For the last several days, I’ve been engrossed in reading people’s nightmarish Affordable Care Act aka “Obamacare” stories. The media has been putting a spotlight on various “horror stories” – allegedly from Americans adversely affected by Obamacare. But what’s really going on with these stories? They can’t be all fabrications and lies in order to smear Obamacare, right?
Well, last October, MSNBC did some snooping around and debunked someone’s “horror” story:
Deborah Cavallaro is a hard-working real estate agent in the Westchester suburb of Los Angeles who has been featured prominently on a round of news shows lately, talking about how badly Obamacare is going to cost her when her existing plan gets canceled and she has to find a replacement.
She says she’s angry at President Obama for having promised that people who like their health plans could keep them, when hers is getting canceled for not meeting Obamacare’s standards.
“Please explain to me,” she told Maria Bartiromo on CNBC Wednesday, “how my plan is a ‘substandard’ plan when … I’d be paying more for the exchange plans than I am currently paying by a wide margin.”
Bartiromo didn’t follow up with the guest, so Michael Hiltzik did. He discovered that Deborah Cavallaro has a pretty awful health plan, which costs $293 a month in premiums, along with a deductible of $5,000 a year and a limit of two doctor visits a year, each of which come with a $40 copay. If she sees her physician more than twice, she’s responsible for 100% of the costs.
Under “Obamacare,” she can sign up for a “silver” coverage plan for $333 a month with a vastly reduced deductible and no limits on the number of times she’s able to see her doctor. She can also sign up for a “bronze” plan and pay as little as $194 a month. She’d have the same deductible she has now, but she’d save on premiums and have no limits on the number of visits.
Under either plan, this woman would have fewer health care costs and greater security with coverage that couldn’t be taken away.
And here’s another story debunked last month on Rachel Maddow’s blog:
The problem persists. Reader R.B. passed along this striking report from Maggie Mahar, who explained that many of the “tales of Obamacare’s innocent victims … just aren’t true.”
Yesterday I posted about a Fort Worth Star Telegram article that leads with the tale of Whitney Johnson, a 26-year-old new mother who suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS). Her insurer just cancelled her policy, and according to Johnson, new insurance would cost her over $1,000 a month.
That claim stopped me in my tracks. Under the ACA, no 26-year-old could be charged $1,000 monthly – even if she has MS.
Obamacare prohibits insurers from charging more because a customer suffers from a pre-existing condition. This rule applies to all new policies, whether they are sold inside or outside the exchanges. At that point, I knew that something was wrong.
And something was. The Star-Telegram piece profiled four local consumers, three of whom are Tea Party activists, and two of whom hadn’t bothered to even check what’s available through healthcare.gov. They were described as “losers” under the new system, but made no effort to see if they might be winners.
What’s more, the 26-year-old new mother who was facing a $1,000-a-month insurance plan actually ended up with coverage just under $350 a month – a detail the paper has never conveyed to readers – and a stronger safety net than her family enjoyed before.
It seems as though the right wing media is trying their hardest to employ an Obamacare smear campaign. They want to focus on the what seems to be a lot of made up lies, instead of focusing on the good that has come out of Obamacare.
Well my cervix is thankful for Obamacare.
For the last two years, as a freelancer, and since my Cobra coverage ended, I’ve gotten the run around from the state in regards to health insurance. I’ve received the old, “You’re not poor enough” and “Sorry, but it looks as though your income is too high”, when it came to state subsidized programs.
Not. Poor. Enough.
Basically, before Obamacare, if you wanted to receive any type of assistance, you’d have to be living out of a cardboard box, or have 50-11 kids. Neither of which apply to me.
Without insurance, my doctor visits were obsolete. I was pissed, because I missed being able to visit a doctor whenever I had an issue. I also missed my annual cervix scrapings also known as pap smears. As a person with natural born lady parts, an annual pap smear is essential to lady parts health. I literally counted down the days until the health care exchanges opened up, so I could get me some good ole Obamacare!
And it just wasn’t me. Every freelancer I know, who was without health insurance, had the date marked on their calendars! But once the exchanges opened, it was like pulling teeth to get your information in the system.
Now that was bad and the president did admit the screw ups. Cut the man some slack.
When the date came for my good ole Obamacare to be effective, I logged on and saw nothing. My heart skipped a few beats. Every day I spent hours on hold trying to reach someone to get information. For 2 weeks, I lost hours of my life talking to people who gave me the run around. Until I finally had enough and sent a long winded Facebook email to the “fanpage” belonging to Maryland’s health exchange. Back and forth for a week, I emailed this anonymous person. They ensured me that they were there to help.
And then it happened.
I got a personal phone call from the Maryland exchange! “Ma’am, your insurance is now active,” is what the voice said on the other end of the phone. She gave me the details and breakdown of my plan. No less than 10 minutes after hanging up, I called all of my doctors to make appointments. It was a moment that I’ll never forget.
And a moment that may change my life.
You see, after I had my annual pap and gyno visit, 2 weeks later I received a phone call. I was negative for all STDs including HPV, but the mid-wife told me that they found abnormal cells on my cervix. She wanted to schedule an immediate colposcopy and cervical biopsy. A colpop (as they call it for short) is a way for your doctor to use a special magnifying device to look at your vulva, vagina, and cervix. If a problem is seen during colposcopy, a small sample of tissue (biopsy) may be taken from the cervix or from inside the opening of the cervix (endocervical canal). The sample is looked at under a microscope.
I couldn’t believe what she was telling me. I then called my best friend, who’s a family doctor in New Jersey. She did her best to calm me down and to reassure me that if it’s just some abnormal cells, it could be caused from just about anything. She gave me a few questions to ask the doctor during my next visit.
That visit was yesterday. I will say that I was nervous, outside of having regular exams, I’ve never been had any invasive procedure done like a colpop. As I got undressed, the doctor entered the room.
“Today we’re going to see what’s going on with these pre-cancerous cells that were detected during your pap,” she said.
My eyes widened and I felt a panic attack coming on. The mid-wife who called me about my results never mentioned anything about pre-cancerous cells. She only said abnormal, which could be anything and not necessarily pre-cancerous.
I about died on that exam table. As I sat in the stirrups, I texted my best-friend to tell her what the doctor said. She was also upset that the mid-wife only used the terms “abnormal” to describe the cells. I tried to keep calm and the doctor was explaining what she was doing. Then she warned me about the possible pinch of the biopsy. Before I could even get scared, she was done.
So now I wait. This is going to be the longest 7 days ever. When I got home I cried and ate ice cream. Although the doctor said they’re “only” pre-cancerous cells, I’d like to thank President Barack Obama for CervixVaginaVulvaCare. I mean Obamacare.