Obamacare is a disastrous nightmare for America. It is legislation most of us did not want. It is legislation that got passed in the dead of night when our president, Barack Hussein Obama, fancied himself King. Okay, he still does…but back then – with The House and Senate in his pocket – he wielded a lot more power and wasn’t afraid to abuse it. By now, I’d like to believe that most Americans are aware of the negative repercussions of this contradiction-of-terms, so-called healthcare that is nothing more than a clumsily orchestrated attempt at income redistribution. What I fear most folks don’t know about Obamacare, though, is that for some, like Julie, a 45-year old nurse from Jacksonville Beach, Florida, it is a triple-edged sword: it not only cost her her job because it is an inherently costly job-killer, but made her the victim of workplace harassment, and forced her onto to the Obamacare rolls.
Who is Julie? Julie is a patriotic, American woman from very humble Appalchian beginnings who put herself through college, took nothing from anyone, and made a fulfilling career for herself as a home healthcare nurse. Julie is also a person of Native American decent who could easily have put her hand out to grab a share of all the goodies being doled out like candy by the Obama Administration – but didn’t – and won’t.
As bad timing would have it, Julie was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2009, right prior to the passage of Obamacare in 2010. That’s when things really began to go noticeably downhill for Julie who found herself squarely in the crosshairs of the hospital’s budgetary bow.
Julie is a very bright, very insightful woman, who saw what was happening early on. She could see the changes taking place, the way both patients and employees were treated…nothing was quite the same as it had been pre-Obamacare. For example, Julie noticed that an inordinate number of her patients began stockpiling drugs. She also witnessed patients die for no good reason. Things then took a more ominous turn for Julie when she herself began to receive some unwarranted, unwanted treatment that took her by storm. But why would she be treated this way, she wondered? She’d been an exemplary employee. She couldn’t help but wonder if this, too, had anything – or everything – to do with Obamacare.
Although Julie dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s, that is, she filed under the FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) in order to be able to take the time she’d need to address her MS concerns when they arose, it was upon her return from breast cancer surgery that she began getting bullied out of her job. Her work hours were reduced to nine per week and her patient territory revoked. She’d politely pleaded with her employer to give her more hours when the other nurses complained of work overload, but her requests fell on deaf ears. Julie was, in fact, well enough to work – and had the medical documentation to prove it.
In July 2013, things took a turn for the worse when, upon renewing her ‘reasonable accommodation letter’ as required under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), Julie was asked to ‘go out on PRN’. In nurse jargon, this means she was being asked to relinquish her position as a full time nurse to that of a per diem, and, as a result, give up her medical benefits too. This was tantamount to pushing Julie out the door, and she knew it. Without medical benefits, how on earth would she be able to stay? So she refused. Next thing she knew, she was being told that she was “too sick to work” and involuntarily put out on short term disability.
With no job and a meager disability check, Julie had to fork over most of her earnings to keep her medical benefits under COBRA (Continuing Omnibus Budget Rehabilitation Act). She had no money to speak of to pay her other bills – like the rent. In a state of utter discombobulation, Julie scrambled to find a job while trying to ward off the debilitating effects of depression, anxiety, and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). The reality began to sink in that she was virtually unemployable. She transitioned onto long term disability while desperately attempting to figure out what the heck she was going to do to survive. Regardless of what would come her way, she knew that Obamacare, the monster that ate her job, was the same monster she’d be forced to turn to for survival. Talk about a slap in the face.
As soon as Julie could peel her dwindling self out of bed as to not miss the sign-up deadline, she took to Healthcare.gov on Christmas Eve to beat the registration deadline. It was bad enough that it was Christmas Eve. For Julie, this was, by far, not the most wonderful time of the year. Nevertheless, there she went, off on her magical Healthcare.gov journey to purchase some of best healthcare any American could ever hope to have.
Julie spent two hours on the phone that first day when, after learning that while the cost of a platinum plan would be far less than the cost of COBRA, she did not qualify for subsidies. No subsidies for someone jobless who’d barely made a living wage for 2013? Then – as if this all wasn’t enough to have Julie contemplating suicide – and she did so day in and day out – she was told that Obamacare DOES NOT COVER HER MS DRUGS! At that moment, she was sure she had been “death paneled”. The frightening reality of looking death in the face had hit her like a ton of bricks; she recognized that it was people like her, with steep medical costs, who would be sacrificed at the alter of what is now the beginning of American socialized medicine. With this horrifying prospect hanging over her life like the Grim Reaper, right before she was able to sell her soul to the devil, the system went down. Julie wanted to scream; she’d all but given up by then.
Eventually, after countless hours with numerous navigators, Julie got signed up and paid in full. But that wasn’t the end of it. Although the deal was supposedly sealed with Florida Blue Cross Blue Shield, Julie still, as of mid-January, cannot use her benefits because her insurance company has failed to issue her an ID card, claiming she never paid! And so, it remains to be seen as to whether Julie will get to see her doctor anytime soon, a doctor, by the way, she is still wondering whether or not she can keep. And the irony of it all? Julie’s doctor fled Canada to free himself from the grips of socialized medicine. Nevertheless, up until now, he remains the only bright spot for her in what has proven to be nothing short of a horror show.
Teresa Zerilli-Edelglass is one of the newest members of the Super Duper News Ninja Team. She is the author of the explosive new book: Thrown Under The Bus: The Rise And Fall Of An American Worker, a tell-all, cautionary tale for all patriotic Americans!