The public was more sour on Obamacare in November, when Donald Trump was elected President. About 45% had a negative view of it then, against 43% with a positive one, Kaiser says.
Here’s what some people told CNN about how they say current health care laws affected them:
Florida resident Ashley Ruiz is grateful for Obamacare regulations and safety-net spending, not least because of otherwise crushing costs for her special-needs son.
A Medicaid-funded program fully covers Jackson, 4, because he is disabled, with a rare skull deformity and adrenal problems. He received more than $250,000 worth of care in his first 6 months, including removal of part of his skull. Another surgery put bone grafts and titanium plates in his head.
He sees dozens of specialists on a yearly basis for the deformity alone, and receives therapy for autism.
It’s unclear how Medicaid recipients would be affected. But Ruiz, a 29-year-old divorced mother of two, is concerned.
“I don’t think people understand that when you deal with a special needs child — once you are able to find a plan that covers you, it’s such a precious commodity. I think the fear for me and any parent like me is that there’s a potential that would be ripped away.”
She works at a small business that gives her flexibility to care for Jackson and her older son. But the job offers no insurance, so she has no coverage.
Melanie Brightwell: Obamacare failed me
Melanie Brightwell says she can’t afford individual insurance through the federally run exchange and keeps getting rejected for Medicaid despite making less than $12,000 annually.
Brightwell, 52, of Georgia’s Peachtree City area, says she had a full-time job and insurance, but received medical services worth more than $1 million in the last two years she was insured, including two major abdominal surgeries. She was laid off in 2015, months after her last operation, from her job as a sales assistant for a media group.
She now works part time, not yet able to land something full time. The cheapest monthly premiums for individual insurance she’s found, she said, ranged from $250 to $400, which she can’t afford.
Brightwell shares living expenses with her retired mother. She says Georgia won’t explain why it rejects her for Medicaid; she has retirement savings, which she says she’s tapped twice for car repairs. She visits discount clinics for occasional checkups, but cannot afford to see specialists recommended for her conditions.
“I was promised every American would get coverage, regardless of income,” she said of Obamacare. “Didn’t happen.”
Joshua Grubbs: Obamacare protects my toddler
Grubbs’ 2-year-old son, Brantley, has cystic fibrosis. Current respiratory treatments, specialist visits and prescriptions would cost $60,000 a year without insurance, Grubbs said — but that figure would rise by tens of thousands of dollars should Brantley need hospitalizations or surgeries.
“We do have insurance — good insurance — but we need protections for pre-existing conditions; and because cystic fibrosis is such an expensive disease to treat, we need no lifetime caps,” he said.
Businessman: Obamacare hurt sales, led to job cuts
Andy Furniss says Obamacare hurt his medical equipment business several ways — and had to cut full-time positions as a result.
That cut deeply into revenue for a company hoping to make 5% net sales profits. To adjust, Furniss reined in bulk discounts, but that may have hurt sales volume. The business operated at a loss in 2014.
Furniss cut some full-time positions and stopped research and development for a shoulder product, he said.
He said his business recovered somewhat after the tax was suspended in 2016. The suspension ends in January, so he hopes for a permanent tax repeal.
“You get a helpless feeling. I can deal with competition, but you cannot fight Washington,” he said.