Last night I was watching “The Daily Show” from Monday night featuring a small bit on the inability for many of us to sign up for an “Obamacare” plan because the website where we would do so is having technical difficulties. I’d embed the clip here, but ironically the button to facilitate that is not working. Who coded your website, Jon Stewart? THE GOVERNMENT?
Essentially it showcased news outlets reporting on this technical glitch including footage of NBC reporter Mara Schiavocampo who was put on hold for over fifteen minutes when she called the help line. Fifteen whole minutes. Can you even believe that? It then cut to Jon’s face and his knowing smirk where it paused for effect, and then it showed a picture of people camping outside a movie theater. We are a culture, he pointed out, who will sleep outside for three days in order to see a movie about shirtless werewolves, BUT DO NOT MAKE ME WAIT 15 GODDAMN MINUTES FOR LIFE-SAVING HEALTH COVERAGE.
Over the last couple of months I’ve received no less than 200 reminders from my insurance provider that it will cease to exist on December 31, 2013 and that if I do not buy coverage that is offered through the government exchange I will no longer be covered after that date. This means that I have to find Leta new coverage as well. The two of us couldn’t qualify for private insurance, but because we’re lucky enough to live in a state that has a high risk pool for people with pre-existing conditions, we were able to purchase very high-premium, high-deductible, pretty much just catastrophic insurance.
Marlo qualified for a private insurance policy because she was not born with a pre-existing condition. She was also lucky enough that her birthday occurred before insurance companies dropped individual plans for children altogether when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. Totally dick move on the part of healthcare companies if you ask me OR ANYONE ELSE WHO CARES ABOUT CHILDREN.
The high risk pool that covers me and Leta is now going away, and when I researched the plans that would be offered in the exchange, I was very happy to find out that I will be able to purchase far better insurance for far less money. Not only I will be saving hundreds of dollars a month on health insurance for both me and Leta, but we will also both have dental coverage. My new plan will also cover mental health, something my old plan must have regarded as an imaginary condition considering how much I have paid out of pocket to see my therapist and psychiatrist over the last eight years.
Is it frustrating that I cannot yet sign up for this new coverage? Sure. Technical difficulties are never fun. But this is far less terrifying than being in the highest carriage on a ferris wheel when the motor suddenly breaks. I get the feeling that those of us who have been paying insane premiums and deductibles, those of us who couldn’t afford those premiums and have lived under the threat of medically-induced bankruptcy, we’re used to dealing with frustration far more intense. The website won’t load? Okay, I’ll try it again in an hour. And if I still can’t access it? I’ll keep trying. And then I’ll try again. A fifteen minute wait on the phone? I’ll use the time I’m on hold to do an impromptu square dance in the kitchen BECAUSE MY CHILD AND I FINALLY GET ACCESS TO AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE YES MY CAPS LOCK GOT STUCK TODAY. Mara Schiavocampo, I would like to invite you to a special dance in my kitchen. Refreshments will be served.