Three weeks ago, I wrote here about a Commonwealth Fund poll which showed that 73 percent of Americans who had bought health insurance under the Affordable Care Act law said they were "somewhat or very satisfied" with their new coverage. It noted, as well, that the number leaped to 87 percent of people who had enrolled under Medicaid.
In that article, I mentioned that I'd recently had to go to the doctor for a procedure, and when the bill arrived, the total amount was for $745. The amount that I owed was $89. (Sorry, that's officially supposed to be referred to as "a whopping $89.")
Well, the second bill for the follow-up part of the procedure just came in the mail. The amount charged was $1,288. The amount I owed was different. That was $112. I'm not sure if that qualifies as "whopping" under the Articles of Confederation, but it's plenty low enough to bring a smile to a medical bill -- a phrase I suspect isn't used too often.
What one person pays monthly for their health insurance coverage will of course vary from person to person. As far as reports go, for most people that monthly cost is not only lower but significantly lower under the ACA. But I am certain that there are people who had to pay more for their new coverage.
However, what gets overlooked in all the angst from those fighting against Obamacare -- at least those still fighting it after those 73 percent expressed themselves "somewhat or very satisfied" -- is that the cost consideration doesn't stop at the monthly bill, whether you pay less, a lot less or more. Because when you actually need health care, that's when the savings truly kick in.
These bills I had are paltry -- $1,822 in the last month alone. (To be fair, I'd have had savings under my old insurance. Though not as much. And of course people who didn't have "old insurance" wouldn't have had previous savings.) But it speaks volumes when who have a program where savings of $1,822 in a month can be considered "paltry." Because these are normal, basic medical issues that do crop up from time-to-time, unexpectedly. Nothing catastrophic. We all none of us "expect" to have catastrophic cases -- though we know that that's the reason to have insurance, for those times that could wipe a family out.
But normal, basic medical issues? We do expect that. And they do come along throughout our lives. And "paltry" as $1,822 savings are in comparison, they are significant, most especially when they add up over time.
As I've often said, the biggest mistake Republicans made in all this debate is calling the ACA "Obamcare." Because in the end, it becomes clear that he does. And they don't.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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