Researching Public Law and Public Policy in the Public Interest

Life in Obamacare’s Dead Zone

From the New York Times:

“I tried to get Obamacare,” Foy recalls. “I called the number, and when the woman told me what it would cost me, I just about dropped the phone. She told me I’d needed to make at least $12,000 a year for there to be any help to make it something I might be able to afford. Which still doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, even now, that having no money meant I got no help when I really needed it.”

She also learned that she could not expect any help from Medicaid, which in her home state remained available only if you fit the criteria sometimes known by the shorthand “poor and” — poor and pregnant, poor and disabled. As a single childless woman, she could forget about it. There was no going to a doctor, even if she felt, as she put it, “like I was falling to pieces inside.”

But then one day she found herself sobbing in front of a nurse and a social worker, members of a team dispatched by the local safety-net clinic to embed themselves in the lives of the uninsured residents of the apartment complex where Foy lived — a grass-roots, door-to-door, last-ditch effort to reach those who would otherwise, as one resident delicately put it, “remain S.O.L.” The team, part of a program called Community-Centered Care, or C3, developed by the Samuel U. Rodgers Clinic of Kansas City in partnership with the Housing Authority of Kansas City and the Truman Medical Center, used their collective expertise to help the uninsured come up with creative interventions for their health concerns, beyond relying on a regimen of studious neglect supplemented with panicked, bankrupting visits to the E.R. Some days that meant knocking on apartment doors and offering on-the-spot blood-pressure readings. Other days it meant arranging for guest speakers to come and lead on-site classes about reducing stress or cooking nutritiously with limited ingredients.

Read this article in its entirety at the New York Times