Being on Obamacare has, for me, been a first-rate education. Before I chose my own plan off of my state’s exchange, I had always been fortunate enough to receive quality health care through my employers, insurance that came with neither deductibles nor drama, and as a consequence I knew remarkably little about the realities of the health-care industry. I lived in a state of comfortable innocence when it came to real costs.
Much of the political inertia on health care in this country came from exactly that state of comfortable innocence. If a person likes his plan and his doctor, and if he himself has not yet been forced into bankruptcy because of ever-escalating bills, why then should that person believe the system at large needed work? And yet a system can be terrific for an individual and terrible for a country overall.
That’s what my experience of being pregnant on Obamacare for almost 24 weeks now have taught me. Well, one of the many things. I’ve learned what a storefront lab in Bensonhurst charges for an ultrasound ($500) and what a hospital in Park Slope charges for a test that determines one’s blood type, even when one is already on file at that very hospital as O-negative ($350). Most importantly, and this is something I was never taught in any classroom: Being on Obamacare has helped me learn that, as a patient, I have to be difficult. If I am respectful and deferential, the way my parents raised me to be around people in general but especially authority figures, I will end up broke. I cannot assume that authority figures will not take advantage of me. Not with any malice, either, only because it is what The System perversely incentivizes them to do.