WASHINGTON — Despite the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act, Arizona Democrats touted the law’s “many, many positive aspects” and showcased one woman Monday who successfully got health insurance through healthcare.gov.
Tucson retiree Sandy McNabb said on a conference call hosted by state Democrats that the longest part of the process was choosing her plan from among 100 options.
“If I was willing to stay with my current premium level and the reduced deductible it would have been quite easy, I would have just pressed the enroll button,” she said. “But I was excited to have all these choices.”
But a spokesman for the Arizona Republican Party scoffed at the claims, saying the law has been a “total disaster” that denies many in the state their plans of choice.
“There aren’t a lot of happy people out there because of Obamacare,” said Tim Sifert, state GOP spokesman. “Apparently the (Democrats) can find one.”
The back-and-forth came as a survey showed that Americans remain divided on President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, and that their opinions have changed little since the law passed in 2010.
The Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll, published Friday, showed 38 percent of Americans liked the law, compared to 44 percent who viewed it unfavorably.
Though 64 percent of those polled by Kaiser reported having no experience with Obamacare, and 23 percent reported negative experiences, Sifert still called it a “monster” and said Americans are “very unhappy” with it.
But state Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, who joined McNabb and state Sen. Anna Tovar, D-Tolleson, on the conference call, accused Republicans of attacking the health care law “simply because they don’t like the president.”
Tovar said she had to “struggle and fight” for coverage after she was treated for cancer 11 years ago, but said the new law offers “peace of mind” for people with pre-existing conditions.
“Thankfully, today with the affordable healthcare act, many patients will not have to go through” what she went through, Tovar said.
McNabb was one of those people. Limited to costly insurance because she had been prescribed blood pressure medications, McNabb said she was able to find coverage under the new law that she likes better. It will cost her $500 in monthly premiums, compared to the $357 a month she pays now, but she will have better coverage and a deductible of $1,500 — down from $7,500 now.
“My total out-of-pocket expenses are limited to $4,000 as opposed to $10,500 with my current policy,” she said. “If I compare my new policy to my old policy, I’m actually saving potentially about 30 percent … so I am just beaming.”
McNabb admitted the online marketplace was still “kludgy” when she signed on, but that she watched television while waiting for each page to load.
How many Arizonans have been able to register or enroll through the online marketplace is unclear. Some insurers said they are seeing enrollments online in “painfully small numbers,” and others said it’s too early to release enrollment numbers.
One of those offering coverage on the federal exchange, Meritus Health Partners, has had 12 people enroll, said CEO Kathleen Oestreich. Many others are interested, she said, but because they are eligible for federal subsidies they cannot enroll until the website begins working properly.
“The good news is we’re getting files with accurate data,” Oestreich said. “It tells us the system works from end to end, it’s just slow.”
Oestreich said she worries that if it takes too long to fix the site, people will lose patience and won’t sign up. Interest has already fallen off a little since early October, she said.
But Oestreich also said she did not expect an “avalanche” of enrollments in October because customers would still be mulling their options.
“There’s a tremendous amount of competition, so for the consumer it’s even a lot more work because they have a lot more choices and a lot more comparing to do,” Oestreich said.
But Sifert said the health care law limits choice.
“The options have been taken away by the Obama administration,” he said. “All those people that liked their plan and now they can’t have it, that’s been taken away from them.”
- Stretches and exercises for carpal tunnel syndrome
- The best Major League ballparks have their own personality
- Comparing the best regular seasons: The '96 Bulls and '16 Warriors
- 3 Arizona road trips and the vehicles to get you there
- Colon cancer is preventable. Check these signs and symptoms to stay healthy.
- 6 of the biggest skin cancer myths
- Affordable small home makeover ideas
- Locals helping locals: 6 success stories you need to know about
- Sunscreen facts that could save your life
- 6 energy saving hacks for your home
- 5 tips for choosing a company to end your timeshare
- Overlooked water tips to save you money
- 5 of the most adored gentlemen in professional sports today
- The real danger of sitting at your desk
- Most surprising NBA playoff performances of the last 40 years
- 11 classic baseball movies you must see again
- Finally getting rid of fat: 3 methods that actually work
- 4 reasons cancer survivors should focus on food
- 5 spring cleaning spots everyone forgets
- 5 reasons to look forward to watching the D-backs this season
- Common virus attributed to spike in head and neck cancers
- 5 signs it’s time to end your timeshare ownership
- 3 most overlooked ways to keep your home healthy
- 6 ways the air in your home could be making you sick
- CrossFit dangers: 5 common injuries and how to deal with them
- Today's radiation treatments offer better success, fewer side effects
- Tips to make watching TV on the patio even better
- What really happens when you donate to a community college?
- Sun and skin cancer: Separating fact from fiction
- 5 critical lifestyle changes for a healthy colon