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Obamacare is health care for second class citizens: Example #1

I read with dismay yesterday that Sylvia Burwell, who is taking over from Kathleen Sebelius at HHS, is determined to squash  even a study of single payer health care in order to pacify the Republicans at her confirmation hearing.  Yes, yes, let’s ignore all those little people, aka American citizens, who have lost the employer sponsored health care that made them feel human.  {{rolling eyes}}

So, I thought I would give you an example of what separates the “lucky” eight million who pay for crap exchange policies from, you know, real people.

In 2004, I went to Naples, Fl for a vacation.  As is my habit, I only vacation in the south during hurricane season.  (Been chased off the barrier islands of North Carolina by one)  In this case, it was a category 4, Hurricane Charlie.  We knew it was coming and decided to ride it out at our penthouse on the beach (ahhhh, those were the days when I still had money to do stuff like that).  We watched the hurricane come in and wreck havoc but the next day, the sun shone brightly and I headed down to the beach.  That’s when the busload of orphans started floundering in the surf and I broke my arm while rescuing them.

Ok, not really.  Due to the hurricane, there was a big honking tree on the path to the beach and in my stupid attempt to climb over it, I fell off the trunk and broke my wrist in three places.  There went my plans to go to Universal.

I went to the emergency room in Naples, where they didn’t even offer me an ice pack or a sling for two hours in a very unbusy emergency room.  By the time they x-rayed my arm, it was swelling rapidly.  Thanks Best Health Care in the World! About an hour later, they sent me home with a temporary cast and an appointment to see a surgeon at an outpatient facility so he could reset the wrist under a general anesthetic.  Fun, fun!  I still had more than a week of vacation to look forward.

The next day, I saw the surgeon and woke up to a full arm cast.  Yeah, try to drive home from Kennedy airport to NJ with only one functional arm.

When I arrived in NJ, I saw a different doctor who cut off the whole arm cast 4 weeks later and put my wrist in a smaller cast.  Then I had some physical therapy.

I think my co-pays were minimal, like $15 and my deductible was teensy.  I had a nice employer sponsored insurance policy.

On Obamacare, you do not get health insurance coverage outside of your network, which is minute.  If I went to Florida today and had the same accident, I would be facing a ginormous piles of bills from each doctor, anesthetist and emergency room service, including a charge for the ice pack I never received.  In other words, I am not covered beyond this state.  So, I am really not getting a health care policy that is equal to those of my better employed friends.  I would be strongly cautious of taking a vacation and maybe that’s the point.  If I have to be on Obamacare, maybe I shouldn’t feel entitled to a vacation.

But what if I am visiting Boston next week for a user group meeting (I am) and I have an accident?  Who covers me?

And why couldn’t the ACA be set up to handle not uncommon situations like the one described above?

Sylvia?  Would you like to answer that for the rest of us?

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