Monday, July 21, 2014

Last Call For The Rainbow Kynect-tion

Nowhere is Obamacare working better than here in Kentucky, and it's making news overseas as the BBC reports on Kentucky's healthcare exchange, Kynect.

Liberty Sizemore leans back in her chair and beams. The 26-year-old filling station cashier has just been told her enrolment in Obamacare is complete. 
Now she can have her first routine doctor's appointment for seven years. 
"I am so happy," says Sizemore as she waits at the Grace Community Health Centre in Clay County, Kentucky, "I've not had insurance since I turned 19." 
But Sizemore is also nervous. She is seriously overweight and was warned in her teens that she was likely to develop diabetes. Without health insurance she has not been able to afford tests or check-ups to see if she has indeed got the disease. 
"I'll go to the hospital only in an emergency," says Sizemore, who is still paying off the $10,000 bill for removing her appendix two years ago. 
"That's what's on my credit card right now," she sighs, "hospital bills."

It's helping people who grudgingly take the assistance.

Hairdresser Sadie Smith has enrolled but, she hopes, only as a temporary measure. Her family's insurance disappeared when her husband lost his job. (Most Americans with health insurance get it through their job, with the employer and the worker sharing the cost.)

As she puts the finishing touches to a customer's hair at her small salon in Manchester, Kentucky, Smith says she is grateful for Obamacare. But she is uneasy. "It scares me. The government wants to control everybody - their finances, their insurance, it all comes back to control."

But she'll stay in the program because it's helping her family.  And Obamacare will help people who flat out dislike President Obama, too.

Benita Adams may be one of the people the Governor has in mind. The 62-year-old grandmother lives on the edge of the rolling Appalachian Mountains in eastern Kentucky. She owns her home but works two jobs as a dental assistant to make ends meet. She did not vote for President Obama
Adams has had no health insurance since her divorce 30 years ago. A recent heart operation left her with a $67,000 bill. Although the hospital waived around half of that, she still pays $50 a month to clear the rest. 
"I used to say, if I get hurt just let me be killed because I can't afford to pay any more hospital bills," she says.

But Adams no longer has to worry. Under Obamacare, she qualifies for a private insurance plan with a hefty government subsidy that covers the monthly payments in full. 
"Everyone was mad over Obamacare but it's just wonderful, it's really helping people," Adams says as she lists the medical appointments she has been to since getting insured. 
Of course, Mr Obama cannot run for the presidency again. But if he could, would Adams vote for him? "I'd sure think about it" she says, "It's the best thing he's done."

People here in Kentucky will remember Obama did this.  And they will remember that Mitch McConnell has vowed to take all this away, to repeal Obamacare "root and branch" if Republicans get control of the Senate.

And maybe some of them will vote Democratic.  But no matter who they voted for, Obamacare can help them get affordable health insurance.

And that's a win for everyone in Kentucky.  Heck, it's a win for 20 million Americans nationwide.  It would be even more if Republicans would stop blocking it in red states.

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