Obamacare & Me.

Via Gerry Ellen
on Oct 1, 2013
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I admit, I don’t have health insurance; I haven’t had health insurance in about five years.

When I would visit my general practitioner for an annual checkup many moons ago, I still had to fork over a certain large sum of money to pay for whatever procedure they needed to perform for a late-40s woman. It usually consisted of a mammogram (breast cancer history in my immediate family), often a blood test to check the thyroid levels, the typical pap smear, cholesterol test and throw in the usual kneading of my breasts searching for fibrocystic nodes, blood pressure check, lungs listened to, ears scoped, a glaucoma test because my eyesight was dwindling, and of course, listen to my heart beat to determine resting heart rate.

Oh, I forgot the standard weight and height measurement, which pretty much showed what I already knew as I approached my 50s—I was losing weight due to my height shrinking at my age. I didn’t even take my shoes off for these tests. It always seemed so silly to consider that my shoes would add to my weight. But, that was my brain rationalizing everything at that time.

After all this testing and prodding and manipulating of my body, I would exit the clinic paying the 80/20 copay amount, and feel relieved after knowing it only cost about $25.00 or so. I can’t honestly remember. It was so long ago, and my health has always been a priority of mine. I was fortunate enough to be on my husband’s work plan at that time, and I never quite educated myself to understand the ins and outs of basic health insurance.

Since I have always been an independent, self-employed participant in work, I had to get to the core of the matter once he and I were no longer together. One feature stood out: I could not understand half the jargon used in any one specific plan that supposedly catered to my needs, and I can no longer afford to pay big premiums while knowing that I visit a doctor once per year.

The same goes for dental and vision insurance; these two are the primary reasons I would even consider health insurance at my age, as my eyes need glasses all the time for close-up reading, and my teeth could stand to have some crowns replaced and the old mercury fillings removed. Both dental and vision insurance are largely supplied by employers, as they are the most expensive out of pocket costs for the average healthy person.

Now, as of October 1st, unless there is a major twist on ObamaCare or shutdown of such an ill-fated government, we are required to all have health insurance. I am a self-employed writer, who manages to market myself as a part-time dog sitter and wellness consultant extraordinaire. I eat right, exercise daily, keep my stress levels as low as my psyche will allow on any given day, and I am quite the vitamin popper to make up for the days that my nutrition might be lacking in some essential ingredient.

Here in Austin, I have found an awesome and certifiable clinic that has some of the best naturopath doctors on staff. Each one has been in the holistic medicine field for over 20 years. Fortunately, Central Family Practice does not take health insurance. They cater to people like me who are independent, self-employed and not part of a corporate structure. At the ripe old age of 54, I have now decided to learn a few points of this Obama Care plan, for the mere sake of “uh oh, the government wants to control this aspect of my health.”

I feel a bit ignorant not educating myself on Obama Care. During the whole political re-election scenario, I never paid much attention to how this could affect the self-employed worker. So, I did a little digging around on the internet, and this is what I found out. It’s more of a blanket synopsis, I understand, but these 10 points are taken in the context that this plan requires the same kind of reading as the War and Peace  novel.

Apparently, Congress feels the same way, as they have chosen to debate, filibuster and now a shutdown until both parties can see their way through this mess. Here’s my take on this whole debacle:

1. Insurance premiums are skyrocketing and will continue to do so.

2. Your 2013 income tax: new threshold for deductions—Uncle Sam determines what the “essential benefits” will be.

3. Long term care for the sick won’t be covered—good thing I’m not in a nursing home.

4. Health savings account changes, including a 20 percent penalty on health-related charges.

5. A possible doctor shortage as Obama Care threatens Medicare.

6. New Obama Care capital gains tax which begins in 2013 and adds a 3.8 percent surcharge on certain income groups.

7. Non-compliance waivers—if you run a business that can’t afford the mandate, you may be eligible.

8. New excise tax on “Cadillac” health plans—hitting employers with a 40 percent penalty over a certain threshold.

9. The powerful tax credit program for some small businesses.

10. You will have more responsibilities and penalties under the new laws.

If this doesn’t give you the impetus to seek out ways to nurture your good health, I don’t know what can. But, we will now all have to carry some sort of health insurance—unless the government stalls—because no one understands what the hell is going on.

Is this a surprise to anyone? Not really.

Congress ratings are at the lowest of the low. Not one person believes what anyone in the government is doing, or attempting to enact. It all is rather chaotic to me, as my delving into government issues are pretty sparse. It is not out of ignorance, rather more apathy and avoidance of conflict. I want to believe they have our best interests at heart; however, this Obama Care plan reminds me of the whole Patriot Act back in the Bush days. No one ever truly read that large tome of a bill, but it passed anyway. Did we understand it? No. Same goes for the now pending health care ordinance that is charging into our lives at the moment, and seemingly stalled over government egos and partisanship.

Until they can figure it out, I will continue to enjoy the outdoors, meditate, do yoga, eat organic and healthy, take my vitamins, play with dogs, look at the stars, and keep the faith that my health stays decent. Winding my way around all this new Obama Care jargon makes my head spin. If I had my druthers, I would continue to get my annual checkup and just pay for the services rendered at that time. It is simple. It works for me, and I’m almost positive that Obama Care and me might not be friends over the long haul.  Good luck sorting it all out, Mr. Government.

reference: www.info.com/obamacare, www.newsmaxstore.com/obamacare

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Ed: Sara Crolick


About Gerry Ellen

Gerry Ellen is an author, freelance writer, and wellness consultant. She recently launched her own gig called *8 Paws Wellness with Gerry Ellen* which combines all of her passions (outdoors, yoga, strength, meditation, writing, dogs, fun!) Her first novel Ripple Effects was published in March 2012. As a regular contributor to elephant journal, Be You Media Group, Light Workers World, Meet Mindful, Tattooed Buddha and Rebelle Society, she also balances incredible friendships, heart-centered connections, and sharing her experiences of life and love. These are the things that matter to her most. Her second book A Big Piece of Driftwood, published in April 2014, is also available on Amazon.com.


8 Responses to “Obamacare & Me.”

  1. Sylvia Wyant says:

    Well what if ObamaCare actually works? We had to start somewhere in beating back the huge expense of health care in America, and the toll on our economy. Did you learn in your research that such things as women's preventative health care will be covered – such as mammography and pap smears – the basics of your annual exam? Did you also notice that just in case you have a preexisting condition you cannot be refused coverage? I have been without health insurance for the last 15 years because of preexisting conditions. Please write a well researched article on what we stand to gain through ObamaCare. As a member of the "press" you would be doing all of us a great service. There are plenty of nay-sayers out there. Living with the PAST lack of insurance options is no longer an option for millions of people.

  2. Gerry Ellen says:

    Thanks for your comment, Sylvia. I agree with you that we had to start somewhere. I always have faith in the system, even though it doesn't make a whole lot of sense sometimes. That was pretty much the basis for my blog here. I appreciate your feedback!

  3. nancy says:

    Well said.^^^

  4. Dora says:

    I live in a country where National Health Service exists. I´m greatful for it, I would pay more taxes in order to keep it. Public health care here in Portugal is great, even though a right wing government is working really hard to take it down and to "americanize" our health. You´re lucky you´re healthy, even though you do sometihing about it daily. That doesn´t mean you´re not lucky, because you are. My sister is diabetic tipe I and it´s not her fault, some diseases just occur. She´s healthy too, and has 2 healthy children. And she´s healthy because she´s treated in NHS, and her children – as my own – were born in public maternity. I could fight until I fall in defense of NHS, it saves lifes with prevention and assistance.

  5. Gerry Ellen says:

    Thanks for your comment, Dora. I always admire other countries that have public health care. We could learn a thing or two from overseas' governments. Having NHS sounds like it certainly is saving lives. I appreciate your thoughts here.

  6. Enjoyed the article & thanks for writing it. My niece just became a Swedish citizen & they run things apparently a whole lot better over there. Taxes are high. Support is also high. They actually take care of their people far better than certainly the U.S. Healthcare is, of course, at no extra cost. Schools? The same. The government supports whatever you want to become. When you get old they take care of you then, as well. They value everyone. They are also (as a side note) supposed to be some of the happiest people on earth. I have no problem supporting my fellow man. It's the shenanigans of thinking that it's somehow wrong to do that is what has me stumped. Obamacare is a start. My husbands had chronic sinusitis and insurance thinks it's a pre existing disease. Well, were in our 60's so something is going to be pre-existent. I've worked over 50 years, paid into my social security, paid taxes, owned busnesses and been an employee. If someone is hungry, let's feed them. If unhealthy, let's take care of it. What's wrong with that? I'm with Sylvia up there…it's a beginning. Finally. And I have faith it will be tweeked for a long time until it's truly effective for so many different people. Again, thanks .

  7. Gerry Ellen says:

    You are most welcome. And, thank you for reading and commenting. I appreciate the viewpoints of others so much. It helps me to see other perspectives on issues that are near and dear to many. This whole health care debate may be up in the air for a long time to come. My hope is the government will come to some sort of resolution on this while tossing their egos aside. That would be much more constructive than shutting the whole thing down. Thank you again!

  8. Cindy says:

    The Swedish have the highest standard of living. . We have prisions full of drug addicts , murderers , child molestors , Ponzi schemes , I could go on and on. . The problem with trying to help everyone is , how do you insure a child molestor ? Do the people making meth in their kitchen pay the higher taxes to help ? Just this week in Baton Rouge ,one person shot at the state fair , 3 teens beat a police officer at chilis and a 91 year old man was beat and robbed by teens . 5 children were found neglected in a home of drug addict parents . We can only dream of being like the Swedish . We would have to get rid of the lowlifes to live like them and we never will .