“I am a single mom, no child support, self-employed, and I haven’t had insurance for 15 years because it’s too expensive,” President Obama said, reading from a letter he received from Jessica Sanford, a Washington State woman, during an Oct. 21 speech in the White House Rose Garden.
“My son has ADHD and requires regular doctor visits and his meds alone cost $250 per month,” the president continued, reading Sanford’s words. “Now, finally we get to have coverage because of the [Affordable Care Act] for $169 per month. I was crying the other day when I signed up. So much stress lifted.”
The president said Sanford’s success story was “not untypical for a lot of folks” who have struggled without health insurance. Despite the problems plaguing HealthCare.gov, he said, the law itself was benefiting people.
But her joy ended there.
Soon after signing up for the health plan, Sanford was informed the state made a mistake calculating her tax credit. Three days after the president delivered his speech, a notice arrived from the Washington state health exchange with her new monthly premium: $280 a month for a “gold” plan.
Despite the error and significantly higher price, she decided to continue purchasing the insurance.
Then more bad news arrived.
Sanford received another notice from the state last week informing her they had once again erred while calculating her tax credit. This time, her health premium soared to $390 per month for a “silver” plan with a higher deductible — a price she simply couldn’t afford.
Once again, she was reduced to tears.
“I had a good cry,” she told CNN. “This is it. I’m not getting insurance. That’s where it stands right now unless they fix it.”
Now the single mom and her son are left without health insurance, and under the Affordable Care Act, face a $95 penalty.
Sanford, who twice voted for Obama, says she isn’t angry at the president for her insurance problems, and instead blames the state of Washington.
“I am so incredibly disappointed and saddened,” she wrote on the state health exchange Facebook page. “You majorly screwed up.”
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