I’ll admit I’m not one to get into political discussions. There are only a few people with whom I’ll jump down that rabbit hole. Too many are misinformed, angry, emotional, or can’t carry a debate without throwing something. Having said that, I don’t think I can be quiet any longer about Obamacare. You know, the ACA, PPACA, or whatever you want to call it. Yes, it is the same thing, no matter what someone else tells you. Obamacare is the ACA. The ACA is Obamacare. It’s actually called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), but commonly called the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but was nicknamed “Obamacare” for political gain.
You see, I was indifferent when Obamacare came into existence. I was employed at a company I loved with awesome benefits. I mean, really awesome benefits. This included health insurance that covered myself and my family. You never really realize how much you’re shielded from the crazy health insurance marketplace when you have an employer that offers good benefits. I thought it was bad when our deductibles went up to $1,000 or we had a bigger co-pay. This was all due to the ever-increasing insurance going on out there and was happening before Obamacare came down the pipeline.
When the ACA (or Obamacare) came into affect, it did affect pricing. Let’s be honest here. The plan might have had good intentions, but it needed a lot of work. Work that both sides of Congress refused to do with each other. They are like a boy-girl dance party in middle school. No one wants to jump into the middle to start the party. No touching you guys!
[clickToTweet tweet=”I couldn’t get healthcare without Obamacare. I can’t afford healthcare because of Obamacare.” quote=”I couldn’t get healthcare without Obamacare. I can’t afford healthcare because of Obamacare.” theme=”style5″]
Since no one could actually get anything done and come up with a plan that actually helped the act, it was doomed from the beginning. What it did do well was give coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, give coverage for those who couldn’t afford it, and provide cheap/free contraceptives for women. These were good things done by Obamacare. Unfortunately, these were quickly overshadowed by the ever-increasing costs and forcing people who make money to offset those who do not.
My Love-Hate Relationship with Obamacare
When my second son was born last year, my wife and I had a very candid conversation about her ability to stay home to raise him. I had quit my full-time job in November 2015 to pursue my online business. It’s been a dream of mine and I was finally able to fulfill it. When I quit, my wife was able to pull me under her health insurance at her job. Before I left my job, we were getting amazing health insurance for about $150 a month (when I first started, it was only about $40). When I got on her insurance, the coverage wasn’t as good and we paid close to $500 a month. Still do-able, but stings when you’re going from $150.
When we had the conversation, I knew I was going to be able to get coverage for the family under the ACA. You see, before the ACA, I wouldn’t be able to qualify for coverage. I have Type 1 Diabetes and you don’t get coverage when you have this disease or it’s extremely hard to find/super expensive. No, that isn’t the one where you can do a little more exercise or take some pills to make it go away. My pancreas doesn’t work enough to produce insulin, so I have to take it everyday with the help of an insulin pump. My diabetes is never going away (at least not at this point in my life). I’ve had it for 17 years and do pretty well with managing it.
Pre-Obamacare, those with pre-existing conditions didn’t qualify for health insurance. You had to get it through an employer or through your own business (if you could). Post-Obamacare, this was actually possible. You couldn’t get denied. This has been an answer for so many in our country. Millions really.
So, I love Obamacare because I can get coverage for myself and my family while being self-employed. I can pursue my dream of being a business owner and still protect myself with the extremely high costs of prescription drugs. If you don’t know the costs of being a diabetic, it can be between $500 and $5,000 a moth depending on what drugs you take. This is what it could be without insurance. Most people can’t afford that, so health insurance is a need, not a want.
Here is a little Facebook Live video I talked about costs when the Epipen issues was going on.
Now, let’s talk about the hate part. I don’t like to use the word, but it’s there. While Obamacare is giving me coverage, I don’t qualify for any tax subsidies or breaks. I don’t get to have health insurance for the low prices they talk about. I’m a successful entrepreneur who makes six-figures a year. When you do this, you pay full price on the ACA marketplace. That’s where it’s starting to kill me financially. This is why I hate Obamacare!
So, I went from $150 a month for good coverage with a $1,000 deductible, to $500 a month with a $3,000 deductible, to $1,500 a month with a $7,000 deductible and $200 prescription deductible. This all happened in one year from quitting my job to signing up for Obamacare.
I was literally paying $1,800 a year for health insurance at my full-time job to now $18,000 a year while being self-employed. You know what hurts more? I’m not making ten times what I was at my full-time job. I really wish I was, but not close.
I’m Scared What Happens Next
I love being an entrepreneur. I love having control over what I do with my business, my work day, and my goals. That’s the dream. I also love being able to provide for my family. This is what excites me about waking up every day ready to move my business in the direction I want it to go.
The problem is I don’t know what’s going to happen to me if insurance doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. Will my wife be forced to go back to work because we can’t afford insurance or just can’t get it because I have Diabetes? Will I have to shut down my company and go back to a full-time job just because I have a condition that can’t be treated? We all talk about supporting small businesses, but our healthcare system is destroying the businesses. I’m scared I’ll have to give up on my dream of being my own boss just so I can have healthcare. This thought consumes me regularly.
I can’t answer the questions above, but I do know this…
Are my wife and I being punished for being successful? HELL YES!
Do I love the fact that Obamacare gave me the ability to get insurance? YES!
Do I hate the fact that my premiums rose by 10x and my deductibles rose by 7x? HELL YES!
Do I have an answer to our healthcare problem in this country? NO! (and I don’t pretend to know how to answer the very complex problem we face)
What I will say is those who’ve complained about Obamacare have had six years to come up with a better solution. If you haven’g been able to come up with something that can easily take it’s place, reduce the cost burden on those who need it and those who run it, then make sure you don’t repeal it before you have a suitable replacement. We need to get over this political game as we are affecting people’s lives. Both financially and physically. It’s not funny and it’s not a game. This is real…
I’m a proud American who works my butt off every day for my family. I’m a business owner who wants to hire people to expand my operations. I can’t do any of those things without affordable health care. Being a diabetic sucks, but there are millions of others just like me in the same boat. There are others who have it far worse than myself and my heart goes out to them.
Call it what you will, but we need a solution and we need it fast!
Our healthcare can’t be dictated by emotion and politics. It needs to be created by common sense and fiscal responsibility. We can’t bury those who need healthcare the most under the weight of medical debt. We can’t put people out of business because they can’t afford the medicine they need or destroy the financial lives of those who can’t find the doctor to help them.
I consider the United States the best country in the world, but we are letting politics get in the way of protecting our citizens. That’s truly sad.
I know a few things and they include…I couldn’t become a self-employed, contributing member of this country without healthcare. I couldn’t get healthcare without Obamacare. I can’t afford healthcare because of Obamacare.
Welcome to the double-edged sword we call life! No matter which way you slice it, it hurts.