October 3, 2013

The people in the beginning of this video don't say whether they're Republican or Democrat. They're just excited to finally get health insurance they can afford. This is, of course, conservatives' worst nightmare and so they're still working (to the extent any of them actually work) to spin public opinion away from liking it.

ThinkProgress has a story about a Republican couple who likes it, too:

Butch Matthews is a 61-year-old former small business owner from Little Rock, Arkansas who used to wake up every morning at 4 A.M. to deliver canned beverages to retailers before retiring in 2010. A lifelong Republican, he was heavily skeptical of the Affordable Care Act when it first passed. “I did not think that Obamacare was going to be a good plan, I did not think that it was going to help me at all,” he told ThinkProgress over the phone.

But after doing a little research, Matthews eventually realized how much the law could help him. And on Tuesday, his local Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) provider confirmed that he would be able to buy a far better plan than his current policy while saving at least $13,000 per year through Arkansas’ Obamacare marketplace.

Other than his preconceived notions about how bad it would be, Matthews' situation is exactly the same as mine, right down to the premiums he was paying for high-deductible insurance that covers few prescriptions and little else:

Matthews was self-employed between 1997 and 2010, meaning he had to purchase his own plan on the individual market. He chose a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan for himself and his wife that charged a $250 per month premium and had a $2,000 deductible. But the price of that policy kept rising even as it covered fewer of his costs, eventually devolving into his current rate of $1,069 per month with a $10,000 deductible. At this point, it doesn’t even cover his medication or doctors’ visits — particularly concerning considering he had to have two stents placed in his heart in 2006.

“I do not work now, I’m 61, and we do have assets saved up. But still, to come up with that $1,069 per month….” he said, trailing off. “I went to Blue Cross Blue Shield, and they don’t even sell that plan anymore, but I could not change it to anything else. So I was locked in with it.”

Yeah, the $1190 per month here for the COBRA premiums are a real stretch for us, too. My spouse is 60 and I'm 55, plus we're paying for our kids through the end of the year. Coming up with that payment involves borrowing from college savings to pay for medical benefits. January 1st can't come soon enough for Matthews or me.

Here's my story. I went to CoveredCa.gov yesterday and slogged through the very, very slow site. Part of the reason it's so slow is because the connection must be locked down for security purposes. When there are so many trying to access it, the entire network just grinds. But my patience was rewarded with a final screen informing me that on January 1, 2014 our costs would be $82 per month with a $3 copay for doctors visits and prescription drugs. Name brand drugs would be $5.

That's affordable. Do I wish we had more income or a job that provided health insurance benefits? Sure I do. But without that prospect immediately visible, this is a HUGE relief.

What people are coming to understand is that Obamacare is a bipartisan benefit to us all. As the lady in the Sharpton video said, it is good government. Indeed it is. That should tell you something about those in government who want to kill it.

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