Obamacare and Me
I had the luxury this last weekend of an extended stay at a luxury hotel, where I didn’t have to get up to use the bathroom, I didn’t have to drink anything if I didn’t want to, I could sleep all I wanted to, and if I needed to get anywhere, I was wheeled around by the friendly staff.
The name of that hotel was the emergency room.
Last Thursday, I developed a slight toothache on the left side of my face. The aching didn’t last very long, but suddenly my upper lip began to swell up. By Friday, the pressure of my swollen lip was pushing so hard into my gums that my teeth were starting to ache. The swelling continued to grow, and I still had no idea what had happened. By Saturday, I decided to go see an emergency dentist. The dentist took a quick look and said I need the ER, so that’s where I went. After sitting around for 2 hours waiting to get a room, I was finally escorted in, given pain medication that I didn’t need (it made my head feel like it was going to explode, and I was fighting nausea for the next 24 hours). I didn’t have pain, just discomfort. They gave me a ct scan and determined I had a tooth infection. They gave me some antibiotics, and sent me on my way. All of this after a rotating circus of nurses who would come in, have their phone ring, and then would leave. The doctor himself came in and said something like two words before his phone rang, and I never saw him again.
I returned the next day, because the swelling got worse. The doctor on duty that day looked at it and said I needed a dentist.
Isn’t that nice. The dentist said I needed a doctor, and the doctor said I needed a dentist.
Finally, on Monday, I went to see an oral surgeon who the ER recommended. Out of all of them, this guy was the best. He looked at my teeth, and said that I had an infection around two of them, and that the cheapest option was to extract them, but they could possibly be saved if I spent thousands of dollars on a root canal.
So I now sit here toothless, with a lot of medical bills.
The question now becomes, would have enrolling in Obamacare made any difference for me?
Probably not. Could my teeth have been saved by having a root canal? Possibly, but the oral surgeon made it clear that it was not a guarantee.
Both sides are spinning Obamacare like crazy. The president and some Democrats are claiming Obamacare is working because 8 million people signed up, and 3 million have been shunted to Medicaid, while the other side is playing up the disastrous rollout and that 4.2 million people, by the last numbers I can find, have lost their insurance. Even some “fact check” sites are trying to spin it one way or the other.
What do these numbers really mean?
Let’s go back to the beginning. Remember 2008, when this was a hot campaign topic? Most probably don’t, but the number of uninsured Americans kept hopping all over the radar like a frog on a hot burner. It changed from 15 million all the way up to a high of 45 million, with stops at 19 mil, 25 mil, and 30 million in between. That is a deviation of 15 million either way. So, we have somewhere around 30 million people uninsured, yet only 8 million people “signed up”. That’s a success only if you set the bar so low that you clear it only by tripping. If we assume a maximum of 45 million uninsured (for argument’s sake), less than 20% of those signed up. For the sake of argument, let’s add the 4.2 million who had their policies cancelled due to Obamacare regulations, bringing the total to 49 million uninsured. That means only 16% of the uninsured signed up.
Let’s break the numbers down a little further.
Eight million people “signed up”.
How many of those people actually enrolled? Actually picked a plan? How many of them actually paid their premiums?
How many of them are getting subsidized, and are paying very little to nothing? Of course, I wonder if the deductibles are subsidized.
How many “young invincibles” signed up? How many paid? How many would have signed up if they were not allowed to stay on their parent’s plan until the age of 26, assuming their parent’s plan wasn’t cancelled.
How many of that 8 million number are people who had their insurance cancelled, and signed up because they have to have insurance? I’m not talking about the mandate, I’m talking having to have the insurance.
Three million people were shunted to Medicaid. Are those numbers counted in the enrollment numbers? If so, how are they supposed to help prop up the system when they won’t be paying anything?
Besides, there is a dark side to Medicaid that most people don’t know about, like, if you are elderly and use Medicaid, the State can seize your house after you die. We had to sell my grandfather’s house more than 10 years ago when he went into an assisted living facility just so the State of Oregon couldn’t seize it.
If the ACA is such a success, why are so many Democrats whose seats are vulnerable this election cycle backing away from it?
Try as you might to justify and spin it, the American people have been against this monstrosity from the beginning.
And Washington just doesn’t care, because they are looking out for the insurance industry, not the American people.
How will the American people react when the insurance bailouts kick in?
More about my situation. We can’t afford to put me on my wife’s plan. Obamacare is also too expensive, but the deductibles are $5500 to $6500. What I ran up this last week still fails to top the deductible threshold. A root canal possibly still would not have broken that threshold. Which means I would be paying for an insurance policy that would not cover my illness this weekend. Useless and pointless.
I don’t get majorly sick very often. The last time was in the late 1990’s.
What I am trying to say is that with or without insurance, I would be in the same place, only I would have been paying premiums out my backside as well for no gain. Obamacare makes no sense for me.
The president has a vested interest in convincing us it is working. It isn’t, no matter what he says, and I think he knows it. Premiums are going up across all age brackets in most states (they are going down in a few states). Deductibles have jumped quite a bit. But 8 million people is considered a success, when we were told back in 2008 that as many as 45 million people were without insurance?
Can we set the bar any lower?