Q: If my husband’s employer offers health care insurance but it is unaffordable, where does that leave us? Will we qualify for help under Obamacare or will we be out in the cold? We make about $45,000 annually.
A: Apparently, lots of you dislike the health insurance options offered by your employers.
Carrie from the Sacramento suburbs submitted this question, but I’ve received a crush of similar queries from all over the state.
Yahoo ranks all manner of searches in its annual Year in Review: Top Searched Handbags; Top Searched Celebrity Pregnancies.
But here at State of Health, we were much more interested in Yahoo’s Most Searched News Stories — and were thrilled to see that “obamacare (affordable care act)” came in second. That in and of itself wasn’t a huge surprise, because we know Obamacare is a big news story. But it’s who Obamacare beat that was startling: the Royal Baby.
Several times each week, Sharon Wilson, a 53-year-old HIV-positive retired caregiver, takes an hour-long bus ride from her Berkeley home to her clinic in downtown Oakland. Wilson doesn’t mind making the trip, because she says the care she has received there since her diagnosis has saved her life.
Wilson says multiple chronic diseases, including HIV, have made it impossible for her to work. Ensuing financial struggles make managing her disease increasingly difficult.
Rural Californians already have challenges accessing health care and changes to Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program, could further complicate matters.
Rural areas have fewer physicians and facilities and services are spread out over greater distances than they are in urban and suburban areas. Rural areas also have a disproportionately high number of lower-income, Medi-Cal-eligible residents which creates a challenging situation for state health officials charged with providing medical coverage in rural settings.
San Francisco architect Lee Hammack says he and his wife, JoEllen Brothers, are “cradle Democrats.” They have donated to the liberal group Organizing for America and worked the phone banks a year ago for President Obama’s re-election.
Since 1995, Hammack and Brothers have received their health coverage from Kaiser Permanente, where Brothers worked until 2009 as a dietician and diabetes educator. “We’ve both been in very good health all of our lives – exercise, don’t smoke, drink lightly, healthy weight, no health issues, and so on,” Hammack told me.
The floundering roll out of the federal government’s health care exchange has given Republicans plenty of reasons to criticize the Affordable Care Act. But setting aside the online train wreck of healthcare.gov and the cost of expanding health care to millions of Americans, there may also be existential political reasons the GOP hates Obamacare: Voter registration.
It goes back to the 1993 National Voter Registration Act — a.k.a. the Motor Voter act. It requires state agencies that provide public assistance, such as the DMV, must also offer voter registration materials to anyone they help.
Like health care, dental care matters, too. While about 14 percent of Californians lack health insurance, 39 percent lack dental coverage, according to a 2009 brief from the California HealthCare Foundation.
Even if you have dental insurance, it often has coverage limits and varying levels of out-of-pocket spending requirements that differ from health insurance