Since I was just griping about the media not spending any time reporting about the people that Obamacare helps, I should offer some props to Abby Goodnough of the New York Times, who headed down to Kentucky to talk to some of the navigators who are responsible for assisting people who want to sign up for Obamacare. Here’s one story:
Samantha Davis, the clinic employee who helped [David] Elson apply, explained that based on his income of about $22,000 last year, he was not eligible for Medicaid but had qualified for a federal subsidy of $252 a month toward premium costs for a private plan. “It’s a pretty big one,” she said, reassuringly.
Through the exchange, Mr. Elson, 60, who has advanced diabetes and kidney disease, was offered a choice of 24 health plans, with premiums ranging from $92 to $501 a month after the subsidy. But if he felt elation or relief, he was too preoccupied to show it.
Bleeding at the back of his eyes, caused by a complication of diabetes, had blurred his vision. He had run out of insulin the previous week and had not refilled his prescriptions, which cost almost $500 a month, because a recent tax bill had depleted his bank account. He had an appointment with an eye specialist that afternoon, and the possibility of more debt was hanging heavily over him….“I’m hoping once I have insurance that I can sit down and figure out a budget and see if I have to bankrupt,” he said.
Plenty of people are being helped by Obamacare, and that number will grow dramatically as navigators reach more people; the website improves; and people start to make up their minds and sign up for a plan. For some people, it will mean the difference between getting treatment and going without. For others it will mean the difference between solvency and bankruptcy. And for still others it will be the first time they’ve ever had any health coverage at all.
Those are stories worth telling too.