October 21 2013
President Obama must have felt a warm surge of memory of those halcyon days on the campaign trail when women swooned and fainted in his presence this morning in the Rose Garden.
But Karmel Allison, the woman who nearly fainted during the president’s remarks on the ObamaCare rollout, wasn’t felled by the excitement of being in the president’s presence. Ms. Allison has Type 1 diabetes, which explains she might be an ObamaCare customer--also probably why she swooned. Nobody flanking the president during his remarks, it should be noted, had actually completed the enrollment process. They were merely hopeful that ObamaCare might provide benefits. Byron York has a terrific column on this.
Since Ms. Allison has Type 1 diabetes, we can infer that she was diagnosed as a child or young adult and that she is insulin-dependent. It is easy to see why Ms. Allison is giving a serious look at ObamaCare. She might actually have the fortitude to get past the "glitches" on Healthcare.gov and sign up. She has motivation. But to succeed, ObamaCare must have healthy young people, people who will pay expensive premiums but, unlike Ms. Allison, won’t require much from the system any time soon. We sympathize with Karmel Allison, who faces a serious, hereditary illness not brought on by poor life choices, but in a way, she was the worst person to present this morning.
I’d also like to know more about Ms. Allison’s ObamaCare potential options. Some people, should they manage to sign up, will find that what they have isn’t as beneficial as they had hoped. Jim Geraghty crunches some numbers:
The good news about buying the insurance is that you get health insurance. The bad news is that insurance may not be all that great, once you calculate the premiums, co-pays, and deductibles.
The census offers us some data on the uninsured: About a quarter of uninsured households make less than $25,000 per year; about 20 percent make between $25,000 and $50,000; about 15 percent make between $50,000 and $75,000, and about 8 percent make more than $75,000.
The Kaiser Family Foundation offers a subsidy calculator; I plugged in a single mom, two kids, non-tobacco user, age 30, making $30,000. A family with not much loose change to spare, right?
The calculator said that s silver plan for that household, after subsidies, would cost that mom $1,250 – 4.7 percent of the family’s household income. The mom could get a bronze plan, which costs only $206 per year, but that plan covers only 60 percent of health care costs. In other words, the cheapest option for this cash-strapped single mom is to buy the cheapest plan and then never use it, since she’ll be on the hook for 40 percent of her health care costs – and we’re not even getting into the issues of co-pays and deductibles.
But of course, at this point, most families aren’t there yet. Even Consumer Reports is urging consumers to stay away from Healthcare.gov for the time being.