I get the question every day: “Hey Doc, I hope I still can come see you after Obamacare.”
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Why wouldn’t you still see me?
My state chose not to set up its own healthcare exchanges. Michiganders have to rely on the federal exchange and there has been no public education about the Affordable Care Act. The biggest misunderstanding I run into is that people think they are signing up for something called “Obamacare”. If fact, the healthcare exchanges are simply a tool used to purchase insurance, often at a lower rate than is available shopping on your own.
If you purchase your insurance through healthcare.gov, your card won’t be stamped “Obamacare”. I don’t know where you bought your insurance and I don’t care, as long as it’s a plan I participate in. The ACA also makes it easier to get Medicaid, which is government healthcare, but this doesn’t apply to most people I’ve spoken to.
Obamacare is most relevant for people who have to by health insurance on their own rather than through work, and what healthcare.gov allows you to do is make that purchase with the help of government subsidies and tax breaks. When your insurance company cancelled your plan for the coming year and offered you a higher priced one, you should have said, “no, thanks” and gone to the exchange, which is now working tolerably well.
One patient of mine in particular has a large family and was paying 1400/month for insurance. ACA allowed him to find a nearly comparable plan for about 300/mo. In addition to saving him a ton of money, it allowed him to avoid applying to Medicaid, which he felt offered fewer care choices and came with a stigma.
Not everyone will win with Obamacare, but those who can benefit need to stop getting all their news at Fox. Obamacare is insurance reform that will benefit most people who have had limited access to health care.
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