Allow me to make one bold statement from the start: Whether you are one of the 118,000 Missourians who purchased coverage as an individual under the Affordable Care Act, are insured through Medicaid or have group insurance, all of you are covered under “Obamacare.”
April 1 was the deadline to sign up for medical insurance through the Affordable Care Act. More than 7 million people had signed up by the end of the first enrollment period.
Yes, the system was down because of maintenance. Yes, it was again overloaded with those waiting until the last minute to sign up. But overall, the health care act is doing what it is meant to do — get health insurance for as many Americans through the private market or Medicaid as possible.
As a result, another 9 million individuals are newly covered under the expanded Medicaid program. It is unfortunate that Missouri legislators have yet to approve a Medicaid expansion for our own citizens.
The health care act is not as confusing as many have made it out to be. Even those dead set against it for political reasons seem to like many of the provisions.
Listening to "The Diane Rehm Show" on Tuesday, it was evident that at least the liberal listeners — even those who had problems with sign-up — thought having better coverage for a few extra dollars was a good thing.
In fact, 75 percent of Democrats and at least 30 percent of Republicans seem to agree that the health care act is a good thing.
Rehm's guests — Robert Wood Johnson Foundation senior policy adviser Susan Dentzer, Kaiser Health News senior correspondent Mary Agnes Carey and Washington Post White House correspondent Juliet Eilperin — answered a number of questions about the coverage.
I found the most confusing aspects concerned life changes. “What happens when my COBRA runs out?” “I am on my parents’ policy now, but turn 26 in September; do I have to buy insurance now?”
Of course, conservatives do not like anything about President Obama, especially the health care act. I would expect no less. Or more, depending on whether you are glass-half-full or half-empty person.
I am lucky. I did not have to go through the process of signing up for insurance. My current employer is kind enough to provide good coverage even without the health care act requirements.
But more and more employees must take up the burden of premiums the employer used to pay. Many companies stopped offering health insurance well before the implementation of the law.
I did discover that if I went through the health care act at my current level of income, my premiums would be almost identical to what I am paying now. The only advantage is that my current insurance has a lower deductible.
I believe there is more misinformation out there than accurate facts about Obamacare. Misinformation about participating doctors and cost, for example.
There are also problems. We do not know, at least at this point, how many people are now insured who were not insured before.
We don’t know how many young people and families are now insured or how many people have pre-existing conditions or how many are paying more than they did with their original insurance or how may are getting more coverage for the same or lower premiums.
Too many questions still need to be answered.
David Rosman is an editor, writer, professional speaker and college instructor in communications, ethics, business and politics. You can read more of his commentaries at ColumbiaMissourian.com and InkandVoice.com and New York Journal of Books.com.