Thursday, in the Wall Street Journal, Nicole Hopkins tells the heartbreaking and infuriating story of how the injustice that is ObamaCare forced her mother, 52-year-old Charlene Hopkins, on to the welfare program known as Medicaid. Yes, forced. First, ObamaCare canceled a policy she was happy with, and then the ObamaCare exchange tricked her into signing up for Medicaid by making that her only option.
For years Hopkins was content to pay $276 a month for a catastrophic plan that she was happy with and felt fit her budget and healthcare needs. All of that changed, though, when, like millions of Americans, she received a cancellation notice from her insurance company. Because the president, Democrats, and media had to lie about this reality in order to pass ObamaCare, Hopkins was shocked to learn that she would no longer be allowed to keep the plan she liked.
Hopkins’ insurance provider did offer an alternative plan that satisfied the federal government’s requirements of what was best for her — but not Hopkins’ requirements. The alternative would cost $415 a month, hit her with a $1500 deductible, and ensure she paid for maternity coverage she would never need.
Because there was no way she could afford that, Hopkins sought out other alternatives on the Washington state ObamaCare exchange (one of the very few that is working). And this is when her government suckered Hopkins into becoming a welfare recipient:
I logged onto the site under [my mother’s] name and entered the information my mother provided over the phone. I fully expected her to realize that she had forgotten some crucial piece of information, like a decimal point in her annual income. We checked and double-checked the information, but the only option still appeared to be Medicaid. She suggested clicking on “Apply for Coverage,” thinking that other options might appear.
Instead, almost mockingly, her “Eligibility Results” came back: “Congratulations, we received and reviewed your application and determined [you] will receive the health care coverage listed below: Washington Apple Health. You will receive a letter telling you which managed care plan you are enrolled with.” Washington Apple Health is the mawkish rebranding of Medicaid in Washington state.
The page lacked a cancel button or any way to opt out of Medicaid. It was done; she was enrolled, and there was nothing to do but click “Next” and then to sign out.
So not only was this poor woman conned into signing up for welfare, apparently she can’t opt out — which makes sense. Whether it is against their will or not, the more people Obama can herd onto his scorecard, the better.
The thing is, Hopkins has always been eligible for Medicaid. But she is a dying breed of American — one with too much self-respect to accept a government handout when she can find a way to make it on her own.
Something cold-hearted leftist technocrats like Barack Obama, Ezra Klein, Josh Barro, and much of the mainstream media will never understand is a woman like Charlene Hopkins: Someone who took great pride in making it on her own but is now despairing and demoralized (her daughter’s words) to find herself forced into welfare.
Before ObamaCare, Medicaid was one option. Not the option. Before this, she had never been, in effect, ordered to take a handout. Now she has been forced to join the government-reliant poor, though she would prefer to contribute her two mites. The authorities behind “affordable care” had erased her right to calculate what she was willing to spend to preserve her dignity–to determine what she thinks is affordable.
That little contribution can mean the difference between dignity and despair.
The wake of human destruction behind ObamaCare’s rollout is just beginning to be tolled — millions of cancellations and tens of millions more likely coming, premium and deductible increases on middle class families who can’t afford them, the loss of doctors….
But how many Charlene Hopkins are out there? How many thousands, tens of thousands, or millions have or will be forced by ObamaCare into a choice that was unthinkable just the day before: Go without health insurance or give up a piece of your dignity by accepting a government handout?
In the case of Charlene Hopkins, she wasn’t even given that choice. After her government lied to her about being able to keep her insurance, and hustled her into becoming a welfare queen, they won’t let her remove herself from their “ObamaCare Is Working!” scorecard.
I’m proud to see the spiritedness and resolve that bears my mother up even now. Such character does not draw attention to itself: Its spark only catches the eye when oppression seeks to snuff it out.
Right now, in the United States of America, this is happening to everyday working and middle class Americans whose only sin was following the rules and believing what their president and media told them.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC