Thursday, December 15, 2011

Why I Am Grateful for Obama's Health Care Plan

I've gotten into many online arguments with people, have seen posts and comments that have made me want to flip over tables, and have learned a great deal about the good and the bad about our current American society. I feel that President Obama's election to one of the most powerful seats of power in America and the passing of his Health Care Plan has brought out the best, worst, and downright evil in many people.

I have not always agreed with Obama's policies, and I am often annoyed and disappointed by our current government, however this is one policy I have supported since the beginning. This, admittedly, is primarily because I am one of those in-betweeners who found herself with healthcare after graduating college. I had been under my father's insurance as a minor and as a student, and I knew that as my graduation loomed, that if I didn't find a job with benefits, that I would be shit out of luck.

After graduating from college and being unable to find a job, I was tossed off of my father's insurance. On the one hand it motivated me to take extra care of myself so that I wouldn't break a bone (as my accident prone self tends to do at the worst times) or end up in the emergency room for whatever reason. On the other hand, I also couldn't visit my doctor when I got sick and I had to stop taking certain medications because my prescription ran out. I was only able to find a seasonal part time retail job for the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays, which does not offer benefits. And even when they did offer me a permanent part time position, the cost of paying for medical insurance in comparison to what my biweekly net pay was, was nonsensical. And it was sobering talking to coworkers who (along with their families) didn't have healthcare because they just couldn't afford the expense. I had had an elitist view coming from college, and it was nice having my rose-tinted glasses knocked off.  

However, under President Obama's Health Care Plan, specifically the Affordable Care Act, I am covered until I am 26 if I choose to remain on my father's plan. Luckily beginning in January of 2011, I was added back onto my father's insurance. This was especially auspicious since just the end of that month I found myself in the emergency room with a broken foot. Talk about good timing.

Of course the hospital made a mistake and never billed my insurance, instead billing me (and twice) for my treatment. Because of that I was able to see just how much I would have had to pay if I didn't have insurance. It was about $4000+ just for a broken foot. And for someone making only $7.25/hr at around 20 hrs a week (you do the math), paying that myself would have left me so far in the whole it's laughable.

But thankfully, because of the healthcare plan I was covered under my father. Sure he has to pay a higher premium, but it is so worth it in the long run. And I do my part to pay other expenses for my family, so it's not as if I'm a complete moocher- which is something many people seem to see us inbetweeners as. I've gotten into many debates with people over the internet who just don't understand why they have to pay for other's children to remain on healthcare. Often they blame us for higher premiums when they need to be blaming big business, the insurance companies. And a parent is not forced to add their child back onto insurance. It's optional, and those that do more than likely have no problem paying that premium.

I'm saying all this as the White House released the latest data regarding coverage of young adults like me. 2.5 million once uninsured young adults were able to hop back onto their family's plan, many of whom (like me) would love to be able to afford our own benefits, but can't for one reason or another. Even with my current part time job where I make a significant more amount of money than the minimum wage, I can barely afford the insurance costs per month (over $100) and my job is thinking of increasing the costs. I'm extremely grateful, especially with my up and down health, that I am covered. I think of it this way. I have being paying for social security since I turned 16. I will never see any of that money. Maybe they'll have another government program for me when I reach retirement age. Probably won't. With nearly 50% of Amers living in poverty or considered poor, I don't think it's unreasonable to offer some form of safety net for those of us transitioning into a tepid economic climate. It's not like many, if not most of us, don't want full time paying jobs with fantastic benefits. For many of us, it's just taken a much longer time than the baby boomers had to, to get such jobs. So I for one appreciate President Obama and am extremely grateful for the Affordable Care Act.I may not agree with all he does, but this one policy gets my vote.

AN: Please read this fantastic op-ed regarding one person's own experience with the new healthcare plan and having a pre-existing condition.

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