Obamacare has faced a number of challenges since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. There’s been 50 votes in Congress to defund or repeal it, a Supreme Court challenge and as of today, a government shutdown.
But how does Obamacare, which became operational today, stand up to the Bill Moyers Facebook audience?
We asked our fans who visited the new health insurance marketplace online to share their experiences with us. Here’s what they found.
Insurance … finally
A number of users had said they had already signed up and were grateful to be on their way to having health care coverage for the first time in years.
Here’s what Dolores Rogers wrote on our wall: “It was easy, fast and impressive. I actually made the experience longer than it needed to be just so I could savor the fact that I was making history…and I am going to have health care insurance for the first time since March of 2009.”
Malinda J Bills wrote: “My mom (who is 62) hasn’t had health insurance in 15 years because her work option would be 50 percent of her take home pay – just not affordable. I’m so excited for her to finally be insured. She hasn’t had a mammogram and can’t even see a doctor for her most basic preventative care. Finally – options!!!”
Nancy M. Knapp wrote: “Loving it. When I checked prices back in April, the only thing I could maybe afford had a $10,000 deductible and covered very, very little, for about $424 a month. Now it appears that I can get a really good plan for about $218 a month.”
For many, signing onto the website was a problem, as it was slow given high traffic volume. We received dozens of comments similar to this one by David Corriveau: “Tried to sign on, but site was too busy. Will try later.” Or as Kevin Maness put it: “Hard for me to understand how the website can be so busy when ‘everyone in America wants Obamacare repealed,’ as I keep hearing.”
Others wanted to learn more about the types of plans available but were frustrated that they needed to create an account and share personal information to do so.
“I did go there as I heard conflicting stories about how affordable it really is. Unfortunately, you cannot find out the cost without creating an account and applying. I don’t want to apply or give personal information without knowing what the cost will be,” Kathy Reames said.
A similar sentiment was shared by Peter Young: “Wanted to see it, but it requires a person to log in and establish an account with email. What, just to look! No thanks.”
Some of our fans had contact with people who worked for the online marketplace, healthcare.gov.
John Lippincott of New York had met with a “navigator,” an outreach worker that educates people about Obamacare and helps them sign up.
He said that his navigator had trouble getting onto the New York state website to compare his current insurance to Obamacare, but still the experience was positive.
“She was helpful. Surprisingly, I was the only client there. I’d just missed a workshop which had more people attending … She thought I could get the info I needed in about a week, maybe even by Thursday so I am impressed,” Lippincott said.
Another fan, John Monarchi, called the 24/7 information number (1-800-318-2596) for the health insurance marketplace and had this to say: “I got a helpful representative in less than 15 minutes. He spent 20 minutes on the phone to answer my questions. Was a positive experience. First step is looking good!”
Still, others said that a single payer system, like Medicare, is a better option than Obamacare.
Dave Townsend, who works for Monroe Plan for Medical Care, a health care services organization in New York, had this to say: “Speaking as someone who has worked in healthcare for the past 30 years, we pay much higher prices because of our for profit system. No system is perfect but single payer works well in other countries — overall lower costs and better health outcomes — and everyone is covered.”
Kate Moylan added: “As a Canadian and someone who as a child lived in the US, I completely agree! I’ve never understood the paranoia that Americans feel around this issue. Without equal health care, a nation cannot be a civilization! Every citizen has the right to good health, and at the very least, everyone should pay.
Do you have comments on Obamacare? Share your thoughts below.