As we hoisted champagne flutes in the first seconds of 2014, my partner and I toasted all the usual things people do as they look ahead to the coming year. Health. Happiness. Love. Optimism. Hope.
To that traditional list, we added one more: Obamacare. My husband, Miles, was enrolled in what appeared to be an excellent, affordable plan at the stroke of midnight. Celebration seemed in order.
It had been a tough slog, of course. We’d worried the GOP would succeed in defunding it or undermining it in some other way that would put affordable coverage further out of our reach. Then we’d wrestled with that horrific website, struggled to understand the choices before us and waited nervously after we did so to see if the insurance card would actually materialize. It did.
On Jan. 1, we rejoiced. And on Jan. 10, we gave up.
Ten days in, we decided to cancel Miles’ Obamacare plan, swallow hundreds of dollars we’ll probably never recover and buy him a private policy away from the Federal Health Insurance Exchange Marketplace. His new plan does benefit from many requirements of the Affordable Care Act as well, so that’s good.
But even the administrators at Obamacare’s headquarters have agreed this is the best option. Really.
That’s not how it was supposed to be. After dozens of hours of phone calls that displaced my usual work obligations this week, only one thing is clear: Nobody can give anybody a straight or consistent answer to anything.
Our troubles may strike some as trivial and particular, although they wouldn’t if it happened to them. And anyone who wants a successful system – as we do – must understand that these nightmares are happening across the nation to the very people who want Obamacare to work.
Most just don’t have a way to tell the world.
In the summer of 2013, Miles and I, both 41 years old, quit our jobs in Washington. Miles was a producer at WJLA, the ABC affiliate in Washington D.C., but he longed to return to school for a new degree and a different career. I was at POLITICO realizing that my life as a freelance journalist was far more engaging, empowering and lucrative than chronicling the petty, overly intertwined worlds of D.C. politics and journalism.
Even a year earlier, it would have been unthinkable for Miles to walk away from a proper job. He has pre-existing conditions. None are life-threatening or unmanageable, but one requires expensive medication.