Obamacare Isn’t What You Think

It’s a whole lot more than your increasing premium

When a lot of people think about the ACA (aka Obamacare) they focus on the sections that have affected them. And particularly the policies that have affected them in a negative way. They think, Obamacare = increased premiums for me and my family.

But that is one snippet of the ginormous picture of the ACA.

The passing of the ACA did things like expanding access to Medicare and Medicaid, so that the very old and the very poor, albeit those who are usually the sickest and the most in need of health care services, can have better access to these services.

I worked for 2 years interviewing impoverished people and families in rural upstate New York. I wish the reality was many people’s image of those on welfare. One where impoverished people are taking advantage of social services.

But this imagined reality was seriously far from the truth.

The people I interviewed faced real everyday struggles that ranged from drastic mental delays to trouble stocking a fridge, to drug abuse, partner abuse, and difficulties getting jobs.

I met a 26 year old man who lived at home in a crowded house of seven people. He was 26 years old and could not read. Since he couldn’t read he couldn’t get a job. Our three hour interview turned into seven hours as I carefully read every question aloud to him. During my visit he vented to me about his hopes of getting a job on the janitorial staff of the local high school.

I met a 25 year old woman who was on four different medications for her anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. Because of her medical history she had to work under the table at a bar. She and her mother lived in constant, almost debilitating fear, as her older brother was fighting for our country in Iraq.

I met a woman who over the past 4 years, had experienced deaths of three close family members, and the imprisonment of her spouse. She alone was taking care of her three children all under the age of ten. She expressed to me her fear, a fear of when her food stamps would get replenished so that she could afford to feed her children, let alone herself.

These images do not paint the picture of every person on Medicaid, or those receiving welfare services.

But people living far below the poverty line are the ones who truly need help, even it it’s from the government. These are the people that will lose access to lifesaving medicines and healthcare.

I personally think this is more important than an increasing premium and hit to a middle class wallet.

These are the people that will be affected by a Trump presidency. A Trump that vows to repeal Obamacare.

Repealing Obamacare is, by the way, nearly impossible. So he was lying when he said that. Big surprise.

But he can still starve the system.

I’m devastated knowing this will happen. Especially upon taking a job several months ago that is working with the government and these Medicare and Medicaid expansions to ensure that the people who need the help the most are getting it, and that the system is as fair as it can be.

While many people worry about their premiums, this is the picture in clearest focus for me.

These are the people I worry about.

These are the people the ACA cared about.

I am scared to see the picture of healthcare in 2017.