I attended the Los Angeles screening of this film last week, and it blew me away. Katrina Gilbert is a single mom raising three kids in Tennessee while holding down a full time job and trying to go back to college so she can get a better job than the one she has.
There's one thing she wants everyone to know up front: She's no moocher. She pays her bills, she works hard, and she raises her kids. She does the best she can, but that paycheck doesn't stretch far enough for her to pay for medical treatment she needs, or even prescriptions. So she works extra hours -- sometimes as much as 16 hours in a row -- in order to have enough money to pay bills and maybe have some left over for food.
There was one point where I heaved a (temporary) sigh of relief, thinking well, thank God for the ACA because now she'll have health insurance. And then I worried that she wouldn't because Tennessee didn't expand Medicaid and she won't qualify for subsidized premiums. She falls into that "Medicaid gap" Republican lawmakers have so carefully crafted to make sure women like Katrina can't get access to affordable health care.
As it turns out, she did qualify on the exchange, according to an interview she did with the LA Times:
The only thing is that I did get insurance through the Obamacare marketplace. I don’t pay for a doctor’s visit or anything like that, it’s just the prescription cost of $1.50. Food stamps I still haven’t got.
HBO is streaming the entire documentary free to all viewers, whether or not you're subscribers, for this week -- March 17-24. So take 90 minutes out of your day and watch it.
You know a Katrina. I know a Katrina. I was a Katrina. After watching this film, you'll want to fight for the Katrinas of this world to earn a living wage and have some peace of mind about health care. I know I do.
Props to The Shriver Report and HBO for doing this documentary and doing it with such honesty.