corrielle: (McCoy Quote)
[personal profile] corrielle
I'm going to rant about the ACA and media now. Feel free to scroll on past. I try to stay away from posting about politics, mostly, but I'm writing this down because I want to remember. This was the day that I, a liberal, left-leaning queer woman, convinced my mother, a wonderful, compassionate, life-long Republican, that maybe, just maybe, Obamacare might not be a cause for fear and uncertainty.

I called my mom on the drive home from class yesterday, like I try to do every so often to let her know I'm thinking about her and catch up on our lives, and in the course of sharing family news, mom mentioned that my cousin is now working for one of the state health exchanges. Ant that meant that we eventually got onto the topic of Obamacare. Now, I usually avoid discussing politics with my family like most people avoid rabid squirrels. Not because we get into shouting matches, but because I haven't yet mastered the art of arguing respectfully with people I'm hard-wired to defer to. However, if I had to talk politics with someone, it would be Mom. She's thoughtful and a good listener, even when she doesn't agree with what's being said.

My decision about whether to open my big mouth was really made for me when, in the course of the conversation, Mom said something to the tune of, "You know, because of all of this stuff about the insurance policy cancellations, your dad and I decided not to change our policy, even though our insurance broker told us we could get a policy with the same benefits for [ridiculous amount of money] less a month. Right now, I think we're grandfathered in to the new law, and I don't want that to change because we bought new insurance."

My jaw literally fell open. I was now faced with a choice. Attempt to convince my mother that Obamacare wasn't causing companies to cancel policies willy-nilly, or let my parents, who are both retired, keep paying [ridiculous amount of money x 12] a year more for their insurance. The part of me that needs to start looking out for her parents as they age stepped up and decided that a little bit of discomfort on my part was worth it.

"Mom..." I said carefully, "You know why those policies are being cancelled, right?"

She didn't. So I told her about how the policies that were cancelled were the ones that didn't meet the standards of coverage for the act. I told her that the only people who were getting cancellation notices were the ones who had the sub-standard policies. Which is nice if you had a really crappy policy, and crappy if you had a policy which just barely missed meeting the standard. I told her I was pretty sure it was illegal to sell NEW non-compliant policies, and that just in case I was wrong, that any good health insurance broker should be able to tell her if a plan he's trying to sell is compliant with the new law. And she listened.

"So the only policies that are getting canceled are the ones that are now illegal," she said when I was done explaining.

"Yep. And a lot, but not all, of those people are going to be able to get something just as good if not better on those exchanges like the one Cousin works for."

"Well THAT makes sense. I wish someone had just TOLD ME THAT," she said, exasperated. "There was an 'Obamacare 101' article in the newspaper, but it didn't say anything about why the policies were getting cancelled. I just knew it was happening and people were worried."

I told her that was because she lives in one of the most heavily Republican counties in California. And then I ranted about the spread of bad information for a while. She let me rant, and she made sympathetic noises once in the appropriate places.

And THEN, she says, "Well, you know your dad and I buy the best supplemental insurance we can get... So you think a new plan like that is compliant?"

If I hadn't been driving, I would have smacked my forehead. I had forgotten that my parents like to have LOTS of coverage. OF COURSE they're buying the best health plan they can afford. And if that new, cheaper plan isn't compliant with the law, I'll eat my shoe.

"I should think any policy that good would be..." I told her. "But seriously, Mom. Go ask. You call that insurance broker back and find out. Because [ridiculous amount of money x 12] is not small amount."

"I should do that next week, shouldn't I..."

"Yes, mother. You should. You can thank me later when you're counting your extra money."

That made her laugh.

What really gets me here is that because of the "OH GOD EVERYONE'S POLICY IS IN DANGER ALERT ALERT HEALTH CARE SYSTEM OVER" rhetoric that's going around, my parents, who are well-educated and (I thought) decently well-informed retirees, are afraid to a change over to a policy that would save them enough to pay for a year of college tuition in some states. It made me furious on my parents' behalf, and on the behalf of other people like them who are making fear-based choices because they aren't paying ridiculously close attention to the nuances of the story. Because not all of those people have a news-junkie of a daughter looking out for them.
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