First-Person Impacts: How Obamacare Ruling Affects Americans

Yahoo Contributor Network

In Knox, Ind., Kathy Foust worries how a health care tax could affect her, but she's relieved her kids will be covered longer.

Isa-Lee Wolf, of Chicago, is happy her personal insurance costs will be lowered.

Robert Watkins, in Lancaster, Pa., frets job opportunities will disappear at small businesses as he looks for a job.

Their reactions to the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision on health care Thursday mirrors that of many people -- a varied and polarized mix of worry, confusion, relief, anger and elation.

To gauge their thoughts, Yahoo! News asked Americans to share their candid, personal stories and how the court's ruling affects them. Below, in their own words, is a sampling of what they wrote.


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Kathy Foust in Knox, Ind.

Mixed on court's health care ruling

by Kathy Foust, Knox, Ind.

As a woman in her late 30s, I have pre-existing conditions that are probably common for women my age. I have high cholesterol, anxiety, and a vitamin D deficiency. I am supposed to take medication for these things, but I don't. I prefer to do a more natural method of healing, but even if I didn't, I can't afford the insurance or the medication without insurance.

Jobs are slim here in Knox, Ind. And that's one reason I work at home. But working at home means I already pay higher taxes because I am in a different tax bracket than those who work for employers. When ACA goes into effect, I will pay even higher taxes if I don't take out some form of health insurance.

Medicaid is out of the question for me since the Medicaid limits, according the Medicaid Guide in Indiana, say I have to make less than $229 a month to qualify since I have two people in my home. If I had three people in my home, I could only make $59 more and still qualify for Medicaid.

The only good parts of this bill for me? If I got insurance, my son could be on my policy until he is 26. And pre-existing conditions cannot be grounds for being disallowed from an insurance program.


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Kim Jacobs Walker and her family.

Health care ruling good for parents of disabled and college-aged kids

by Kim Jacobs Walker, Austin, Texas

It was a bit of a roller-coaster ride Thursday morning. First, we learned from some outlets that the mandate had been struck down. Then we learned it wasn't -- but that it survives as a tax and not as commerce. Ultimately, though, the court's decision affects the meat of the legislation very little.

And that's good news for my family, as well as many others struggling with health care issues.

My son suffers from fibular hemimelia, which is the congenital absence of a fibula. In my son's milder case, his fibula was present at birth but smaller than normal, and only one of his legs was affected.

Devon turns 18 in September, which means he will no longer be eligible for services at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, where all his prosthetic legs have been made free of charge since he was 11 months old. Fortunately for us, we do have health insurance. That wouldn't help much, though, if the provision requiring insurers to cover kids under their parents' insurance until they are 26 had been struck down.

Thursday's decision offers a welcome relief to parents, like me, who are concerned about the long-term health of their kids, and the options they will have as they transition into adulthood.


Chief Justice Roberts impresses with his decision

by Isa-Lee Wolf, Chicago

For years, I've lived in fear of losing my health insurance. I buy a private plan, and first my deductible climbed, up and up and up, to the dizzying, and pointless, height of $10,000 over about three years. Then my premiums increased, to more than $400 per month.

I do not have pregnancy coverage.

I am terrified to go to the doctor because I've feared that if the doctor finds something that can lead to something else, something more serious, something more costly, my insurance will drop me. It's a health care calculus peppered with a little wellness roulette. If I go now, will I have coverage later?

When Congress passed the Affordable Health care Act, it was like a glimpse into another world where buying insurance really means meeting your health needs, where illness cannot, paradoxically, prevent you from receiving treatment.

Have we, as a nation, gotten our Supreme Court back? Will we have justices who follow their theories of jurisprudence, rather than ruling for a result and a result only?

I certainly hope so.

And Chief Justice Roberts continues to surprise me. Even though he had very little judicial experience when appointed, he's emerging as a real jurist.


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Robert Watkins of Lancaster, Pa.

Health care tax hurts small business, jobless

by Robert Watkins, Lancaster, Pa.

As a 45-year old resident of Lancaster, Pa., and father of two who has aggressively sought employment with smaller organizations, the ruling by the Supreme Court stings. My interpretation of the ruling: Smaller businesses will either not be able to afford to subsidize the price of insurance, leaving me on my own, or will simply choose not to hire more than 50 employees.

Either way, I view this as a major stumbling block in landing a job.

The courts say the individual mandate survives as a tax. That's the most disappointing aspect of this decision.

The ruling disappoints me. It places pressure on the very sector of the economy I am relying on for improved economic conditions -- small business. If there are two things that business owners don't want, it's uncertainty and more penalties in the form of taxes.

The ACA may be constitutional but, for Americans, it's simply a bad idea.


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Elizabeth Danu and family.

One less worry for me and my family

by Elizabeth Danu, San Mateo, Calif.

The court's thumbs-up to Obamacare is not just humane. It supports the freedom that I, as an American, have a right to expect.

I am an entrepreneur, living in San Mateo, Calif. I prefer to work for myself. I prosper better self-employed than as an employee.

I am also a 50-year-old cancer survivor. Until 2007, I was very healthy, and like many Americans I thought I could probably do without health insurance. Fortunately, I had a part-time job in a hospital that provided excellent benefits for me and my dependents. But the aggressive cancer that struck me at 45 required timely and extensive treatment. If I had been uninsured, substandard treatment and numerous delays would likely have cost me my life.

There is nothing unconstitutional about requiring Americans to face consequences for irresponsible decisions, such as not carrying insurance. We insure our cars or we park. Why should I have to work for an employer at a miserable job so my children and I can get decent health care, and pay for the escalating medical costs created by the uninsured? How was this acceptable?


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Shauna Zamarripa and family.

Individual mandate ruling a supreme travesty for my family

by Shauna Zamarripa, San Antonio

It was the verdict heard 'round the world. However, before you start doing the Snoopy dance, claiming victory for the tired, the poor and the hungered masses yearning to be free, consider how it will affect you. I did.

According to the mandate, insurance coverage must be purchased, or else. If we opt out of health insurance coverage, my husband and I would receive an amercement. That fine (as of 2016) would be $2,085 for my family or 2.5 percent of our annual income -- whichever is higher. When I figured ours out mathematically, our "tax" is $3,925.

But even more than that, this mandate takes away my right to choose to my own health care options -- or lack thereof.

Think there are no penalties? Think again. I choose to pay $4,800 a year for comprehensive health, vision and dental coverage. By socializing medicine, flooding the system with more than 26 million uninsured or underinsured people, it makes our nationwide "group policy" -- where rates are set with the intent to keep costs down -- spread over millions, no holds barred.

This Supreme Court finding on Thursday is more of a supreme travesty, and one that will create more economic uncertainty in the end. Moreover, it's going to cost me, and it's going to cost you too.

Come tax time in April, don't say I didn't tell you so.


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Tavia Fuller Armstrong.

Taxing the poor for not buying health insurance is unfair, frightening

by Tavia Fuller Armstrong, Tahlequah, Okla.

This legislation will do nothing to make health care more affordable for my family. Our costs have risen more than 20 percent since its passage, and I expect costs to increase even more following today's ruling. The decision came at a particularly bad time for my family, as we may lose our health insurance in a matter of weeks.

In May, my husband lost the job he'd held for the last several years. He is interviewing for a new position today, but if he doesn't find work before his coverage from his old job ends, we will be uninsured.

Under the ACA, families like mine will be fined with a tax penalty if we don't acquire health insurance. But getting insured may not be possible until my husband finds a good job.

As a 40-year-old mother of three, I'd be crazy not to want health insurance for my family. But I already know what it's like to fall through the cracks.

Our situation is complicated by the fact that our youngest daughter has a congenital heart defect. It breaks my heart to think we might not be able to provide health insurance for her even if only for a little while. But it infuriates me to think that our government would punish us for something we simply can't avoid. We have to eat and we need a roof over our heads. If it comes down to a choice, food and shelter trump insurance.

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