Editors note: Though the Affordable Care Act has been addressed on a national level, people in and around Wapello County have serious concerns. The Ottumwa Courier will continue to share periodic, localized articles as the story develops.
OTTUMWA — Next time Barack Obama visits Ottumwa, he might have some explaining to do.
"For the first time in my life, I feel ashamed of my government," said Allison Kale of Ottumwa.
Kale works full time, though she makes just enough to pay her bills. She's had some serious health problems, but her salary level qualified her for the IowaCare program, which provides health care for low-income Iowans.
Though not a perfect system (Ottumwa residents need to go to Iowa City for any doctor visit), Kale said she appreciated the program, which was fine for her needs. Upcoming changes mean that IowaCare ends Dec. 31, she said.
"I received notification, 'You will need to apply for other coverage.' So they told me to go the Affordable Care Act website and get my own insurance. I've got on the website. I started at 3 p.m. and they kept on saying they had technical difficulties. By 11 p.m. I had the quote."
She was hoping it was affordable.
"The cheapest thing I was quoted was $279 per month, with a $6,300 deductible," Kale said. "Then they pay half."
She wasn't happy. But the rule is, you must apply no later than Dec. 15.
"My money is gone at the end of the month," she said, "where am I supposed to get that?"
She's started trying to figure out what she's going to cut each month.
"I just sat at the computer and cried. I could not believe what they quoted me. It's not 'affordable' by any stretch of the imagination."
Troy Morgan had better luck — eventually.