With Republicans waging all-out war against the new health care law popularly known as Obamacare, voting to repeal the law in the U.S. House of Representatives no less than 47 times and once and future presidential candidate Rick Santorum actually comparing the health care law to South African apartheid, stories of exactly what the GOP is battling tooth and nail to stop are finally coming out:
People getting health insurance who either couldn’t get it before, or who were paying way too much.
“After being gouged all these years, trying to make ends meet, to all of the sudden get this?” said 57-year-old leukemia-sufferer Ray Acosta of Sierra Vista, Ariz. “I’m really blown away.”
Profiled in a recent New York Times story, Acosta until recently paid $800 every month in premiums and hefty prices for the prescription drugs he needs for his disease. The owner of a small moving company who like millions of Americans barely scrapes by financially, Acosta was thinking of dropping his health insurance plan — but it dropped him first.
But the scenario that’s so often described as an Obamacare nightmare in the media turned out to be a blessing. Under the new law, Acosta now qualified for Medicaid, the state-run, federally backed health care plan for low-income residents.
The new law, whose actual name is the Affordable Care and And Patient Protection Act, gives states the option of expanding it to cover many more people.
“I’m kind of in a disbelieving fog,” Mr. Acosta told the Times. “I’m just hoping, keeping my fingers crossed, that this might really help me out.
Then there’s the case of “Dan” a gay man who needs constant medication for his HIV infection, whose story went public on a Sirius XM Radio show hosted by activist Michelangelo Signorile.
Under his previous insurance plan he paid $1,485 per month with a deductible of $1,000. Now he has the same deductible but pays over $500 per month less — and his coverage now includes dental and vision care. Plus, under the new law’s ban on turning away people with pre-existing health conditions, Dan’s HIV was no impediment to getting new insurance.
"It's a health-savings plan. So it's all tax-exempt,” Dan told Signorile. “It's a wonderful plan. I'm going to push myself as a huge Obamacare success story. I'm bragging it to everyone."
Then there’s Bruce Kleinschmidt, a lawyer with chronic medical conditions who had grow accustomed to paying high prices for insurance, but got a plan from the new insurance exchange for about $550 per month, $300 less than his most recent premium.
“I have been declined before,” he said, calling Obamacare “a godsend.”
According to the Times, more than 243,000 people have now enrolled in private health care coverage on the new insurance exchanges while over 567,000 now qualify for Medicaid who would not have before.