Today marks the first day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Ironically, it is also the first day that millions of uninsured Americans are able to shop for health insurance through the new Health Insurance Marketplace at www.healthcare.gov.
The Tea Party Republicans have been pushing a shutdown of the federal government today in protest of the new healthcare law. Hopefully they will not be able to follow through on their threats. Not sure what this would mean for everyday people like you and me? Click here to read exactly what agencies and services would come to a halt. Whether you agree with the new healthcare reforms or not, a government shutdown is not a good thing.
What exactly does the new site provide? If you don't have medicare or other insurance, you will be able to shop for plans at the bronze, silver, gold, and platinum levels. All plans at each level will offer the same coverage but may have different copays and premiums. How much you pay will be based on your income, family size, etc. The government will be paying the difference to the insurance companies.
As one of more than 40 million hard working uninsured Americans, I will be logging in this evening after work to see what kind of rates I can get for my kids and myself. I lost my insurance and my job due to the recession when my employer permanently closed the doors of our business just after Christmas last year. I was extremely blessed to find a new job quickly but I now have no benefits through my employer and have not been able to afford insurance on my own. My family doesn't qualify for any government assistance programs like Medicaid or Food Stamps due to my income, but my income isn't much and I am a single mom. When I burned my arm earlier this year, I didn't see a doctor. When I broke my hand (and I didn't need an x-ray to know it was broken) I also didn't see a doctor. My daughter went a month without her prescription medication at one point this year because I couldn't pay for it. And none of us have seen a dentist since my insurance lapsed.
So you won't see me supporting the government shutdown or arguing with government sponsored healthcare. Most of the civilized world did this before us with much success. There is always room for improvement and the system may or not end up needing to be tweeked and adjusted, but overall I see this as a step in the right direction.
One last thing...to all those who are moaning and groaning about having to pay for this with your taxes...have a heart for others. Look around and see that this isn't about the people who refuse to work and expect a handout. This program is for the Americans who are busting their butts every day trying to support their families on minimum wage or a little better, making the products you use every day, repairing the car you drive, driving the nails that hold up the new house you just bought, answering phones when you call to complain to some company about something relatively unimportant, running the checkout when you go shopping. Imagine a life without any of those people. Better yet, imagine your life with their paycheck. If you still disagree with the reform, okay, but make sure your decision isn't selfish and self-righteous.