Locals weigh in on Health Care Reform

By Kelly Gibbs | gargoyle@flagler.edu

Carol DiSalvo thinks the new Health Care Reform will be a welcome blessing to her and her husband.

For many in St. Augustine, the newly passed reform is imposing long-awaited changes to the current health care system in the U.S.

DiSalvo has been working in a small local bistro for the past two years.

“I got Graves’ disease about three years ago and ever since then, it’s been impossible for me to get insured,” DiSalvo said.

According to Womenshealth.gov, Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease that causes over-activity of the thyroid gland.

DiSalvo went to see a doctor about a small bump on her arm. “[The doctor] said it’s not related to my disease, nothing to worry about,” she said. “Next thing I know, it’s on my record as a pre-existing condition.”

DiSalvo was on her husband’s company plan before the recession. Then, about a year ago, his company discontinued the health insurance plan for its employees.

According to HealthCareReform.gov, insurance companies will no longer be able to refuse coverage because of a person’s medical history or health risk and will be held accountable for unreasonable hike of rates.

“We had COBRA [insurance,] but after we were let go,” DiSalvo said, “we haven’t been able to get any kind of coverage.”

HealthCareReform.gov also reports that although there is no mandate in the new legislation for employers to have insurance for employees, small businesses will get tax breaks for having employees insured.

“I’m in my 50s and this kind of thing is important to me because I can’t afford to be without health care,” DiSalvo said. “Younger people may not be as concerned as I am.”

This statement may be true for some, but for Christopher Woods, 29, mandatory health insurance is a major concern.

“I don’t know if I would be able to pay even $50 a month for health insurance,” Woods said.

Woods, a full-time student in Jacksonville, is working 35 to 40 hours a week in St. Augustine. He voices concern about being able to pay even the minimum payments for now mandatory health care coverage.

The reform will obligate everyone to be covered under some type of plan. People making under $44,000 may be able to receive subsidized insurance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan health group.

The bill will start allowing students to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26. However, the leftover costs are still a hardship for many.

Rachael Cosgrove, 21, is a student living and working in St. Augustine. She recently underwent corrective knee surgery after a dance-related injury.

“I got a free MRI because my step-dad is a radiologist,” Cosgrove said. “Even though I’m under his plan, which covers 85 percent of the costs, I still have to pay almost $3,000 in bills, most of which are just for taking up a bed in the hospital for six hours.”

More from Health Care 101:

  • The Top 5 Things to Know About the Health Care Reform:

    One thing that anyone — not just students — should know about the Health Care Reform bill is that it will affect them now, in September and then permanently in 2014. These are the top five things that an 18 to 26-year-old should know.

  • Video: What students think about Health Care Reform:

    Flagler students voiced their concerns on Health Care Reform. Kyle Rogers doesn’t want others to have pay for him. Jonathan Hooper fears universal health care. Ryan Palm thinks the U.S. is behind the curve.

  • Opinion: New health care bill is a victory for corporate power

    Back when Liberal Democrats actually had spines, President Franklin D. Roosevelt made a proposal during his final State of the Union address for a “Second Bill of Rights.” Roosevelt thought the civil liberties guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights could not by themselves give economic equality to the American people.

  • Opinion: Health care is not a right; it’s a service

    We have all heard President Obama say he thinks health care should be a right for every American. I don’t think the government should be in the business of mandating the purchase of any good or service.

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