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Posts Tagged ‘Affordable Care Act; health care; political activism; effecting change; insurance; healthcare.gov’

The 99 Percent and Romney’s 47 percent, I’m a member of both these groups; nearly everyone in the country instantly recognizes the significance of these numbers and what they symbolize. I don’t believe in idle complaining about the one percent or the politicians they have bought and paid for, particularly when the well being of my family and I are the currency. My introduction to healthcare.gov and the travesty which has been made of the Affordable Care Act last week have not turned me against the President and Obamacare but what I learned galvanized my determination to become part of the solution.  I want to share with you the letter I sent to Sen. Elizabeth Warren concerning my experience.

Senator Warren & Staff,

You and your staff have consistently spoken up for those of us who have small voices politically. I’m grateful and appreciate knowing there is at least one elected official who truly has the best interests of the people at heart. Your work on behalf of those of us with ungodly student loan burdens was what spurred me to become a “Warrenite”.  Your caring and outspoken defense of us small folk gave me the confidence to share my story.

I have a job interview Dec 5th with Teach for America. The last thing on the planet I want to do is go to that interview with no front teeth. Have you ever had a dental abscess? The pain is unbelievable, when it finally bursts you understand for the first time in your life the age old mystery of why dogs lick their butts; it’s to get the taste of road kill out of their mouth.  My quip likely made you laugh but the reality of no health, dental, or vision insurance is anything but.

I was fortunate,  I went to a dentist last week who had compassion on my situation. He only charged twenty bucks for my xrays then prescribed the cheapest antibiotics and pain medication available so I can attend my interview with my front teeth; December 6th he is pulling them.  You see, ONE root canal and crown is over 1400 dollars but it only costs a hundred to have a tooth pulled. I have two abscessed teeth which would cost almost three thousand dollars to keep and that ma’am is as impossible for me as it is for those butt licking dogs to sprout wings and fly. I’ve laughed and said the instant you walk into someone’s office and open your mouth and the folks behind the desk see bad, or no teeth, your IQ immed drops 40 points. My comment is funny in the sad way only the disadvantaged can truly know.

 The DCCC has sent repeated emails out in the last week asking for donations to help ensure the future of Obamacare. Ma’am for myself, and millions like me -the very people the affordable care act was designed to help; I can’t keep my teeth in my own mouth let alone help folks, who make more in one month than I do all year, put teeth in legislation which has already failed me.

Please find below the letter I sent to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence concerning the choices he, other elected officials made, which resulted in my lack of affordable insurance and healthcare.  I campaigned for, voted for, and still believe in the vision POTUS and likeminded elected officials had for our country’s health care.  I respectfully am asking that your staff would take the time to read my letter, and the healthcare.gov help desk transcript following. It is my sincere hope that it will touch someone in your office who will share with you what policy which does not see individual faces has been allowed to do.

I know the power of one small voice, of what many small voices joined together can do. I will not be quiet, I refuse to accept the position elected officials have chosen to put me in.  I am one of the 99%, one of Mitt Romney’s 47% and I will be heard.

Dear Gov. Pence,

           The transcript of the conversation I had with the help desk at healthcare.gov, following the body of this letter, took place Friday, Nov. 11, 2013 when I went to healthcare.gov to sign up.

Currently healthcare.gov refers you to the Kaiser Family Foundation Calculator to get an idea of insurance costs while you are waiting for your ID to be validated. There appeared to be a HUGE glitch with the Kaiser Family Foundation Calculator and the information on their website as the calculations revealed I am at 67% of the poverty level and ineligible for both Medicaid and subsidies.

My annual income (I work as an intern 40+ hours per week) is $7680. My insurance premium would be $6454 per year leaving me 1226 dollars to live on for the rest of the year. Does 84.3% of my annual income to pay for my insurance seem more than a little outrageous to you? It certainly does to me.  I’m 53 and working as an SCA intern in Texas, Mr. Pence, so I can have both insurance and a roof over my head as I have not been able to find a job in Indiana which will allow me to do both as well as pay for my student loans.

Since the conversation recorded in the transcript below I’ve learned when Congress passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010, the law included two ways of getting subsidized or no-cost health coverage. The first was expanding Medicaid to anyone who earns up to 133 percent of the poverty level, which is about $15,300 for a single person. The second is tax credits to cut insurance premiums, which are available to people earning between 100% of poverty and 400% (about $11,500-$46,000 for a single person). People eligible for Medicaid would be required to sign up for Medicaid, anyone else could go on the exchanges; mostly because it costs less money to cover someone through Medicaid than to subsidize private health insurance.

This arrangement was thrown out of whack when the Supreme Court ruled on the law last year. In addition to upholding the Affordable Care Act, the Court said states didn’t have to expand Medicaid, which was a pretty big surprise. Indiana and Texas are among the more than 20 states that aren’t doing the expansion.

A perverse result of this ruling is that people who earn less than poverty in those states aren’t eligible for any help paying for their health coverage. To be sure, people are free to pay full price for the insurance, in theory, but as my case, who could afford that? My meager consolation:  individuals who earn up to 133 percent of poverty in states that aren’t expanding Medicaid are exempt from the individual mandate to get health coverage, so we won’t have to pay a fine in addition to being uninsured.

 What has happened to the Affordable Care Act is not the fault of POTUS or the whole of Congress; it’s a result of the way the Court ruled and the decisions made by elected officials in those states. I’m one of the folks with a pre-existing condition Obamacare would have helped, now I will fall between the cracks because of the Medicaid issue.

 Kaiser’s calculator wasn’t wrong  –your choice condemned myself, and millions of others like me, earning LESS than the poverty level to no insurance, no subsidies, and no hope.  Perhaps, this is the worst thing republican elected officials have done to people like me, people who work over forty hours a week and make less than the poverty level -you have stolen our hope.

I would appreciate it greatly if you had the moral courage of your convictions to tell me to my face, in front of the media, that basic health care is an entitlement and that I don’t deserve health care.

 Sincerely,

Laurie-Ann Curry

Transcript from Help Desk at Healthcare.gov Nov. 11, 2013:

“[1:51:12 pm]: Thanks for contacting Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat. Please wait while we connect you to someone who can help.

[1:51:16 pm]: Please be patient while we’re helping other people.

[1:51:26 pm]: Welcome! You’re now connected to Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat.

Thanks for contacting us. My name is Steph. To protect your privacy, please don’t provide any personal information, like Social Security Number, or any other sensitive medical or personal information.

[1:55:19 pm]: Laurie-Ann

Hello Steph, Thought I would check in and ask it anyone else has questioned the Kaiser Family Foundation Calculator? It cannot be right, at least I hope there is something wrong with it! My annual income is 7680.00, the KFC is saying I don’t qualify for tax credits (Indiana)  and my insurance at the silver level will run 6654/year since I am at 67% of the poverty level; girl that is over 80% of my annual income

[1:56:11 pm]: Laurie-Ann

Tell me that they are having issues please, please, please

[1:57:06 pm]: Steph

have you filled out the application through the marketplace?

[2:00:27 pm]: Laurie-Ann

yes, I’m waiting on income verification. Herein lies the issue, alot of folks here at the Park, I work for the NPS, have used the KFFC to see where they would be and they all, to a person have been screaming bloody murder that Obamacare is crazy, girl I am in Texas, can we say repub????? I voted for POTUS because I believe in this but if my results are typical y’all have a problem and need to not send folks to KFFC

[2:01:23 pm]: Laurie-Ann

ID verification is what I am waiting on not income, sorry

[2:02:40 pm]: Steph

its okay, well with the marketplace we can give you options about health insurance

[2:04:45 pm]: Laurie-Ann

I understand that. What I am essentially asking is do the powers that be understand what people are seeing when they go to look prior to signing up are causing much grief and bad press

[2:05:15 pm]: Laurie-Ann

Unless it really is going to take over 80% of what I make to pay for insurance

[2:06:35 pm]: Steph

we are trying to make it where every one can get health insurance

[2:08:30 pm]: Laurie-Ann

Steph, have you actually taken the time to really read what I have sent to you? If you have and what you have posted in return really is what cs is telling people like me I thank you for your time but this plan is in trouble

[2:10:04 pm]: Steph

i personally dont know how the plans are i can only give general information. i cant see what you are seeing

[2:11:31 pm]: Laurie-Ann

This is EXACTLY what the KFFC site says after I input my information “Because your income is equal to 67% of the poverty level, you will not be eligible for tax credits in the exchanges. Tax credits are only available to people who make between 100% and 400% of the poverty level. Keep in mind that these results are estimates and you can still apply for exchange coverage if you are interested in receiving a tax credit. The information below is about unsubsidized exchange coverage:

Household income in 2014:

67% of poverty level

Maximum % of income you have to pay for the premium, if eligible for a subsidy:

None

Health Insurance premium in 2014 (for a silver plan, before tax credit):

$6,454 per year

You could receive a government tax credit subsidy of up to:

$0 per year

(which covers 0% of the overall premium)

Amount you pay for the premium:

$6,454 per year

(which equals 84.03% of your household income and covers 100% of the overall premium) “

[2:13:43 pm]: Steph

i have no control over what the insurance companies charge if i did i would make it affordable for every one who needs insurance

[2:14:30 pm]: Laurie-Ann

Sweetie, I understand you don’t have all the answers but will you please pass along to your supervisor that there may well be serious issues with the Kaiser Family Foundation Calculator site healthcare.gov sends us to. Anyone in their right mind will immed see the information cannot be correct, 7680-6454= leaves me 1226 dollars to live on for the rest of the year, honey there is a PROBLEM

[2:15:41 pm]: Laurie-Ann

Alright, thank you for your time. You are not hearing what I am saying and I do not know how to make it plainer. Have a good day and I hope I have not stressed you out, I appreciate what you do.

[2:16:22 pm]: Steph

yes ma’am i will pass it along and thank you for your time to contact us “

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