She needs a job, not Obamacare

The N&R’s Susan Ladd went across the street to the Greensboro Public Library to see who’s signing up for Obamacare:

Demika McLean was excited when she sat down at a computer terminal at the Greensboro Central Library to sign on to the Health Insurance Marketplace site, which opened Tuesday. She is precisely the kind of person the Affordable Care Act seeks to help — low income, uninsured, with health issues that need attention.

But after trying unsuccessfully to login to Healthcare.gov for 40 minutes, she signed off and found a quiet corner where she tried to get through by phone. After another 20-minute wait, a representative answered some general questions, but was unable to help her enroll or even tell her what plans she might qualify for because she has to be on the website to do so.

…McLean is 38, a single mom, and can only find part-time work. Her income this year will probably be about $9,000 — well below the poverty level. But though her two children are covered under Medicare, she says she has been repeatedly denied.

And she needs medical attention.

Ongoing problems with her reproductive system leave her anemic, swollen and in debilitating pain. She has to plan her life and her work schedule around her cycle. She’s been dealing with this condition for several years, and it’s getting worse. She’s been told she needs a hysterectomy, but with no insurance, she can’t get one unless it’s an emergency.

She has tried to find a full-time job with benefits, with no luck. She says she spends so much time at the JobLink Career Center that people think she works there. She used to buy her own insurance, but she can’t afford it. The lowest-cost plan she could find previously was $109 per month.

“Trying to pay that and live …” she trailed off. “I hope this works out.”

More than an hour after she began, she leaves the library still wondering whether Affordable Health Care will truly be affordable for her.

After reading about Ms. McClean’s health problems, I was surprised to read that she would be able to find a private plan at such relatively low cost. Understandable that meeting the cost is problematic with only part-time. So if she could get a decent full-time job, she wouldn’t need Obamacare. Unfortunately, as it stands now, she can’t get either. Props to the Obama administration.

Sam Hieb / Contributing Editor

Sam Hieb is freelance journalist from Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a contributing editor for Carolina Journal and for Piedmont Publius, a blog that focuses on political a...