My Obamacare Story

my child in the E.R.

My Obamacare story starts with the end of my marriage. In August 2015, my 21-year marriage ended and my then-husband lost both his jobs and his health insurance, which meant that the kids and I lost our health insurance, as well. I was a stay-at-home mom who’d worked freelance jobs from home for most of my years as a parent, so I didn’t have a job outside the home at that time.

Without warning, we had nothing.

My ex’s company was generous with giving us a little time to work out our medical coverage situation, which was good, because it took a while to get the bureaucracy going. I applied for the Affordable Care Act immediately, but was rejected — because we qualified for the Medicaid expansion that Michigan made as part of the Obamacare deal.

So we went on Medicaid.

It was a godsend. To have everything ripped away and everything in my life upended, but to know that if something were to happen, the kids and I had medical coverage, was a bone-deep relief. This system that I’d paid into, that you’d paid into, was the lifeline we needed in our desperate moment.

The system worked.

Within a year, and the finding of three part-time jobs, I was earning (just barely) too much for me to qualify for Medicaid, so I went to the Marketplace. But the kids are still covered. It is still a relief. The coverage is pretty basic, but when our doctor told me to take my daughter to the E.R. for her third bout of vomiting and diarrhea in three weeks, I could go with only the worry of her condition, not how I was going to pay for it.

There are so many more dramatic Obamacare stories, and don’t get me started on the demonizing of the poor who use Medicaid (when our love of cheap goods requires that some people make barely any money and need government assistance to get basic services, which we should really call a corporate entitlement system, because they’re the ones who are feeling entitled to not pay a living wage or supply benefits, not to mention the economy’s switch away from full-time benefits-paying work to contract non-benefits-paying work). But this is my story of a government program that helped me when I’d suddenly lost everything.

Thanks, Obama.

And thanks, Governor Snyder, for making sure Michigan did the Medicaid expansion when many of your fellow Republicans were dead-set against it.

If the current administration’s changes to the health care law go through, I don’t know that someone in my situation would get help, that the system their taxes helped pay for would be there in their temporary hour of need. I don’t even want to imagine what the stress of that would have done to me and my kids.

7 thoughts on “My Obamacare Story

  1. Thanks Natalie… As canadians, with universal health care (not perfect), at least I don’t have to worry about if I can afford to go to the doctor or hospital… I am afraid for the people in the USA who will loose coverage or have to pay through the nose for healthcare, when it is switched to Trumpcare…

    1. I’m afraid for us, too. I like to imagine the changes in the States if the question of health care coverage was well and truly answered, and millions of people were not constantly afraid of getting sick.

      1. There are many people for whom Obamacare increased their health care costs. And many of the insurances on the exchange have such high deductibles that people are paying their premiums but don’t actually get to use the insurance because of the high deductibles. I know one woman who said after they pay their premiums, they can’t afford to pay the doctor. She said it will only be good if they need surgery or to be hospitalized.
        Mallory’s family got hit hard; her hospital copay after the first two kids was $500. With the twins, it was over $3000 and it was the same insurance; but the deductible changed and they got a co insurance added on as well.
        And I have a co insurance now as well; which I never had before.

        1. Yes, it’s really complicated. I had a really hard time picking something from the Marketplace, and chose a plan that I discovered means I’ll have to switch pharmacies — from my wonderful pharmacy where I know the techs and where they help me find coupons during in-between coverage times, and where my pharmacist once called me at home because he noticed I was taking a new medication and wanted to answer any questions. There are no easy answers.

        2. Barbara, 20 million more insured under ACA. TrumpCare drops 15 million. Do you favor more profit for insurance companies or health care for needy citizens?

    1. Thanks for the link! I submitted it 🙂 I also sent it to my Republican Representative and to a White House email address.

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