As a small business owner, I owe a lot to Obamacare. My wife and I both have pre-existing conditions, so going off on our own before the ACA was practically unthinkable.
We’ve never qualified for a subsidy, and since Governor Scott refused to expand Medicaid, we’ve seen our premiums skyrocket along with our deductibles even though we are those 30-somethings the insurance companies are supposed to be drooling over.
So if anyone can speak from first-hand experience about how Obamacare is a huge step forward, but still has a lot of serious problems, it’s me.
The Problem(s) With Obamacare
I totally agree with Joe Biden that Obamacare is a big (cue the expletive) deal. The expansion of Medicaid, the protections for people with pre-existing conditions, the establishment of essential health benefits and putting an end to absurd things like lifetime caps transformed millions of people’s lives. It stopped people from going bankrupt just because they got sick.
But there are two main problems.
The first is allowing states to opt-out of the Medicaid expansion. Now, I’m not making a statement about states’ rights or anything of the sort. It’s just common sense when you look at a map of insurance premium increases. The states with the biggest increases didn’t expand Medicaid. This compromise of allowing states to make the decision over whether or not to expand Medicaid never should have been included in the ACA, as it allows states to make their residents suffer unnecessarily.
Fortunately, at least for now, there is a remedy. We need to elect state government leaders that will expand Medicaid (side-note: this is something I would fight for tooth-and-nail) and enable the exchanges to work the way they were designed.
The second problem is the fact that the U.S. Senate (or, rather, one Senator) killed the public option. Looking at you, Joe Lieberman.
Why I Like the Public Option
If you listen to Pod Save America (if you don’t, you should), you’ve probably heard Jon Lovett rant about how Joe Lieberman 86’d the public option. And it’s a shame, as it is a pragmatic compromise between the people for single-payer and those that are against it.
The standard complaints against Obamacare are:
- Insurers are pulling out of a lot of counties
- Premiums and deductibles are skyrocketing.
They’re fair complaints. And guess what? The public option would be a superb solution to both of them.
If a county were left with no insurers, they’d still have the ability to buy insurance. And if the premiums and deductibles of the private insurers were going too high, the competition the public option would provide would bring them back down to earth.
But while the public option was nixed from Obamacare, that doesn’t mean Floridians are stuck until we can get Democrats back in the majority in Congress and in the White House. We can fix it from Tallahassee.
Medicaid is administered at the state level. This means that the state government can make the rules about how it works and who can get access. With this in mind, Nevada just came close to passing a public option. If we can take back the state in 2018, we can open up Medicaid (or, more likely, make a parallel plan that has some premiums, deductibles and co-pays) for the general public to enter.
Like the idea of a public option? Help me get to Florida’s State House; the Democratic Primary is on August 28th I would love your support. If you have any questions for me, please feel free to reach out.