The Real Impact of Obamacare (or Why This Reporter Still Can't Walk)
It was your run of the mill hiking mishap. I misjudged my footing and tumbled down the side of a steep, rocky hill, landing on my right knee. I knew my knee was dislocated if not completely broken, and a few years ago, I wouldn’t have hesitated to go straight to the ER. Unfortunately, since the passage of Obamacare, my health insurance has been cutting corners and paying out less and less in order to make up their losses. An ER visit could cost me thousands.
So I waited until the next day, when a walk-in clinic would be open. It was a long, painful, sleepless night. In the morning I got my diagnosis: the knee was broken and my MCL was torn.
There were two options, the doctor told me: one was a surgery that could be performed when the break started to heal, and it would have me walking again days after the procedure. The other option was weeks of physical therapy, which wouldn’t really fix the tear, and would likely leave me with knee problems for the rest of my life, but would allow me to slowly start walking over the course of two months or so. Oh, and I couldn’t start physical therapy until the break was completely healed.
Several years ago, the choice would have been mine. My doctor would have talked to me about the risks and benefits of both, and the comparative cost. Then, I would have made an educated choice guided by my doctor. The surgery, we agreed, was best for me.
Obama came along and snatched that decision right out of my hands before turning it over to my insurance company. “Never mind what the doctor says,” they told me, “we know what’s best and you’re getting physical therapy.”
See, Obamacare added a lot of items to the list of procedures insurance companies have to pay for without regard to the fact that in a capitalist society, other procedures would have to come off that list to balance the budget. Now, my knee surgery was considered “optional,” and insurance was able to insist that I undergo an alternative treatment of their choosing, as poor a substitute as it may be. If I made the “personal choice,” to have an “unnecessary elective surgery,” it was my problem.
Wait; it gets worse!
With my kneecap in two pieces, it was very important that I not put any weight on that leg at all. Suddenly standing on that leg in the first few weeks could cause the bone to split along the break line again, putting me back to square one. Crutches, my doctor explained, were too risky. If I were to slip or stumble and catch myself with the injured leg, it could put me in a world of hurt and delay my healing even further. I’d need a wheelchair.
Under Obamacare, that’s not a decision my doctor got to make. (What does he know anyways? My insurance agent is a much better doctor!) My insurance company went ahead and made that call for me. Obama didn’t think I really needed a wheelchair, since only one of my legs was injured, and my insurance company couldn’t afford to do more than the bare minimum required by law for me. The amount of money they spent giving out free STD tests left nothing for the treatment of my injury. Crutches are cheaper than a wheelchair, so that’s what I got.
Fortunately, I was able to borrow a wheelchair from my local Catholic church. (Funny how that works, ain’t it?)
Several months later, I’m still in physical therapy and I still can’t walk much more than a few yards unaided. If I’d had the surgery, I’d have been back on my feet weeks ago. I still don’t know when I’ll have my full mobility back, and there’s no telling whether it will ever return to normal.
I went to my insurance company once more a few days ago. With my wedding night and all that comes with it in a Christian marriage imminent, I wanted contraceptives. The pill was both by far the cheapest and one of the most effective options. Knowing my insurance company and the financial strain Obamacare put on it, I figured that’s what I was getting, if I was lucky.
What I really wanted was the implant. See, my job takes me here, there, and everywhere, a new city every other week. I do about 10 nights a month in hotels, and I am terrible at remembering to pack important things. Every time I travel, it seems, I forget something. Many a late night Walmart run has been made when I discover that I’ve forgotten my dress shoes, my toothbrush, my socks, my phone charger, and on one occasion, my entire suitcase, which I didn’t realize wasn’t in the car until I got to the airport and it was too late. I knew I’d forget my birth control pills on a trip and have to either use a condom, risk pregnancy, or keep myself from my new husband for a few days.
This is really personal, right? You may be thinking, “TMI! This is a personal matter for you and your doctor!”
But you’re wrong. It’s Obama’s business now.
The cost of just the implant was $800, compared to $4/mo for the pill. I expected to pay it myself, since it’s my problem that I’m forgetful and there was a much cheaper, equally effective option. If they wouldn’t give me a surgery I needed to keep my mobility, why would they shell out over a grand to protect me from my own carelessness?
Oh wait- because Barack made them.
Obama cares about my sex life. Obama wants me to have as much sex as I’d like without worrying about pregnancy. Obama wouldn’t dream of putting the responsibility of remembering to take a pill every day on me. Obama will see to it that I won’t have to spend a dime on contraception.
The implant was free.
Under Obamacare, my insurance company, and yours, is now mandated by law to cover 100% of the cost of any birth control method a woman feels like. There are 18 methods of birth control recognized by the FDA, and insurance must pick up the entire bill for each of them.
A surgery that would let me walk again is a personal choice. Physical therapy and lifelong knee pain and limited mobility is an acceptable substitute. If I don’t want knee problems for the rest of my life, that’s my problem and I can pay for it myself.
A wheelchair that would protect me from further injuring my broken knee is a personal choice. It’s my responsibility to be very very careful on crutches and if I slip one time in six weeks, it’s my fault I’m a klutz and not their problem.
Birth control pills that are cheap and highly effective are NOT an acceptable substitute for the implant. They’re equally effective at preventing pregnancy. Remembering my pills when I travel is NOT my responsibility, and I am entitled have sex as much as I want without worrying about the consequences. I am entitled to the implant if that’s what I want, and I am entitled to have it for free. (No one asked, or cared that I was getting married and hadn’t needed them prior to this point.) This is what Obama is telling me.
It seems a little backwards to me.
To Hell with Obamacare!
This book was written by Joe Gilbertson of the Punching Bag Post Staff. This is the solution to the Obamacare fiasco: