So here goes my opinions on Obamacare or as it should be referred to aka the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
I don't think it was a bad Act but it was hastily put together. Improvements are necessary. But I also think, even if more time was spent fine tuning the law itself, there still would have been various hiccups during implementation. There always are.
Personally, I have benefited from the ACA. The big one for me was the pre-existing condition clause. If you go back a few years in my LJ, you'll find my rants about the debacle I experienced when my thyroid condition became a pre-existing condition and I lost coverage for that issue. So what happened there, is that I had a few days gap between health insurance coverage. I pretty much crossed my fingers that I wouldn't get in a car accident within those few days or get some sort of disease. Because of this brief coverage gap, my thyroid stuff then became a pre-existing conditions. I had no idea until I got the bill for my yearly blood work and it wasn't covered. Typically, I'd pay $30 - 50 for the blood work but now I was on the hook for $800+. Thankfully, my PCP was able to code the blood work differently so I only ended up paying $300 for the blood tests. It still sucked, but thankfully I had a nice chunk of savings in my bank account, so I wasn't hurt by this expense.
Secondly, my birth control is now free and I get a free cervix scraping (a pap smear) every year. Woo-hoo! The husband and I secretly joke that my birth control pills are my slut pills. To be honest, I wouldn't mind paying a reasonable prescription co-pay for my birth control. It seems fair to treat it like other medicines. JUST AS LONG AS IT'S COVERED! I ran into a situation with a former employer's insurance where birth control wasn't covered. Being the naive person in my 20's, I just assumed it was always covered. All of my other prior insurance plans covered my slut pills. Well, that employer didn't cover them. At that time, I was actually on the Nuvaring. That ended up now costing me $65 out of pocket vs. the $20 - 30 copay. Again, thankfully I had the funds to cover that extra monthly expense, but I know not everyone is as fortunate. I ended up eventually changing over to the Pill. The cheapest one my doctor could put me on, was a Pill that cost $14 / month out of pocket. Although, I am a big proponent of Contraception. I mean, it is one of the best ways outside of abstinence (and who really does that?) to prevent unwanted pregnancies and thus, also abortion.
The ACA has its issues. Some plans didn't cover enough and were too expensive for some. That unfortunate group that's too poor for Medicaid but not quite wealthy enough to pay for coverage got screwed. The initial website roll out was chaos but was quickly fixed.
Overall, the ACA has been an OK success. More people are covered and I hope that means healthier Americans. And the ACA hasn't been the "job killer" some thought it would be. Why not fix the issues instead of straight up repealing it and possibly harming millions of Americans? Heck, even nickname it something less controversial too!
But let's face the real facts here, health insurance is expensive. Healthcare is expensive.
A few years ago, when my husband worked for a non-profit, we were on their cushy health insurance plan. It was pretty decent. But it still didn't cover everything. For awhile, I had to have some physical therapy that wasn't covered by insurance until my $1500 deductible was met. Deductibles still confuse me, although I think health insurance is meant to be extra confusing so that no one understands it. Anyways, this meant that I had to pay $100 for each therapy session out of pocket. Again, thank goodness I could afford it!
Health insurance has always been expensive, even prior to the ACA. And the costs always increased every few years. There were a few lucky people that had great and cheap coverage through their employers, but again they're few. I think for my husband's good plan with his non-profit employer, still easily took out $500 - 600 / month out of his pay. I knew people that easily paid $600 out of each bi-weekly paycheck in order to cover themselves, their spouse, and kids. That's practically a house payment or rent for some, and that's only being used towards insurance.
It sucks that health insurance is so expensive. And I barely use it. My major expenses are my yearly thyroid blood tests, vision, my yearly pelvic exam so that I can get my whore pills - pretty simple stuff. But I'm also a fairly healthy adult. The insurance is there, so that if something catastrophic were to happen, I at least don't go too much into debt. It's sad to see people who do have insurance go into crazy amounts of debt. It's just plain WRONG!
The insurance companies are partially to blame. They are profit driven, and making coverage more expensive while covering less makes them quite profitable. I mean, how else are the CEO's going to get their million dollar plus bonuses! However, the hospitals are also partially to blame as well. Everyone charges different things for everything. And this is also how you hear stories about basic aspirin pills costing $10 at hospitals. TIME magazine had a great article a few years ago called A Bitter Pill about these ridiculous costs. The hospitals have to mark up everything and then the insurance companies then bargain that price down. It seems like a ridiculous system and the losers are the end person, the patient.
A few years ago, I had to have a MRI. I went to the outpatient clinic I was recommended to go to, which was in-network. Everything was scheduled at a time / date that was convenient to me. Low and behold, I get a call from my insurance provider, that I couldn't go to THAT clinic. I had to go somewhere else that was maybe $1500 - 2000 cheaper. Sure, I get the cost savings, but it was the same damn procedure. Being scared that the insurance wouldn't cover the MRI at all if I kept my current appointment, I went ahead canceled and had to reschedule. It was a pain in the ass. I did it but I felt that it wasn't quite right. And then, because I went somewhere else for the MRI, the results didn't even get sent over the appropriate doctor. I went in for my follow up and my doctor had no idea where my MRI results were. Which meant, I had to spend extra time at the damn doctor's waiting for the results to be faxed over. And then, to make this whole ordeal even ridiculous, I get a check in the mail, a year later for $80. Apparently, when I did pay the ultimate bill (something like $250), that bill was too high. It should have been $170, which is why I got a check in the mail, an entire year later. My mind is still blown by that.
Overall, I think the ideal way to fix the ACA, is to have a government option available. And hopefully we get our heads out of our asses and eventually do some sort of single payer system, like everyone else does. But I just don't know how we could even go that way at this point in time.