Guest Post By Steve Kurlander
After Obamacare’s very rocky implementation, there are more and more Americans signing up for health insurance.
President Obama recently announced that many more people signed up on Obamacare exchanges than expected — over 9 million Americans to be exact.
That confirmed a Gallup Poll that found that close to 10 million people signed up for Obamacare. More than 4 percent of all Americans obtained health insurance for the first time.
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But while more Americans may be getting insured under Obamacare, they are paying more out of pocket for such coverage. According to the Commerce Department, consumer spending has climbed $20.4 billion during the last year and Obamacare accounted for $13 billion of that.
That out-of-pocket expense may not only cause financial ruin for those with health coverage, but it might be the factor that causes their death.
While debate continues in Washington and the national media about whether Obamacare will improve Americans’ health care, for the middle class, particularly the self-employed, there’s true economic danger in getting sick today.
Health insurance is not only getting more expensive, but the cost of being sick is soaring. Even with insurance, some sick people incur enormous debt.
On my radio show, I recently interviewed four very dedicated volunteers who run organizations and events dedicated to financially assisting cancer victims.
They raise money to help cancer victims meet expenses not covered by health insurance. They help families fill up gas tanks to drive to treatment centers, pay the heating or utility bills, and even assist them in shopping for food. Unlike many not-for-profit charities, these ladies don’t keep a penny for office and fundraising expenses.
In a nutshell, after listening to them, here’s what’s really wrong with the way our health-care system is evolving: Those receiving Medicaid and Medicare get their transportation and basic living costs covered by the government. Even addicts get free rides for their clinics.
But such expenses, which can add up to thousands of dollars a month, come out of pocket if you are middle class.
During the broadcast, all these great women pointed toward the crushing expense of those who have health coverage. Some sick people had to decide whether to have their electric shut off or give their kids lunch money. Some decided to go to work, even though they were terribly ill.
Some cancer victims died without treatment, even with health insurance, because they could not afford the non-medical costs of being so sick.
One of volunteers, who lost her daughter to a rare form of cancer, described how she made daily trips with her for treatment to Sloan Kettering in New York City. Like many cancer victims suffering from rare forms of the illness, the daughter had to trek hundreds of miles a day to centers where specialists practice.
The mother had to pay for parking, food, co-pays and other expenses. Her daughter’s treatment cost hundreds of dollars a day.
Her experience is becoming, shamefully, more and more common for middle class Americans.
So while the president and those in favor of universal health care tout the initial success of covering more Americans with health insurance, it’s a false reality.
When it comes to those bearing the brunt of paying for Obamacare, more and more are facing financial ruin and even death under the current system.
That’s something that’s not being touted very loudly in Washington these days.