(ThySistas.com) Last month I was reading my favorite Essence Magazine, (February 2014-issue) and I came upon a report titled, The Forgotten: Black, Female and Uninsured, that literally left me baffled. I couldn’t wrapped my head around the statistics and how convoluted the whole issue of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was. The truth is, as a self-proclaimed political junkie, I really have not been paying much attention to anything that has to do with the ACA since its passing. All I know, it was passed in spite of many oppositions from the Republicans in the House. Needless to say, I was appreciative that Essence wrote the article, because finally some light was being shed on the subject. I thought, okay, now we can start the conversation, and find some solutions.
The report focused on two African American women, living under the poverty line, but still were not eligible for Medicaid under Affordable Care Act. One reason being, they live in one of the many (25) states that, “declined to expand their Medicaid programs as a part of the Affordable Care Act.” According to the report these women are not alone; in fact, “Eight millions Americans-largely Black, single working mothers are without health insurance.” Well, so much for, “The Affordable Care Act puts consumers back in charge of their health care.”
Of course, I want to give this process a chance to succeed, and to prove all the naysayers wrong. But more so, to show that people are indeed benefiting from having access to affordable healthcare. But so far, that doesn’t seem to be the case. In reading the story of these two women who found themselves ineligible for the so called ‘affordable’ healthcare even though they are poor, I got the sense that the ACA is flawed. It was not too hard to figure out the flaws .
Number one, states are given the options to opt out. And number two, the way the federal threshold is set up for who is consider too poor to afford health insurance, and who is not is not exactly clear. For example According to the report, “The act would cover residents whose incomes are just above the poverty line but too low to qualify for tax subsidies to help pay for insurance.” I don’t think this is a formula for success considering, “Today a family of three making under $19,530 a year is below the poverty line.”
Meanwhile, another report shows under federal law the number is, ” $23,550 a year for a family of four.” The numbers just doesn’t add up. So I questioned: what’s the point of instituting tax subsidies if it doesn’t benefit poor people living on the poverty level, and below? I say if anyone need the tax subsidies, it would be the poor to help offset some of the burdens of paying for hefty healthcare costs. I should know, because one trip to the doctor’s office when my daughter’s Medicaid was discontinued with no notice cost me am arm and a leg.
As I said before, the Affortable Care Act is convoluted, and the rules are inflexible. Some experts say, “…without smart fixes, the ACA threatens the middle class with higher premiums, loss of hours, and a shift to part-time work and less comprehensive coverage.” So, Imagine trying to figure out the ACA if you are poor, uneducated, and English is your second language.
Furthermore, the people who should know about it, don’t. I think what we are missing are trained individuals who can explain it in simple terms to the people who could benefit from the Affordable Care Act ( ACA). Even better would be to provide free classes for people via their nearest Social Servise office to learn how to benefit from the Affordable Care Act. I for one, could definitely benefit from such a class.
Staff Writer; Kency Desmangles
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