Cost savings and the newly insured show how the ACA is changing people’s lives.
If you want to see the Affordable Care Act (ACA) at work, stand behind a pharmacy counter. That’s what Desirae Clayborn does, and she’s seen nothing but positive experiences.
Clayborn is a pharmacy technician and is studying to be a pharmacist. She admits that when the ACA was first being introduced, customers were “freaking out” despite the pharmacy’s efforts to educate them.
“Before it even started, people just assumed it would be expensive. They were so terrified about the change,” she says. But Clayborn has seen their assumptions proven wrong.
I haven’t noticed anything negative about people changing their insurance plans. The medications people were taking before are still covered, at close to the same amount or even less. Some people come in expecting to pay and find there’s no co-pay. Everyone seems incredibly satisfied with how their plans are working.
One customer’s story was especially meaningful for Clayborn. A woman in her 40s came into the pharmacy with tears in her eyes, because she was so excited to be filling a prescription for the first time in her adult life.
After proudly handing me her insurance information, she made it a point to tell me that she had just returned from a physical — something that she hadn’t had the opportunity to do since she was a child. The grateful look in this woman’s eyes is something I will never forget.
She was in tears because she could finally be treated for chronic conditions she didn’t even know she had. If she hadn’t been to the doctor’s office, she never would have known. The conditions weren’t life-threatening yet, but the Affordable Care Act could have potentially added years to her life.
The customer’s co-pay was less than $10, which Clayborn says the woman was “ecstatic” about.
Clayborn knows personally how expensive healthcare can be. An accident left her brother, Drew, a quadriplegic. His hospital bill for just the first four weeks was $1 million. Four and a half years later, he’s in college and living a full life from his wheelchair, but still requires around-the-clock care.
“He’s on a ventilator and needs nursing care, but my family doesn’t have to pay $20 an hour for that because it’s covered by insurance,” Clayborn says. “The bills keep coming. I don’t know what we would have done without insurance.”
But Clayborn also sees the bigger picture of why the ACA is important to every American.
In a wealthy country like America, it’s astounding to me that there are people who have never been to the doctor, who can’t afford care. Everyone should have equal access to the necessities, including healthcare.
Some people are only thinking about how the ACA impacts them individually. But this isn’t just about one person. It’s something that’s good for the whole country. People get so caught up in the politics that they lose sight of what’s really important.
The Affordable Care Act isn’t a political thing. It’s a people thing.
[Photo Credit: Selessa Holmberg | Selessa Studio]