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The low numbers of those applying for the ACA can be easily explained.

We are broke
Expecting families to be able to pull payments up front for insurance together in the few moments it takes to apply is just not going to happen.

Yes, providing actual coverage for reasonable rates is a good thing. But ignoring the fact our working population has endured austerity since Reagan and expecting them to plop down several hundred dollars in the holiday season is fanciful. These are the same families that have to put off buying things like shoes and repairing transportation for months as to save up enough to make those purchases.

Enrolling in a new health plan on the ACA/Obamacare exchange requires payment of the premium at the time of enrollment. Many working class families live paycheck to paycheck or they are in the hole financially. They make too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to make an additional insurance payment right now that can be put off until the last moment. To be even clearer: working class people like me do not have hundreds of extra dollars in the bank to make that new premium payment in advance of when it will take effect. For many, like me, we are already paying a huge medical insurance premium (mine is $875 every month for individual COBRA/Aetna policy), and we’re in the hole trying to make that happen.

Hence, I will look at what’s available to me on the exchange – Connect for Health Colorado – but I will wait to actually enroll until I have the money to pay the premium. Will that be tomorrow or December 1 or right before Christmas on December 15th (the last day to pay for the January 1st coverage)? I do not know. I just got the Medicaid denial this week after waiting 36 days. That wait prevent me from going forward to shop for coverage. So, that’s a working class reality.

And while I am at it on this working class health economics lesson: Who was the brain-child who decided the first payments would be due right in the middle of the holiday season? Should parents short their holiday spending this year and just tell the kids, “Sorry, I have to pay two insurance premiums this month”? Should they be forced to pawn things or borrow from family to stay afloat? Come on. Please—those of you in charge in this country—please at least actually ask someone in the working class to comment on your efforts before assuming whatever you work up will actually be “affordable.”

I will keep pointing out this capitalist disconnect because, like it or not, the greater part of our population now lives this reality. You can put commercials of free spending families on the media all you want. But that does not change the fact real families are living hand to mouth.
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