lose our coverage. And it won’t be the same scenario as the people who were dropped last year and were able to easily and immediately sign up for similar ACA plans. Unlike those cases, I won’t qualify for an affordable new policy to replace my coverage. I’ll be uninsured again. Indefinitely.

Other than when I was badly impacted by the recession and subsequently had skin in the game for an effective and robust recovery plan, I can’t think of another issue that’s this personal to me. And I can’t help but to take personally nonsense like that commercial, as well as the politicians in cahoots with the same destructive, dangerous point of view. I’ve always identified as a pragmatic political realist before any other label, but healthcare, now more than ever, is deeply personal now. Simply put: my health depends upon preventing pro-repeal Republicans from being elected. Call me an Obamabot or a Democratic shill. Knock yourself out because I don’t care. This is my political reality and the political reality for millions of other Americans. Come to think of it, it’s indeed both pragmatic and realistic to vote in the best interest of your own well-being.

So now, on this day, at the end of nine uninsured years, I can think of only two more words to encapsulate precisely how I feel right now.

“Thanks, Obama.”

  • Tort Master

    Congratulations to you, Bob! Democrats have worked hard, against the current, to get America on track to affordable and efficient healthcare coverage; Republicans would just as soon you died.
    I don’t write that lightly, and I’m not talking about the general Tea Party response to ObamaCare. Look at what Republican Governors have done to avoid Expanding Medicaid. They have made the “Ford Pinto Balancing Test” and determined that an inane Tea Party purity test is more important than the lives of thousands, even tens of thousands of their constituents. They are blithely murderous.

  • HilaryB

    It’s odd they titled that video “Let’s Do Some Damage” considering that’s exactly what repealing the bill would do.

    Congrats on getting covered! There’s nothing better than having piece of mind.

  • Force Crater

    What chafes me is all the fools getting health care thru their employer who believe that they are not on Obamacare! Fools! During enrollment when I saw this year’s plan I nearly fell out of my chair. Better plan – Thanks Obama! SAME PRICE – never happened before, every year of my whole life my health care costs have increased, first time ever it didn’t! – Thanks Obama!

  • Larry StCroix

    AlaDammnedBama LOL

  • Robert Jensen

    I tried in October and November, disaster. Ready to give up when the website was ‘fixed’ I tried again. I found that first you had to delete all previous entries, then it worked fine. Found out that social security for the majority of cases is not included in family income and that the website had finally been able to link to the IRS data base. I completed the application for wife (I have been enrolled in Medicare since 2010). She has a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma silver policy with a monthly premium of $53 after a large subsidy with a deductible of $500 and an out of pocket expense of $500.

    Already been used. Generic drugs no cp[ay. Office visit $30 co-pay. My wife will be on Meidcare next year. In the meantime we can sleep at night knowing we will never have to face the possibibilty of medical bankruptcy.

    Thank you Mr. President.

  • NintendoWii10

    Congrats, Mr. Cesca!

    The Republicans CONTINUE to campaign against Obamacare, and want to stop ALL progress, which is WHY the 2014 midterm election in November is important.

    Milt Shook at pleasecutthecrap.com is an excellent progressive, and he’s doing podcasts every weekday up until the election. Here is his podcast where he explains the importance
    of the 2014 midterm election, and I encourage everyone posting here to listen to it when/if you have a chance:

    http://pleasecutthecrap.com/the-please-cut-the-crap-podcast-4-lets-talk-about-the-2014-election/

  • GGP

    Whatever the rethugs say, they can’t dispute the fact that Obama passed The ACA AND he GOT Osama. Fortune has again blessed our country with a GREAT President.

    • Hemisemidemiquaver

      Bob: “it won’t be long before center-right Republicans wise up and support the
      ongoing existence of (and, hopefully, improvements to) the ACA.”

      GGP: “they can’t dispute the fact that Obama passed The ACA”

      Don’t worry. In a few years, the ACA will have been passed entirely due to the efforts of the GOP. The fact that none of them voted for it will be ignored and, if you bring it up, it will be met with anger at how uncouth you are bringing up old and irrelevant information.

      • dbtheonly

        We’re going to have to wait a few years for Fox on that one. The first hint will be if they start using a different name.

  • sealiagh

    My family is very lucky – I, my husband and our younger son are covered by very good health insurance through my husband’s employer. My older son has pretty good coverage through his employer – and the younger will have good coverage through his employer starting in the summer. So, yes, we are lucky. But it gives me great peace of mind to know that if, for some reason, those insurance opportunities go away Obamacare is there. And it makes me very happy for all those out there who are not as lucky that Obamacare is there. So, like Bob said “damn right” my voting choices will be influenced (heavily) by a candidate’s position on Obamacare. Thanks, Obama!!

    • http://www.dlancystreet.com reginahny

      Great comment, thank you. And the best thing is that even your and your family’s good coverage is improved by the regulations that are part of the ACA. Everyone gets no lifetime caps, preventive care, costs kept down by administrative only charges being limited to a percentage, etc. and all plans must meet the ACAs standards. Yay!

      • sealiagh

        And I’ll say it again “Thanks, Obama!!!!”

    • Force Crater

      All of us (who have insurance) (no matter how you get it) are on Obamacare.

    • nathkatun7

      Thank you so much sealiagh for this great comment! Every descent citizen should care about the general welfare of all of our citizens.

  • feloniousgrammar

    The counter ad writes itself. Make the same ad, then after he puts his hand on that stack of Obama care, have him drive around shooting his neighbors who wouldn’t have insurance without it.

  • http://www.livingenergy.abmp.com/ KanaW

    I was in the same boat, Bob.
    Got laid off from my computer job six years ago, my total monthly unemployment wouldn’t even cover the COBRA payments themselves, and when I had to change career fields, I wasn’t making enough to afford even a ‘junk’ plan. Then came the type 1 diabetes diagnosis…
    I will say it took FOREVER (it seemed) to get signed up, but I did in the end qualify for subsidies, and now I can actually afford to stay alive.

    So, I’ll agree: Thanks, Obama!

  • ssj

    I’m a little surprised he didn’t shoot at Obamacare in the back of his truck.

  • RenoRick

    I wish I was covered. The website in my state (NV) has been quite buggy and will not allow me to give it money. When I try to finalize the purchase, I get an error. Been trying off and on since October. At least I get an extension. Hope to have coverage soon!

    • http://www.dlancystreet.com reginahny

      Hi RenoRick, if you have trouble with the site you can call a navigator. The navigator that helped me when we kept getting stuck at the Income part was a lifesaver. Friendly, knowledgeable and even called me back with further info after he talked things over with his manager. It’s worth a call — good luck!

      • RenoRick

        Thanks for the tip! I keep meaning to call but I’m lazy…

        • Christopher Foxx

          Clearly that’s Obama’s fault.

          ;)

          • RenoRick

            It is! Thanks Obama! (Insert obligatory GIF here)

  • Benthedailybanter

    But what about drones????

    • dbtheonly

      Ben, missing the traffic Bob gets with his Greenwald articles? Drones & Greenwald get thousands of views as opposed to the piddily 233 this has (so far). :)

      • Tort Master

        Democrats have made the United States a better place, and all you and your anarcho-libertarian buddies got is various conspiracy theories about the Fed, the TSA and the NSA! What a barren existence.

        • dbtheonly

          “all you and your anarcho-libertarian buddies”?

          Wow.

          I thought you’d have called me a “Tool of the Capitalist Oppressors” or some such.

    • trgahan

      Drones have to go through whichever state exchange from where their “pilot” is based, but if that state refused to set up one, they must use an alternative federal ACA website (healthcareforwhiteguyoppressormachincessince2009.gov).

      It was buggy at first, since they didn’t know how to take a hellfire missile as payment, but it got fixed…..

      • i_a_c

        they didn’t know how to take a hellfire missile as payment, but it got fixed…..

        They had to ask the ghost of Anwar al-Awlaki for help.

  • http://www.dlancystreet.com reginahny

    Congratulations! My partner and I also just finished signing up at the New York exchange and got a Silver plan (with Dental) for a great rate and a very low deductible. We haven’t been able to afford coverage since his Cobra ran out from being laid off in 2008. I texted and posted the great news all over the place and had friends (and Facebook feed people) ask me all sorts of questions about where to go / what to do. I also ended my post with “Thanks Obama!”

  • Jason E

    Congrats Bob, now let’s hope you don’t need to use it anytime soon!

  • Draxiar

    “Frankly, will my voting choices be guided in part by a desire to remain insured? You’re damn right they will.”

    That statement right there, I think, sums up the biggest fear the GOTP has about the ACA. It creates more sure-footing for Dems in general as more people sign up (6 million is just the beginning). It’s an issue that hits home and affects people directly. The GOTP can’t compete with that. Sure they try with their easily debunked misinformation campaign or by throwing beer parties for 20 somethings encouraging them to NOT sign up (an act I find to be deplorable). The genie is out of the lamp now and 50 attempts to repeal it have failed. I can only imagine the backlash if it one day succeeds.

    • ninjaf

      It is shaky footing of their own making. They didn’t have to go down this road. They could have acted in good faith when the law was created. Or, barring that, they could have, at any time in the last 5 years, given up on their “repeal” fetish and, instead, work to improve upon what was already there.

      They will be reaping what they sewed and that will, hopefully, bring back some sanity to our politics.

      • feloniousgrammar

        They could have done their job as if their job were not being in tantrum. I really, really hope that the average voter can be made aware of this.

  • Jon Fox

    The MD exchange is a total mess, but they allow you to sign up for insurance straight through the insurers and go back later for the subsidies. I got Kaiser also for about 200 a month.

  • aceshigh

    Well said, Bob, and congrats on the coverage. That’s a HUGE deal.