Betrayed by the President and ObamaCare
By Emilie Lamb
February 3, 2014 | 5:08am
ObamaCare was supposed to help me.
That’s all I could think as I sat in the House of Representatives last Tuesday night as the guest of my congresswoman, only a few hundred feet away from President Obama as he gave his State of the Union address. Four years ago, I’d have been there cheering for ObamaCare’s passage. But the real ObamaCare has made my life a nightmare.
I suffer from a difficult chronic illness called lupus, an autoimmune disease with devastating symptoms that strike when you least expect them. At age 40, my life is filled with visits to doctors, specialists and the emergency room. While paying for this care is expensive, I have no other choice.
Prior to ObamaCare, I bought my health insurance through CoverTN, a program run by the state of Tennessee. The coverage was perfectly suited to my unique medical condition. It offered me low premiums, a low deductible and low co-pays for my regular trips to doctors and specialists. This plan was perfect for someone with my unique medical condition and limited financial means.
My plan was canceled last fall. According to the regulators behind ObamaCare, it was a subpar plan that should no longer be sold to consumers. Another 16,000 Tennesseans on the same plan were similarly dumped. Many, like me, liked their plans and wanted to keep them.
This wasn’t my insurer’s fault at all. CoverTN actually fought for me to keep my health care. After I received my cancellation notice, the folks at CoverTN requested that the federal government give them a waiver, which would let them grandfather my plan into ObamaCare. Their request was rejected.
This left me with no health plan and only one choice: Buy a plan through the ObamaCare exchanges.
After weighing my options, I settled on a “platinum” plan. This was the best plan that I could choose. A “bronze,” “silver” or “gold” plan all would leave me paying exorbitant amounts of money on my frequent, and expensive, trips to doctors and specialists.
But the platinum plan was the lesser of two expensive evils. My new plan costs me $373 a month, even after a small subsidy.
By comparison, my old plan only cost me $57 a month. And I now pay 25 percent co-insurance on all doctor visits until I reach my out-of-pocket maximum of $1,500. This is much higher than under CoverTN.
All told, I’m likely going to pay more than $6,000 more each year for my medical care.
I’ve had to take a second job in order to pay for my ObamaCare plan. Given my health problems, the physical and emotional drain that this puts on me is difficult to bear. It’s also made it much more difficult for me to care for my ailing mother, who depends on me for help.
For me, the impact of ObamaCare is a health plan that is both unaffordable and uncaring. For a law named “The Affordable Care Act,” this is both backward and perverse.
It’s also not what you promised me when I voted for you, Mr. President. When you were on the campaign trail, you promised that ObamaCare would help me with my medical problems. You promised that people like me with pre-existing conditions would be better off. And you promised that if I liked my health-care plan, I could keep it.
Mr. President, you’ve now broken all of these promises — and not just to me.