The Affordable Care Act in the Real World

In response to my earlier post on the debate over calling the Affordable Care Act “Obamacare,” a couple commenters had rather compelling accounts of how the ACA has made things easier for their families, so I wanted to share a couple.

kevo:

My children now have health coverage through mine, and our family’s health will now sustain itself through my children’s 26th birthdays. A mouth full of cavities was treated, and vision has been a godsend, and my daughters have the ability to go to the doctor at $20 a pop, instead of the $150 a pop uninsured rate, and they don’t have to go willy-nilly to a clinic setting!

A dear friend of mine skirted death with a ruptured colon, had surgery to the tune of over $80,000 because they were uninsured. and worried about preexisting conditions when it came to reversing the colostomy, qualified for insurance so he doesn’t have to carry around a bag for the rest of his life.

Fess:

Before Obamacare, my 21 year old son had a major thoracic surgery (they opened his chest) really before the specialists were absolutely sure it was necessary. Why? Because he was going to age out of our insurance and the insurance was necessary to pay for this very expensive procedure and hospitalization. It turned out to be a Schwannoma and would have had to be removed eventually, but no one knew that at the time of the decision (Schwannoma: a benign nerve sheath tumor). The impending lack of coverage pushed a major medical decision. Generally speaking, that’s a bad idea. I rejoice for all the other young adults who are now eligible for sensible medical care.

Whether or not the ACA was and is a good idea, this is where the argument about it should be taking place, at the level of individual lives and how the legislation has changed them—not in the realm of abstract, largely nonsensical buzzwords like “socialism.”

Jesse Singal

Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.