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Old man's hand holding several pennies.
Kentucky has become an early success story in the roll-out of Obamacare, with a Democratic governor, Steve Beshear, whose administration has tackled getting their program—Kynect—up and running efficiently. Just as important, Kentucky has committed to an extensive outreach program to get people educated, informed and signed up. The New York Times' Abby Goodnough checks in on that effort, and in doing so provides a very good reminder of why this law is so necessary.
The woman, a thin 61-year-old who refused to give her name, citing privacy concerns, had come to the public library here to sign up for health insurance through Kentucky’s new online exchange. She had a painful lump on the back of her hand and other health problems that worried her deeply, she said, but had been unable to afford insurance as a home health care worker who earns $9 an hour.

Within a minute, the system checked her information and flashed its conclusion on Ms. Cauley’s laptop: eligible for Medicaid. The woman began to weep with relief. Without insurance, she said as she left, “it’s cheaper to die.” [...]

After Samantha Davis helped Deborah and Joseph Willis enroll in Medicaid one morning at a Family Health Centers clinic, Mrs. Willis, 49, told her how she felt some doctors and nurses had treated her unkindly because she lacked insurance. “Maybe they’ll look at me a lot different now,” she said.

As the couple prepared to leave the clinic, Mr. Willis, who is 55 and has severe foot and back pain from injuries but has not seen a doctor in years, turned to Ms. Davis and extended his hand.

“God bless you,” he said. [...]

Through the exchange, Mr. Elson, 60, who has advanced diabetes and kidney disease, was offered a choice of 24 health plans, with premiums ranging from $92 to $501 a month after the subsidy. But if he felt elation or relief, he was too preoccupied to show it.

Bleeding at the back of his eyes, caused by a complication of diabetes, had blurred his vision. He had run out of insulin the previous week and had not refilled his prescriptions, which cost almost $500 a month, because a recent tax bill had depleted his bank account. He had an appointment with an eye specialist that afternoon, and the possibility of more debt was hanging heavily over him. [...]

“I’m hoping once I have insurance that I can sit down and figure out a budget and see if I have to bankrupt,” he said. [...]

“It’s not a fact that I want to sponge off of somebody,” he said. “I want to be able to pay my bills and be able to go through life without feeling I owe somebody.”

We're here today because, as a nation, we decided that no one should have to choose between their prescriptions—their insulin—and feeding their family or keeping their home. We're here today because, as a nation, we decided that no one should go bankrupt because of a health catastrophe. We decided as a nation that health insurance should be available and affordable to every American citizen. That decision was was reaffirmed by the Supreme Court and by a national election. These stories all serve as a reminder of that decision.

The solution thus far has proved imperfect, but it's far preferable to the status quo. For every person who is pissed off at having their junk insurance policy cancelled and has to sign up for a new one, there are dozens who are elated that they can finally have just a little bit of breathing room in their lives because they finally will have health insurance.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 08:26 AM PST.

Also republished by My Old Kentucky Kos and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Durbin has been beating McTurtle upset the head (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ckntfld

    regularly with KY's success...must be awkward.

  •  Oops. (0+ / 0-)
    Oregon has yet to enroll one single person, and it's been reduced to pawing through paper applications to figure out eligibility.
    http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/...

    For every success a total disaster.

    •  Oregonians will also benefit from the ACA. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens

      The initial enrollment period is nothing compared to the actual care that people will be receiving over the long haul.

    •  Not paper applications! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tb mare, dagnome, I love OCD, G Contractor

      OMG. How will people survive with paper applications....wait, you mean insurance companies used paper applications before?

    •  My wife and I got a cancellation notice from (8+ / 0-)

      Regence Oregon. It was the standard swindle that the insurance grifters have been pushing. The letter told us to do nothing and they would shift us into a comparable plan that was ACA compliant. Their website wasn't broken, but it really took some digging to find out what they had planned for us. And that was $2,400 more a year for some expanded coverage.

      We went to the CoverOregon site and found that every silver plan offered more coverage than Regence for around a $1,000 less than we are now paying.

      Even if we couldn't buy a plan using the site right away, not a problem,we are still deciding which plan we want. The site tipped us to the insurance company trying to sucker us, and we think thats mighty useful.

      Thanks to CoverOregon we know we can save $1,000 a year instead of being ripped off for $2,400 that buys less in coverage.

      The site will be fixed. And we are so going to enjoy dropping Regence. Pretty nice and we're not even ACA supporters.

      Medicare For All.  

  •  Knowing you can see a doctor whenever... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jpmassar, mayim, oslyn7, deepeco, Buckeye54

    you need a doctor is a freedom that can not be described until you have it.

    I can not imagine what it is like to need medical care and have to choose between it and eating or rent.

    Obama deserves so much gratitude for giving this freedom to so many despite the mountainous difficulty it has been.

    Tax and Spend I can understand. I can even understand Borrow and Spend. But Borrow and give Billionaires tax cuts? That I have a problem with.

    by LiberalCanuck on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 08:50:35 AM PST

  •  The missing quotes in that first powerful (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens

    quote really makes it difficult to read correctly. It should read:

    Within a minute, the system checked her information and flashed its conclusion on Ms. Cauley’s laptop: eligible for Medicaid. The woman began to weep with relief. Without insurance, she said as she left, “it’s cheaper to die.” [...]

    "Nothing happens unless first a dream. " ~ Carl Sandburg

    by davewill on Tue Nov 05, 2013 at 12:05:14 PM PST

  •  We may now proceed down the road of health (0+ / 0-)

    care coverage for every person in America.  We can restore dignity to our people and rid ourselves of the fear and shame many feel because they are not covered for health care needs.  Let's have no more of our people come begging for health care when they need it or can use preventive check ups to enhance health and early intervention in potentially severe problems down the road.  Kynect of Kentucky is an example of what can be done right when there is leadership at the state and federal levels.  The denial of health care coverage to millions of Americans for so long is something we will look back on with a sense of wonderment and disgust because we treated each other so poorly.  The GOP, Tea, Koch, Klan, Clones are the worst example of this terribly hurtfull behavior of persecution for profit while many who oppose health care coverage have the best care in the world.

  •  This ties in nicely with my latest ObamacareSignup (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rolfyboy6, shoeless, rg611, I love OCD
  •  Mr. Elson's case really ticks me off (15+ / 0-)

    I have worked in health care quality my entire career (nearly 25 years now) and a case like Mr. Elson's really hits hard. Diabetes is an ugly disease, but with comprehensive and early primary care, it can be controlled such that the kind of long-term complications he's now experiencing simply don't have to happen. It's disgusting that he will likely have long-term vision problems simply because he couldn't afford to treat his disease correctly (correct treatment means so much more than insulin).

    A government that denies gay men the right to bridal registry is a fascist state - Margaret Cho

    by CPT Doom on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 10:45:09 AM PST

  •  These stories need to be told....... (6+ / 0-)

    And thanks for collecting a few of them. So many of them are a combination of heartbreaking and uplifting. These are real people, honest, hard working americans who deserve a chance to be healthier and not lose everything.

    I had no health insurance from 1980 to 2002. The fact that I survived is amazing, but it's a chance I don't want anyone to have to take.

  •  down at the bait shop this morning (6+ / 0-)

    in central FL, a bunch of old guys telling the story of a woman with cancer losing her coverage due to Obamacare. Every one of them was on Medicare or the VA.

  •  The GOP has to help fix any issues that come up (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shoeless, yet another liberal

    because going back is not an option

    "The poor can never be made to suffer enough." Jimmy Breslin

    by merrywidow on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 10:58:20 AM PST

  •  "Training" societies in tolerating interceptions (0+ / 0-)

    "Training" societies in tolerating interceptions

    http://failedevolution.blogspot.gr/...

  •  How do we get these stories to CBS news (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shoeless, I love OCD, foresterbob, jj32

    , who refuses to followup on the other BS story they aired about a lady from Florida?

    Hold the Vision - Trust the Process OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    by kathyjoe1 on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 11:03:37 AM PST

  •  I couldn't get an endocrinologist to even see me (4+ / 0-)

    My thyroiditis had caused a slightly high test results. I have no insurance and in the entire Puget Sound area only one specialist, 150 miles away,  agreed to see me and then only if I gave him $400 for a consultation.

    So, I never did see anyone about it.

    I don't think people who have insurance know that this is the case - you can't get a specialist to even see you without it. If I had one of the Bronze plans on the exchange, I could have seen a doctor and a Bronze plan would cost me $0.

    O great creator of being grant us one more hour to perform our art and perfect our lives. ::: Jim Morrison :::

    by Kevanlove on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 11:04:33 AM PST

  •  A beginning that came too late (8+ / 0-)

    My mother died because she didn't have insurance. She waited until she turned 65 and could get Medicaid before she went to the hospital. She died in the hospital two days later of COPD. Obamacare is a step in the right direction that came five years too late for her, but the REAL solution is single payer health care for every American.

  •  Our 19 yr old Ky Granddaughter (7+ / 0-)

    is a full time college student (16 hours, 4 pt. average, yes, I'm proud), plus works many hours as a waitress to be as independent financially as she possibly can.  She is so excited and grateful for Kynect.  That means she can get insurance at an affordable rate.  

    Don’t argue with idiots because they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.—Greg King

    by Pinto Pony on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 11:07:29 AM PST

  •  And that sonbitch McConnell tries sneering at KY (5+ / 0-)

    implementation (to try to kiss up to the TP). How's the Turtle's health plan?

  •  These are the people (4+ / 0-)

    that the Republicans are trying so hard to deny health care to. They are real people with real health problems, not some faceless enemy such as "socialism" or "government takeover."

    If I get a chance to see my congressman, the question I will ask him is, "Why did you work so hard to prevent me from getting health insurance?"

    •  deny health care to? (0+ / 0-)

      Through the exchange, Mr. Elson, 60, who has advanced diabetes and kidney disease, was offered a choice of 24 health plans, with premiums ranging from $92 to $501 a month after the subsidy. But if he felt elation or relief, he was too preoccupied to show it.

      He had run out of insulin the previous week and had not refilled his prescriptions, which cost almost $500 a month, because a recent tax bill had depleted his bank account. He had an appointment with an eye specialist that afternoon, and the possibility of more debt was hanging heavily over him. [...]

      “I’m hoping once I have insurance that I can sit down and figure out a budget and see if I have to bankrupt,” he said.
      ==
      I guess my math must be wrong. How is he going to afford paying a 40% bronze copay plus $6,250 deductible?

      What good is insurance if you can't use it?

      Canadian single payer is the only solution. Don't fall for the wall st. swindle.

      401k instead of real SS
      student loans
      endless wars
      health "insurance" instead of health care

  •  Those stories make me sad, hopeful and angry (3+ / 0-)

    All at the same time.  These are people whose stories simply never even occur to the soulless comfortable assholes like Dancin' Dave Gregory or Cruz or McConnell or any damn Republican or Beltway press whore.

    It twists at my gut sometimes.  

    Multiply these people by the millions.  Then blather about 'socialism' or 'spending' or whatever the hell.

    I despise conservatives.'

    •  Exactly! (4+ / 0-)

      Chuck Todd and the rest of the mouths were talking about how Obamacare nearly gave the VA election to the Rs.  And if it's the same conversation next fall, the Ds will lose big in the mid terms.

      How out of touch are they?  These stories make me cry.  Hell, I've been paying for my own insurance for 17 years, and when I figured out I'd save about $100 per month, before subsidy for a Gold plan, I started crying for myself.  

      This is so powerful, and ordinary people get it.  The rich mouths on TV don't.  Neither do the Rs.

      This is the real "game change".

  •  About the dignity of having insurance (5+ / 0-)

    Remember, this is one of the terrific details of Obamacare that often gets buried.

    Remember all the fuss Romney exploited about how Obamacare was cutting Medicaid by $700 billion?  Romney always implied and counted on people interpreting that to mean Obama cut their Medicare benefits.

    A key part of the Medicare funds that were cut were a chunk of the Disproportionate Hospital Share programs.  Those were funds that Medicare administered by sending to hospitals to help make up losses whenever they treated the uninsured.  (These costs expanded quickly and by 1996 were about 10% of total Medicare costs.)  

    By diverting those funds to expanded Medicaid programs and subsidized Obamacare, the PPACA put power in the hands of the formerly non-insured and made them health service consumers.  It gave them choices which among other things gave them dignity and a better chance of getting treatment before problems became more severe and expensive to treat.

    It also altered how financial incentives work in the health care system, just as many other measures of PPACA did.

    Outcome:

    1) dignity
    2) healthier people due to more preventive care and early treatment
    3) better management of health costs due to less cost for the system downstream

    And there you have Romney et al and their obtuse sense of privilege.  Lie about how the funds will help people, how they help the system and tell people they can go to the ER.

    Unfortunately, there are two major health insurange programs now:  Obamacare and Red State ACA.  If you are unfortunate to live in a state with Red State ACA, you might miss out on expanded Medicaid because you are at the mercy of the real death panels.

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 11:18:55 AM PST

  •  On to the Next Problem: (0+ / 0-)

    Forcing the clinical practices to treat those on Medicare/Medicaid well and fairly. If they treat them with disdain based on their insurance status, how can anyone be expected to effectively manage care and recommend appropriate treatment on a case by case basis?

    I can only hope the sheer wave of newly insured seeking care will force an attitude change on some level to get these people affordable, effective care with fair treatment as human beings.

    Of all forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane. - Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by SocialRazor on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 11:27:15 AM PST

    •  I've never run into that in 6 years (0+ / 0-)

      on Medicare.  When I had Medicaid, briefly, I was treated by the retired dentist, not the chief dentist.  Still got good care.

      I'm not looking for a love that will lift me up and carry me away. A love that will stroll alongside and make a few amusing comments will suffice.

      by I love OCD on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 11:37:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Today I acted as a navigator (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foresterbob, Mr MadAsHell

    The cashier and bagger at the [unnamed chain] supermarket were chatting and I gathered it was about the ACA. I chimed in with my experience -- that the people at the office (just down the street from the store) were friendly and well-trained, and open long hours, and that I'd been pleasantly surprised at the options available. Turns out that the supermarket is cutting off insurance (for part-timers, I assume) as of Apr. 1. So they'll be able to get coverage, probably at a lower cost, through the ACA. I encouraged them to tell their co-workers and to go check it out.

    The one problem they raised that I didn't have an answer to is how people will pay the premiums if they don't have a bank account or credit/debit card -- they asked about payroll deduction, but that won't be available. There are a lot of non-bank people around. I'm actually hoping both these people qualify for expanded Medicaid, but I didn't say anything about that.

    I also got an email saying my Congressman (Cicilline, D-RI) is holding an ACA information session at one of the community health centers, with ACA staff there to help people.

    Word is getting out, and there are plenty of people who haven't enrolled yet but know about it and are thinking about it.

  •  Those are old wheatie pennies in the pic (0+ / 0-)

    Those pennies date to the 1960's or before.  Where'd you get that pic?

    Cooler heads will prevail. And we have the coolest head in the White House.

    by ayjaymay on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 12:51:22 PM PST

  •  Are Kentucky Democrats moving on this? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mr MadAsHell

    I certainly hope so. Get volunteers out there ringing doorbells or making phone calls, telling their fellow Kentuckians what a great deal they've gotten from the federal government, and that they can take advantage of because of the Democrate Governor of their fair state.

    Write letters to the editor. Talk to friends, relatives, neighbors. Make sure they know Democrats made it possible for them to see a doctor, and Republicans did their level best to deny them that right.

  •  More stories like this, please . . . (0+ / 0-)

    Those of us who have shared the reality of significantly increased costs -- I know, we are a small group, likely 1-2% of population -- need these stories to remind us why we supported and continue to support healthcare for all.

  •  not just any health insurance policy: (0+ / 0-)

    "We decided as a nation that health insurance should be available and affordable to every American citizen."

    but one that actually provides decent benefits, at minimum. hence, all the crappy policies being cancelled by the insurance companies. they will no longer be profitable, once people see what's available via the ACA exchanges.

  •  KY has made real progress under Beshear (0+ / 0-)

    Congratulations to KY. KY is an untold story and has a great future ahead, so long as it rids itself of corrupt office occupants like McConnell and his buddies. I respect the abilities of Kentuckians and their belief that work still matters.

    Ohio is still being held hostage to the most recent Columbus games involving the swiping of hospital funds to replace those in some manner with federal Medicaid expansion funds in order to allow a tax cut for the wealthiest in Ohio. (Or something--accurate reports on the usual bizarre activity in Columbus are hard to find.)

    Gov Kasich played this game with his so-called Medicaid expansion intended for working people who can't afford any of the initial healthcare insurance offerings. Kasich went around the usual approval process in order to avoid his own enemies in his own party who are still behind on the news that healthcare reforms are law. Of course, law and these tea party office occupants do not get along.

    Other GOP operatives are intent on filing court challenges to prevent Ohioans from having any healthcare insurance available through the federal program. They are unable to adjust to facts.

    Under the notoriously incompetent Lt Gov Mary Taylor, Ohio refused to have its own healthcare exchange and so lags behind with a few other states in the usual tea party chaos, which prevents business and jobs from gaining footholds here. Sherrod Brown sends in jobs and Kasich sends them out again while making private ripoff arrangements which benefit buddies. Kasich also cut off the usual funding to Cincinnati Ohio. (As we all know, GOP idol Boehner has made quite a name for himself as the most dysfunctional creature on the planet and is also from Ohio. Hold the applause, please.)

    The GOP and Kasich are not getting along and we know that tax dollars are certain to be missing around 2014 when sober and literate Ohioans will be voting to remove the Kasich administration. As Josh Mandel, Treasurer of Ohio, stated: "There is no downside to lying." Taxpayers likely don't agree with Mandel's beliefs about the uses of lying. Treasurers who believe in lying bring about doubt as to the uses of tax dollars. Businesses object to that, especially.

    The delays in Ohioans getting any access to adequate medical care rests with this notorious administration. Ohioans now in need may die waiting for any action from our well known GOP club in Columbus.

    This club in Columbus has been one of the most destructive entities in Ohio history. One in 4 Ohio families is now on food stamps. Kasich is intent on seeing their access to food stamps removed. GOP buds will rubber stamp anything from the GOP. The future here is grim and jobs are few. Investment in Ohio is not happening as long as Kasich is in office.

    Gerrymandering got Kasich in and it will take a lot of help for Ohioans to remove this cancer from Ohio. We want them investigated and prosecuted for their corruption in office.

    Ohio is in severe distress and as we chat about politics, families are being made homeless and housing is unaffordable. Food is escalating in costs. Insurers are also raising premiums for business due to the chaos. Prescriptions are skyrocketing--insulin refills now cost me 600.00 per month. Wages have stayed the same for the usual service sector jobs in this state. Survival is a challenge in Ohio, has been since 2010 and for many decent working people.Business frauds are common.

    Sherrod Brown is Ohio's only hope right now.

  •  The story of those people got to me. I am so ... (0+ / 0-)

    happy that they received some medical attention finally.

    This is what America should be like.  Everyone getting the help they need for a better, and sustained quality of life.

    Obey Gravity - It's The Law!

    by LamontCranston on Thu Nov 07, 2013 at 03:25:57 PM PST

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