Share
 

I know. I know. I’m not supposed to call it “ObamaCare”. It’s “The Affordable Care Act”, passed in 2010 and upheld by the Supreme Court one year ago this month. But to me, “ObamaCare” isn’t a pejorative. I have no problem linking President Obama to the first major health care reform bill in 50 years. And I hope 50 years from now, we see Right-Wing morons standing in front of the Capitol holding up signs saying, “Hands off my ObamaCare!”. And while there’s still six more months until it’s fully implemented, millions of Americans are already seeing the benefits… of which my mother is now one. As mentioned yesterday, my own mother is in the hospital, currently the ICU but being prepared to move to a “regular” room sometime today after 11 days of Intensive Care. Mom is 76, on a fixed income and on Medicare, so she’s among the first to enjoy the benefits of the new law: most notably she won’t go bankrupt trying to pay off an astronomical hospital bill thanks to a CAP on how much this nightmare will cost her. And whataya know? No “Death Panel” showed up to deny her treatment or refuse to pay for a needed procedure (the GOP saves that for women seeking an abortion). No government bureaucrat showed up to say she had to leave the ICU after only a week because it was costing too much. Every other insane nightmare scenario peddled by Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck… sorry you lunatic bastards, but you’re full of $#it and you know it. And right now, I’m pretty damned happy about “ObamaCare”.

About nine weeks ago (the same week as the Boston bombings), my mother was told that she needed chemotherapy to treat a lump in her cheek. (I was opposed to it, but that’s another story.) “Three treatments over six weeks” (one immediate, then two more every three weeks.) After each round, she responded poorly, first losing all her hair almost immediately, then mild pneumonia and a lung infection after the second round (at which point they should have stopped the damn chemo wiping out her immune system, not just put her on antibiotics), and finally, severe diarrhea and a fever of 102′. I rushed her to the Emergency Room where they stabilized her and placed her in the ICU, where she has been ever since.

Having spent more than my share of time in hospital emergency rooms, I can tell you that those visits don’t come cheap. They are (WITHOUT QUESTION) the most expensive form of health care there is… which is of course why Republicans think it’s a perfectly acceptable means of providing health care to the poor (see how that works?) Depending on the severity of your injuries, an ER visit can easily account for half your entire hospital bill (running into the thousands). Add to that a two-week stay in the ICU and we’re talking about some serious money.

The “care” Mom received before this mess… her chemo and doctors visits… were already costing her hundreds of dollars. Naturally, we became concerned about the cost of all this health care quite quickly, so a friend of my mother’s looked it up in her 2013 Medicare Benefits book (which every recipient receives in the mail each year.) This one includes a section on the “Benefits of the New Health Care Reform Legislation”. According to the new law (pdf), depending upon income, no individual will have to pay more than $5,950/year out of pocket ($11,900 for families) for their treatment… and that’s a COMBINED sum for ALL medical expenses in an entire year. That’s it. Period. End of story. That means Mom’s chemo, doctor co-pays, the trip to the 24hour Emergency Clinic two nights before that ended with me driving her back to her apartment at 2am only to have to rush her to the ER 36 hours later, are all included in that cap. And since she is nowhere near the highest income earners, her cap is likely to be closer to just $3,000. Before “ObamaCare”, her ER visit alone would have come close to that.

Now there are still a number of problems I have with “The Affordable Care Act”. It still leaves too much power in the hands of the insurance companies, doing little to control the cost of “premiums” that the insurance companies can charge you, or stop profiteering by hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and the people selling those “Rascal Scooters” that you see fat people riding around in at Wal*Mart everyday, that makes health care far more expensive than it needs to be. There are also a number of “loopholes” for employers to exploit to deny employees coverage (like cutting worker hours). And while wildly cheaper than before, even $3,000 is still a hefty “out-of-pocket” expense for someone living on a fixed income, but right now if you ask me, “Do you like ObamaCare?” You’re DAMN Right I Like ObamaCare. And I’m willing to bet that as more & more people begin to experience the benefits for themselves the way I have this past month, the rest of the public will come to appreciate it as well.
 


Writers Wanted
 
Got something to say? Mugsy’s Rap Sheet is always looking for article submissions to focus on the stories we may miss each week. To volunteer your own Op/Ed for inclusion here, send us an email with an example of your writing skills & choice of topic, and maybe we’ll put you online!

RSS Please REGISTER to be notified by e-mail every time this Blog is updated! Firefox/IE users can use RSS for a browser link that lists the latest posts! RSS


 

Share