Election Year Lies About Healthcare

Don't let people tell you you have to die!

Election Year Lies About Healthcare
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It's an election year and you will be probably hear it said, "If we elect/re-elect Xyz millions of Americans will lose their health insurance and die!!" This is being said because some politicians, notably Donald Trump want to do away with the "Affordable Care Act" (A.C.A). Why do they want to get rid of the A.C.A? The "Affordable Care Act", is a 2010 federal law signed into law by former President Barack Obama. This law requires insurance companies to cover every and all medical conditions and they cannot deny you based on pre-existing conditions. This law, as a result, is causing health insurance premiums to skyrocket. Even with the subsidies that A.C.A offers you based on income, this insurance is still too high for most. Do you want to pay $117 a month for $8,000 deductible? I didn't. That was the cheapest insurance I could get through A.C.A and it didn't pay a dime for my E.R visit back in 2016.

A.C.A also requires individuals to purchase coverage for health care they don't need. A woman with a complete hysterectomy, no ovaries or uterus, is not going to need pregnancy coverage. A.C.A makes that individual pay for that pregnancy coverage regardless just so all the other women in the United States can have it. Also most catastrophic health insurance plans will not meet the Obamacare guidelines. The catastrophic health insurance plan that I currently have outside of the marketplace has a $12,500 deductible and does not cover my pap exams or flu shots. I chose to have this insurance policy because it is the cheapest insurance that I can find and I know I need something. I can't afford $300 a month for health insurance. My insurance does not comply with Obamacare because it doesn't cover my preventative health care. If a person fails to get the required health insurance coverage, even if they have a catastrophic plan like I have, they still would have had to pay the penalty on their taxes.

Small businesses have also been hurt by the A.C.A. Businesses with more then 50 full-time employees are required to carry insurance under A.C.A. The average premium for health insurance is around $500 monthly. Some employers cannot afford this increase in premiums so they have cut their employees hours to part-time in order to keep from having to carry insurance. Then the employees are forced to go to the marketplace on their own for insurance and less income to help pay for it. December 22nd, 2017 Donald Trump signed the "Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017" and did away with the individual mandate tax penalty. Now there is a push to get rid of A.C.A entirely and replace it with “Trumpcare”. What is Trumpcare? This plan, enables individuals to purchase short-term catastrophic health plans like I have. Short-term, high deductible, catastrophic health plans are cheaper for middle income families. No one is taking your health care away! You are just not going to be required to take as much insurance and you won't be fined for it if you can't.

I, personally, have never in my adult life had good health insurance. I have either had no insurance at all or I have had insurance with such a high deductible that it didn't pay for anything. There are ways to navigate our health care system with or without insurance.

A) Medicaid is still available. Donald Trump did not doing away with Medicaid. He simply tried to make people who are not disabled work for it. This is a practice that has been done for years with DHS. When you apply for benefits through DHS, and you are not classified as disabled, they ask you to either work, get a job or volunteer somewhere. I personally have relatives who are on food stamps and they volunteer at a local soup kitchen. It helps you build work references and job skills.

B) There are doctor's offices and clinics that offer income based care. You bring in your check stubs, tax forms, medicaid denial letter and bank statements into the doctor's office and fill out paperwork. Then they offer you a sliding scale for your doctor's visits based on your income. If the doctor's fee is still more then you can handle then you can set up a payment plan. One such clinic is located in Johnston City, Illinois. I get most of my medical care from "Johnston City Community Rural Health".

C) When your doctor goes to prescribe you medicine request that he put you on the cheapest medicines possible. Walmart has a $4 list with $25 rescue inhalers and $25 vials of human insulin. Kroger also has a cheap list of medicines. They have a program called the "Kroger Good Rx club" that is partnered with "Good Rx". They have a cheap medicine on this list as well.

D) Some doctors carry free samples of medications they can give you. 10-years-ago my psychiatrist gave me free psych medication that if I had bought at the pharmacy would have costed me $400 a month. It doesn't hurt to ask.

E) Use the rebates off of your groceries to help you buy your medicine. Look into Ibotta, Shopkicks and Fetch Rewards.

F) Seek treatment at not-for profit hospitals only. Then go to the hospital billing office or the social worker and request a health care assistant application. A lot of people go into bankruptcy from medical bills because they don't know that there is help available or they wait too late to apply. Apply immediately before or after your care and do not wait around. You can get discounted care based on your income. Then, when you get your hospital bill, set up a payment plan with the collection agency that the hospital works with. Hospital collection agencies are nothing like the jerks you deal with when you default on a credit card. If you set up a payment plan with them that you can afford and pay them they can't take you to court. Most of the time, these medical collection agencies won't even report it on your credit if you set up a payment plan with them. Some hospitals have partnerships with local banks and can offer you medical financing. Just about every not-for-profit hospital has some type of financial assistance. It is one of the ways that they maintain that not-for-profit status. One hospital that I have been personally been treated at is "SIH Herrin Hospital" in Herrin, Illinois. They are a not-for-profit hospital. Do not panic and run from your hospital bills. Face them head on.

G) No matter what you are being told no one is doing away with the "Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act" (EMTALA). Donald Trump is not doing away with EMTALA. EMTALA is a rule that was signed into law in 1986 by Ronald Reagan and makes it clear to hospitals what they cannot do. Any hospital that participates in Medicare and Medicaid CANNOT deny you care if you are in a life threatening medical condition! Suicidal patients and women who are in labor are also protected by this law. It does not matter if you have the ability to pay or not. They cannot refuse you care if you could die. They have to stabilize you within the capacity of their hospital or they can get fined.

Sources:

"Trumpcare.com"

The Affordable Care Act at www.healthcare.gov

PNHP.org article dating back to March 26th, 2015

The Los Angeles Times Column: "How many people will die from the Republicans Obamacare repeal bills? Tens of thousands per year." By Michael Hiltzik. June 26th, 2017.

"Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA)" www.CMS.gov

ABC News "3 things to know about Trump's budget plan for Medicare, Medicaid" by Anne Flaherty and Jordyn Phelps. February 11, 2020, www.abcnews.go.com

"Johnston City Community Rural Health", in Johnston City, Illinois, 1-618-983-6911

"SIH Herrin Hospital", Herrin, Illinois, (618) 942-2171

Wal-Mart Rx $4 list. See www.Wal-mart.com

"Kroger Good Rx club" www.krogersc.com

Cigna "Tax Reform Bill includes Repeal of Individual Mandate beginning in 2019" www.cigna.com

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Stephanie Kitchens
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