Dear President Obama:
I am writing this letter to express my frustration with the ObamaCare healthcare reform. I would like to explain to you how this bill has affected my family and many others like mine. Sometimes I feel like the voices of the working middle class gets lost in the shuffle, so I decided to try to get my voice heard today. I don’t want to be another individual that sits around and complains, but doesn’t do anything about it.
My husband and I are both high school teachers. We were born and raised in Caruthersville, Missouri and we are now teaching at our alma mater. He teaches math, and I teach business/technology courses. I feel that we have done everything by the book. We both graduated high school and went to college. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education with an emphasis in Physical Education (he is now certified to teach math and business as well), and I graduated from The University of Mississippi with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. As soon as I graduated in 2005, I moved to Memphis and began working at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I worked there for almost a year and a half, and then a tornado hit my hometown and completely destroyed my former high school. At that moment, I decided it was time to move home to help my hometown. So, I quit my job and moved back. My husband who was my boyfriend at the time had just gotten a job teaching at Caruthersville High School as an alternative school teacher. I subbed when I could and went back to college at Southeast Missouri State University to get my teaching certification. Believe me, it wasn’t easy living off one income for a solid year, but we made it work. I received my teaching certificate in October 2009, and I have been teaching at Caruthersville High School since August 2011. I took a job at a high school nearby from 2007 to August 2011.
My husband and I waited to get married until July 2007 because we wanted to both be out of college with jobs before walking down the aisle. After we got married, we waited another year to make sure we were financially stable before I got pregnant. Almost a year to the date, I got pregnant with our first baby girl, who was born on March 19, 2009. After having our first child, we both decided that we needed to wait at least two years before having another child due to finances. Having a child put a little extra strain on our monthly budget because we had an extra mouth to feed and clothe. In addition, we had to make sure she had medical insurance. Then, the year 2010 hit and the life we had planned and anticipated suddenly came to a screeching halt.
Let me add a little background information. When my daughter was born, we were told that she “possibly” had a skull abnormality, which caused her to stay in the hospital approximately three extra days. They had to perform several x-rays on her head to determine if her skull was really going to require extensive surgery to fix. My family and I prepared for the worst, but hoped for the best. After all of the tests, we were told that there was absolutely nothing wrong with her skull or head. Her head was just a little misshaped due to her being in the birth canal for so long. We were told that it would eventually straighten out, but it would take some time. They were exactly correct. Her head is perfectly fine now. But, this little misdiagnosis cost my family because it meant my daughter could “potentially” have a pre-existing condition. So, she had to be placed on my expensive group insurance for a year. Then, a year later (August 2010), she was actually able to get her own policy. She made the cut off for getting an individual child healthcare plan by a month. That means that we can’t change anything about her policy, unless we want to drop it. I have already contacted the insurance company about this issue because we aren’t really happy with the current type of plan she is on.
We are very thankful that we were able to get my daughter her own insurance policy, even if we aren’t one hundred percent satisfied with it. If we weren’t able to get her an individual policy, then we would’ve been forced to put her on our school group insurance. This year, our group insurance plan has increased tremendously. My husband and I each pay $125.37 a month, which totals $250.74 each month. I spoke with our insurance rep yesterday and she informed me that she doesn’t see this total going down next year. It is based on claims, and very seldom do employees file fewer claims. Last year, we were both responsible for paying approximately $80.00, which totaled $160.00. So, you can see the increase in just one year. As we stand today, my husband and I are doing ok, but we like to plan for the future.
We would love to have another child in 2013, but as it stands at this moment, we cannot afford it because of the cost of insurance. Under ObamaCare, insurance companies can’t deny children coverage due to pre-existing conditions, and they can’t charge higher premiums to the children with a pre-existing condition. So, what has happened is that insurance companies have decided not to offer child-only policies anymore. This is true for a large majority of the states, including Missouri. So, my husband and I are basically stuck. The only way we can have another child is by putting that child and our daughter on our group insurance plan, but it is way too expensive. At the moment, if we were to include children on our policy it would cost the following:
Employee (me) and Child(ren) $607.28
My husband $125.37
Total Cost (a month) $732.65
This total is based on the rates for this school year. It seems like every year the amount that we have to pay increases. So, this total is likely to be over $800.00 a month when we finally have another baby, and we just don’t have that income. That $732.65 doesn’t include food, clothing, and any other basic necessities for any of us. Many individuals think that teachers make a lot of money, but we don’t have a lot after we pay retirement, insurance, and taxes each month. I really don’t know any family that can afford $800.00 a month just on insurance.
We have done everything right. We have followed the rules. We waited to get married until we were financially stable and didn’t have our first child until we knew we could afford it. Why are we getting punished? We don’t want to have a child and then say, “Well, the government will take care of it.” or, “If we can’t afford it, we will just file bankruptcy.” We are not that type of people. We take pride in our credit score, always have our bills paid on-time, and don’t make purchases we can’t afford.
I am not complaining about any of our current expenses because we chose them. But, I don’t find it fair that we now have a health care system that has completely blocked my family from having another baby. I don’t think it is fair to me, my husband, my daughter, or our parents. My daughter should have the opportunity to have a brother or sister. There is something special about siblings and their bond, and it breaks my heart that her daddy and I may not be able to give that to her. I know that people say you will never be able to afford another child, but in this situation, we can’t take that chance. We don’t want to have another child and then not be able to give our daughter the things she really needs. We can afford all of the expenses that come along with another child, but the insurance. There is no way that my family can spend $800.00 a month just for insurance. Honestly, that is about what we pay for our mortgage.
What is my family supposed to do about this issue? I am having a hard time getting it through my head that I will not be able to have another child due to insurance. I have done everything right! I am even slowly working towards getting my master’s degree one class at a time because that is what we can afford. We don’t want to pile on more student loans. We already have student loans that we are having deferred because of the lack of income we currently have. My husband also has a car that may completely break down at any moment, and we can’t purchase another vehicle until we get our other one paid off. We devote our lives to working with children and love each one of them dearly. It breaks my heart that we are in this situation. My husband will be turning 31 this year, and I will be turning 30 in January. So, our biological clock is ticking. By the time this entire healthcare situation gets straightened out, we may be too old to have another child.
I know that your intentions were sincere, but in the process of trying to help, you have deeply hurt my family. If you look at the surface of ObamaCare, it does appear to be a very good plan. But, you have to look at the underneath effects too. And, those effects have been felt by families like mine. In your effort to help some, you have hurt many middle class families working on a limited income already. Now, we are being punished! We work, pay taxes, and live within our means, and we are now getting less and less. My husband coaches football and baseball to give our family a little extra money for medical bills and Christmas presents. But, that extra money can only go so far. And, it will definitely not cover that extra amount we would have to spend in insurance for our family. And, we believe in everyone having insurance in our family. Going without is not an option!
Please give me some advice on this issue. I don’t know what to do, and I am deeply saddened for everyone involved. I want to have the opportunity to have another child like everyone else. I shouldn’t have to take on a second job, away from my children, just to cover insurance expenses. My husband already basically does that with coaching and extra duties at school. Is there any light at the end of the tunnel for us?