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Viewpoint: Obamacare imperfect, but prevails over alternative

By Carol Turnbull 

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It also is the month our family member was murdered by her husband, some years ago - along with her three little daughters. Sandy, Amanda, Sierra, Victoria. Four little plaques set by four urns of ashes, at an awful burial on a cold windy Kansas day. I’ve written about Sandy before. But this is about the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and the unconscionable bullying by a minority of the minority party in Congress - thus shutting government down. Hopefully by the time this appears in print, they will have come to their senses and everybody will be back in business. One can hope.

Of course Obamacare needs tweaking, glitch-fixing, whatever. So did Social Security and Medicare. So does any program of any magnitude, when first rolled out. But holding the whole country, including our economy and credit rating, hostage in this manner - over legislation already passed by Congress, signed into law, upheld by the Supreme Court, whose author was handily re-elected, and which is already partly implemented - I believe is the most undemocratic and unconstitutional act I’ve ever seen.

Sandy had two adorable girls. Both parents were working; money was tight, but they got by. Then she changed jobs, to work at a convenience store - not a great job, but it provided them health insurance. Shortly afterward, she found she was again pregnant, but no problem - she had health insurance. It turned into an “at-risk pregnancy,” and she was hospitalized for weeks. The baby arrived early, and was also in the hospital for weeks. But, no problem - she had that health insurance. Except that since her baby, being premature, was delivered less than nine months after the date her policy took effect, her insurance company deemed the pregnancy a “pre-existing condition” and denied all coverage.

They had an enormous medical bill on their hands, which they tried valiantly to pay down. Her parents helped when they could. The hospital hounded them unmercifully until - with $30,000 left to pay - they were forced to file for bankruptcy. But after that, things continued downhill. One black night the husband picked up a gun and ended the lives of the entire family.

Medical bills, or bankruptcy filings, do not of themselves push someone over the edge, of course. But they certainly contribute to an already stressful situation. (So does easy access to a gun.) These young parents were not “leeches” or “deadbeats.” They thought they were following the rules - except that in the case of our existing insurance industry, the rules have not been weighted in our favor any more than they are when we gamble at the casino. And those who would attempt a coup of our government in order to harm the president, or impress their constituents, or whatever their personal agenda, are really harming the Sandys of the world and are just thugs.

The provision in Obamacare denying insurance companies the right to turn an applicant down because of a pre-existing condition has, of course, already been implemented. Would to God that Sandy had had Obamacare.

Turnbull is a Woodbury resident