Skip to main content

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks alongside Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (R) and other Americans the White House says will benefit from the opening of health insurance marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act, in the Rose Garden
Last year, TIME published a massive special report, "Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us," detailing just about everything that is wrong with the nation's health care system. Central to that story were Stephanie and Sean Recchi, an Ohio couple with two kids who had just started up a new business, and who had just been struck by Sean's aggressive and expensive cancer. The author of that story, Steven Brill, has a an update to their story in the current issue of TIME. Sean Recchi's now in remission, but only after the underinsured family (their $469/month policy was worthless at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston) borrowed from family and maxed out their credit cards. Here's Stephanie Ricci last October:
I don't think Obamacare will help us. I don't want anything to do with it," Stephanie Recchi told me a week after the launch of HealthCare.gov on Oct. 1. "I hear a lot of bad things about it—that it doesn't cover pre-existing conditions and it's too expensive," she added, referring to what she said were "television ads and some politicians talking on the news. Just a lot of talk that this is a bad law."
Did I mention she's an Obama hater? Nonetheless, she tried and tried again to navigate HealthCare.gov, to no avail. That made her hate the whole idea of Obamacare even more, but she needed health insurance, and so went to her insurance agent.
"When they came to my office, Stephanie told me right up front, 'I don't want any part of Obamacare,' " recalls health-insurance agent Barry Cohen. "These were clearly people who don't like the President. So I kind of let that slide and just asked them for basic information and told them we would go on the Ohio exchange"—which is actually the Ohio section of the federal Obamacare exchange—"and show them what's available."
The upshot? Because they're still in basically start-up mode in their business, their income for the family of four qualifies them for expanded Medicaid. If a big contract they are anticipating comes through for them this year, they'll be bumped off Medicaid, but will still qualify for a subsidy that will put their monthly premiums at $566.
What Stephanie soon discovered, she told me in mid-November, "was a godsend." [...]

"Here I get full protection for $566, compared to no protection for almost $500," Stephanie says, referring to her old plan that had cost $469 monthly and that MD Anderson had scoffed at. "This is wonderful. [...] No, we don't get MD Anderson, but we do get the Cleveland Clinic and lots of other good care," Stephanie says. "We understand that." Amid the likely attacks from his opponents that he's taking away patients' favorite doctors and hospitals, Obama has to hope that others come to share her attitude.

As Brill points out, if the Recchis had been living in Texas, where Sean got cancer treatment, or in any of the other states that refused Medicaid expansion, they'd still be screwed. They'd be in the Medicaid gap that millions of Americans, many with health issues as critical as Sean Recchi's, have fallen into. That's the kind of situation that the Affordable Care Act was supposed to end for everyone.Thanks to the Supreme Court and an intractable Republican party that has invested more into fighting Obama than into fighting for their constituents, being able to access and afford health care is still a matter of luck.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Jan 17, 2014 at 01:07 PM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

skybluewater, Jeff in CA, Angie in WA State, Sylv, vicki, TXdem, dwellscho, Trix, Bill in Portland Maine, fcvaguy, Mogolori, oofer, Radiowalla, ferg, glitterscale, Gooserock, TrueBlueMajority, RunawayRose, Bob Love, SanJoseLady, shayera, John Campanelli, eeff, Pompatus, elfling, red moon dog, Matilda, MarkInSanFran, jancw, Radical Faith, Doctor Who, regis, Heart of the Rockies, susans, EricS, BlackSheep1, annrose, whenwego, ehavenot, CoolOnion, pedrito, jalbert, Iberian, splashy, sidnora, dksbook, wader, Texknight, ammaloy, annan, TexDem, virginislandsguy, crankypatriot, wdrath, Penny Century, Steven Payne, defluxion10, riverlover, BlogDog, JayBat, Chris Reeves, zerelda, ybruti, Sembtex, mungley, randallt, WisVoter, tomjones, lyvwyr101, Josiah Bartlett, bibble, sebastianguy99, murrayewv, Armand451, Frank Vyan Walton, TexMex, sawgrass727, Gowrie Gal, rapala, maybeeso in michigan, radarlady, Tinfoil Hat, Ckntfld, ichibon, chimene, BCO gal, dewtx, viral, stagemom, EJP in Maine, Gary Norton, eru, most peculiar mama, Steve in Urbana, kaliope, Tunk, Blu Gal in DE, Shotput8, mph2005, mightymouse, Alan Arizona, Jim R, begone, Nance, BachFan, tommymet, emeraldmaiden, profundo, rl en france, seefleur, rhetoricus, raincrow, Gottlieb, global citizen, 4Freedom, Ooooh, JVolvo, ER Doc, doinaheckuvanutjob, AllDemsOnBoard, BlueSue, nother lurker, doingbusinessas, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, BB10, kurt, Sapere aude, bear83, john07801, Cronesense, Habitat Vic, Loudoun County Dem, tgypsy, camlbacker, offgrid, puakev, Mary Mike, HeartlandLiberal, flumptytail, dclawyer06, shesaid, eOz, jedennis, jnhobbs, carpunder, hopi13, RudiB, Wreck Smurfy, christianlsv, leonard145b, sable, vet, TomP, Outside the Echo Chamber, gizmo59, Mighty Ike, thankgodforairamerica, JayC, misterwade, gfv6800, HappyinNM, GAS, amyzex, poligirl, OleHippieChick, Sixty Something, Involuntary Exile, NewDealer, elwior, skohayes, jamess, Calamity Jean, Lujane, tofumagoo, boatjones, smartdemmg, triplepoint, Jeff Y, petulans, Ismay, WearyIdealist, Diogenes2008, vmdairy, 207wickedgood, clent, MrsTarquinBiscuitbarrel, maggiejean, Bule Betawi, bleuet, rsmpdx, aufklaerer, emboyo, juca, CanyonWren, janmtairy, I give in to sin, followyourbliss, manucpa, elziax, MKSinSA, TheOpinionGuy, oxfdblue, mksutherland, bfitzinAR, Denise Oliver Velez, Ibis Exilis, stevenwag, sfarkash, SheLawyer, Tortmaster, Livvy5, Railfan, Just Bob, chambord, smileycreek, FogCityJohn, flitedocnm, starship, estreya, breathe67, brunoboy, gramofsam1, catwho, piers, sillyalicia, Crabby Abbey, LOrion, mookins, Polly Syllabic, VickiL, Lost and Found, ATFILLINOIS, womankind, batchick, pixxer, DiegoUK, NYWheeler, ericlewis0, cocinero, petesmom, Oh Mary Oh, nosleep4u, ZedMont, soaglow, stevenaxelrod, slice, TheHalfrican, theKgirls, Onomastic, Byblis, kerflooey, agrenadier, I love OCD, Catherine R, bgblcklab1, slowbutsure, hooktool, TerryDarc, Possiamo, mikejay611, lillyspad, deeproots, cama2008, PorridgeGun, zukesgirl64, IllanoyGal, thomask, BarackStarObama, Coastrange, blw, LSmith, Grandma Susie, MRA NY, IB JOHN, createpeace, worldlotus, Square Knot, peregrine kate, Safina, sound of progress, stevie avebury, Joe Jackson, Vatexia, Hayate Yagami, SoCalSal, CoyoteMarti, Auriandra, Mortifyd, No one gets out alive, AnnetteK, Sister Inspired Revolver of Freedom, hulibow, tweeternik, anodnhajo, isabelle hayes, TheLizardKing, We Won, Mostel26, orangecurtainlib, barkingcat, a2nite, rukidingme, 2thanks, FloridaSNMOM, This old man, deweyrose, kellius, jan4insight, hotheadCA, belinda ridgewood, closerange, MartyM, doroma, cuphalffull, jes2, avsp, rat racer, stvnjon, wasatch, ShoshannaD, Most Awesome Nana, MarkW53, Dancun74, Linda1961, remembrance, Thornrose, Witgren, merrywidow, SixSixSix, aresea, alice kleeman, MemaW, Alhambra, ORswede, JerryNA, howabout, USA Driver, BadKitties, ET3117, Patango, Juzzain, Ishmaelbychoice, ChristineM, ekgrulez1, tubaguy, oslyn7, Kombema, TheDuckManCometh, kriski, palmer18, DarthMeow504, RUNDOWN, Ticorules, Dodgerdog1, Elizaveta, Capt Crunch, ConservativeBrainTrust, VPofKarma, Skyye, xrayangiodoc

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site