Amanda Pratt’s story, which was first shared with the nation on TheBlaze, gives a human face to the unintended consequences of bad public policy.
President Barack Obama may have sold ACA as a much-needed reform that would offer a helpful hand to low income Americans, but consumers are finally learning the truth: the law puts more hurdles in the way of those who desperately need affordable and life saving care.
Amanda Pratt is a determined 28-year-old who has survived five surgeries to remove a massive brain tumor:
Being diagnosed with a brain tumor the size of her fist is something Amanda Pratt never thought she would face. At 28 years old, Pratt has had five surgeries to remove the tumor, and though on the road to recovery she faces years of check-ups and treatments to ensure she stays well.
That’s already somewhat jarring for young woman. Maybe it should have prepared her for what she saw when she went to the doctor last week. That’s where she got another shock: the cost of some of her care now that Obamacare had started taking effect.
After the removal of the tumor, Pratt’s doctor inserted a shunt to drain the excessive fluid that had begun to build up. The procedure was successful, but due to the shunt’s use of magnets, Amanda learned she would have to have them reset every time she had an MRI. Annual MRIs will be a necessity for at least the next five years, and because the shunt’s lifespan is not expected to last beyond the first two, there’s a chance Amanda will have to go under another surgery soon.
In the early days under the new health care law, Amanda noticed her insurance premiums had gone down about $14 per month. Fortunately, the surgeries to remove her tumor took place before ObamaCare. The changes to her new plan were all explained in a booklet sent to her by her insurer, but she hadn’t yet read the fine print. Soon enough, Amanda would learn about her new copays and the major increase in costs not only for care, but also for prescriptions.
The MRI she needs yearly went from an out of pocket cost of $800 to $2,200. Her copays for doctor visits doubled from $30 to $60. Prescriptions also became more expensive, 150 percent more expensive to be precise.
Like many young Americans, Amanda had a hard time finding a full-time job after obtaining her undergraduate degree. She was only able to find a part-time job at fast-food chain restaurant. Over the past few years she has worked her way up and is now part of the corporate office, but the position still isn’t full-time. The 24 to 27 and ½ hours of work she performs every week do not help her to qualify for work-sponsored insurance. And as we’ve seen in previous reports, the employer mandate continues to cause many employers to drop coverage for employees since it’s much cheaper to pay the fine than to cover their workers.
Pratt understands her employer’s position but also feels her work environment may have been negatively affected due to the attention her story received. In spite of the possible ramifications, she was brave enough to talk to Glenn Beck and to us about her experience.
During a phone conversation this past week, Amanda told us her story and expressed further concern over potential future surgeries.
Her last hospital stay, prior to ObamaCare, resulted in a nearly $1 million dollar bill, which was covered by the insurer after she paid her $5,000 deductible. She’s now afraid of how the insurance company would help her to manage her costs, considering ACA has made it more difficult for insurers to show flexibility to consumers when needed.
Amanda continues to receive hateful messages, but she refuses to stop telling her story. She is hoping more people will open their eyes to what this law has really done and make people aware of the millions who are struggling under it.
Alice Salles contributed to this story.