A while ago, Mary LeMay wrote to ask if anyone could answer her question about how she could afford health insurance on a $13,000 a year salary. I am someone who can speak to that problem since I make a similar income and have been paying for my own health insurance since I was widowed 11 years ago with three children under the age of 10.
Although other assistance programs were readily available, health insurance was the one area where I was on my own. Believe it or not, my part-time salary of $11,000 a year made us ineligible for Medicaid.
Going without health insurance was not an option. An accident or catastrophic illness could make my children orphans and I would not forgive myself if any of my kids developed a chronic illness that I could not afford to treat. Health insurance is a small price to pay for that piece of mind. It is no-frills insurance with a very high deductible that pays major medical bills but not office visits, prescriptions, or dental care.
Finally, some relief is in sight with the Affordable Health Care Act. It has already helped me by covering preventive health screenings like mammograms that in the past I had to pay myself. If it continues to be funded I may be eligible for a subsidy to help pay premiums.
It angers me when politicians argue against the act because it is going to "hurt" the working poor. What hurts workers like me is insurance companies that deny us low-cost insurance and legitimate claims. What hurts is going without care and developing serious conditions or having to rely on a spaghetti dinner fundraiser to pay for a needed operation.
At this point in my life with one child in college, the other about to graduate from high school, and the youngest in junior high school, I work two part-time jobs by choice. With a professional degree I have had opportunities to work full-time with health benefits, but decided against it so that I have time and energy to be involved with my kids, the PTO and children's ministries at my church. How sad if I sacrificed all of that simply for health insurance.
I am disgusted with the letters I have read in this paper criticizing "Obamacare" written by people who have full health benefits courtesy of their employer or the taxpayers, of which I am one. They appear only to be worried that they will lose a piece of the pie, rather than making sure there is enough to go around.
So, Ms. LeMay, budget well and stay good and healthy. If the Affordable Health Care Act is not funded and you don't get insurance, I hope you have enough friends to come to your spaghetti dinner."