Obamacare and Brain Tumors


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This article disturbs me: Brain Tumor Survivor Just Got an Obamacare Surprise.  Why? Initially it seemed that Obamacare would be a big help for brain tumor patients by doing away with insurance denials based on preexisting conditions and reducing health care costs.  Now, at least one of these perceived benefits has evaporated.

Obamacare is the popular nickname for the Affordable Care Act.   Based on the name alone, it is logical to expect health care costs to decrease.  However, this story reminds us that the only thing that has happened is that insurance coverage has been rendered available and affordable, not that the overall cost of health care has decreased.

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Amanda Pratt, a survivor of a fist-sized, did see her monthly premiums go down $14, an annual savings of $168.  But then, the other shoe dropped: her copay for a visit to a doctor increased $30 and her copay for prescriptions went up $20.  Now, I do happen to know a bit about brain tumors and it is quite likely that she has at least one related medication that has to be filled monthly.  That alone puts her in the red, totaling $240 a year.  It’s not unreasonable to expect at least 2 visits to a doctor a year related to her brain tumor, which brings us up to $300.  At least one MRI a year adds increased costs of $1,400 so that the new total is $1,700.

So, her “Obamacare surprise” is that she traded $1,700 to get a $168 premium reduction.  And that’s not the whole negative impact on her, much more is described in the article.  This makes me wonder how many more of the 612,000 Americans living with a brain tumor are facing the same thing.  For that matter, how many more Americans living with cancer will get the same surprise?

Now I understand why so many people were opposed to Obamacare,  Says Amanda: “The Affordable Care Act in general, I think, it’s a great idea, but the road to hell is paved in good intentions.”

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