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The ACA Deadline Has Passed – Now What?

More Than Seven Million Sign Up for Fed Healthcare Act

By Ron Harris Special to The Atlanta Voice | 4/4/2014, 11:04 a.m.
Obama Health Overhaul: President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, makes a statement on the Affordable Care Act, Tuesday, April 1, 2014, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Photo by Susan Walsh/AP.

“They told us that we were really changing lives,” he said.

Get Covered America, which operated in 11 states, also enrolled a large number of real estate agents by working with the National Association of Black Real Estate Brokers, he said.

One of the recipients was McKay’s own mother-in-law, Doris Jackson of Macon, Ga. Jackson, 59, became uninsured when her husband was disabled and lost the insurance from his job. While her husband was able to get insurance under another program, his plan didn’t include his wife, McKay said, and because of her diabetes, she was turned down by one insurance company because she had a prior existing condition.

“Now, because of the Affordable Care Act, she’s signed up with the same company that turned her down previously at $38 a month,” McKay said.

Johnette Woodson, 61, signed up Saturday under ACA at Grady Memorial Hospital after being uninsured for nearly four and a half years. So, she hasn’t been able to use her plan yet.

Still, Woodson, who is receiving care for cancer at Grady, said she was excited that she was able to get insurance.

“This is a tremendous relief,” said Woodson, 61, who was diagnosed in 2012 with stage-four lymphoma. “Before, I would say, ‘I can’t go to the doctor, because I don’t have insurance.’ Now, that’s not an issue.’”

Denise Williams, a long-time hospital administrator and former chief operating officer at Grady, has turned to consulting since she left the hospital. She signed up for insurance under ACA about a month ago. Williams, 61, said she has seen the consequences when people don’t have insurance.

“A lot of people who came to Grady neglected their health care because they didn’t have insurance,” she said. “They didn’t do the preventative health because it was just too expensive. So, they came to the emergency room when they had health issues instead of going to a primary care physician.” 

Obama cautioned supporters of the ACA that there will still be challenges to dismantle the law instead of efforts to improve it. The fight is not over yet, he said.

“All told, because of this law, millions of our fellow citizens know the economic security of health insurance who didn’t just a few years ago -- and that’s something to be proud of,” he said. “Regardless of your politics or your feelings about me, or your feelings about this law, that’s something that’s good for our economy, and it’s good for our country.  And there’s no good reason to go back.”