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My Obamacare Story: Part II

I chuckled to myself this weekend while leaving my meeting with one of the health insurance navigators...you know, those helpful specialists who answer questions and sign people up for Obamacare but have been banned in some of the Republican states? I'd had to browse the library waiting for an opening at the table because the two navigators had a constant stream of people requiring their attention. There were two people already in the chairs when I walked in plus more interrupting me while I was being helped. The poor woman answering my questions was handing out business cards in anticipation of the spillover into her office this week.

My chuckle was because all we've been hearing about is the war over who is signing up for health insurance, what it means, and the debate over whether Obamacare is a success or failure. It seemed silly at the moment to have much to say about it when so many people are still trying to figure the damn thing out. My navigator told me it would probably be another 45-60 days before I even got the paperwork to select a doctor. Forget actually getting into a doctor's office and deciding whether my affordable access was worth all this.

My biggest question was about whether I'd gotten bad information from the federal help line back in November. Because when we actually put our information in the website, we got a different result than we hoped/thought. Turns out, I didn't get bad information per se. More like, I have a few options--all of which require jumping through hoops to get coverage. Some of which require more hoops and the possibility of coming out behind where I'd be if I took the path with the fewest hoops. (The federal help line had been correct. My different result when applying was due to another key piece of unrelated demographic data that caused the system to point me one direction instead of another. Sort of like a complicated if-then diagram where you have to go back to the start and answer another way if you want a different end possibility.)

So that seems like a no-brainer. My takeaway from all of this is that what I want is less paperwork and faster access to a doctor. Americans should be able to walk into pretty much any doctor's office and be seen for free or very low cost. Then if we want, we can buy supplemental insurance to cover more or non-essential medical services. You know, like other nations who lead us in healthcare. They've already been through this. We're not exactly inventing something new here.

For now, we're stuck with Obamacare. It's better than before. But still pretty awful. For what it's worth, I think some of what troubles it is an over-reliance on clunky tax data and income requirements to distribute the benefits of "affordable healthcare." Too many people--like me and many people I know--are falling through the cracks because we don't neatly fit into categories.

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