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When it’s allowed to, Obamacare works. Even in Mississippi.

Obamacare works. I’m living proof. I signed up for insurance through the marketplace in December, started coverage in January, and went to my first doctor visit since I was 18 (I’m 40) in February. That’s when I was told I needed a surgery that I should have had a decade ago.

In February, I got surgery, and – premiums aside – it only cost me $425 out of pocket. And that was in Mississippi, where the state government has gone out of its way to prevent the Affordable Care Act from working effectively.

But the House is expected to move Thursday on a bill meant to replace the ACA, President Trump’s American Healthcare Act.

Why would Trump and the Republicans think that repealing a law that has dropped uninsured rates to historic laws is in their interest? The truth is, a lot of people bought into the anti-ACA propaganda.

But the more people find out about the ACA, the more they like what’s in it. A year ago, Pew Research found that only 44% of Americans had a favorable opinion of the ACA; today, that number is 54%, with only 17% supporting full repeal. And their respective representatives – mostly Republicans – aren’t presently as afraid of President Trump as they are their constituents. Funny how a President who lost the popular vote by 3 million voters doesn’t have the mandate he thought he did.

In states around the country, people are scared to lose what they have with the ACA.

Mississippi isn’t one of those states.

Mississippi is one of the states whose governor and legislature fought Obamacare to the bitter end, rendering it useless for the poorest people in the country. Governor Phil Bryant didn’t take the Medicaid expansion, therefore creating a rift between those who qualify for Medicaid and those who are eligible for coverage in the insurance marketplace.

The reality is that if you make more than $5,400 or so a year, you don’t qualify for Medicaid. But to be eligible for subsidized plans under the ACA, you have to make more than $11,888 or so a year. This creates a gap for those who make between the two salaries, not allowing them to get affordable health care in the state of Mississippi.

The problem is that this creates less competition. Only one or two carriers offer coverage. Most doctors won’t take the insurance, which is a private plan for which I get subsidies based on my income.

This was the first year since the ACA passed in 2009 that I reached the eligibility threshold. I finally got coverage. And it’s affordable.

My monthly premium was $320.19. But because of the subsidies provided by Obamacare, I get a tax credit of $286. At the end of the day, I pay $34.19 a month for healthcare.

A rally in Support of Affordable Care Act Washington, DC, on February 25, 2017.
Photo Ted Eytan (Flickr/cc).

Still, because of Mississippi Republican obstruction of a competitive state exchange, most doctors won’t take my ACA-subsidized coverage. So I made an appointment with a clinic that would.

Once I was in (which took a while, considering the shortage of doctors accepting ACA coverage), the doctor only wanted to do a checkup and what he called an introductory appointment.

He wasn’t going to do a full checkup until I told them about the hernia I had been living with for over a decade – well before the ACA became law. He took a look and decided I needed to see a surgeon soon. He also did blood work after. My appointment had no copay.

The surgeon specialist called me the next day. I saw him Thursday, paid $5 copay, and had surgery scheduled for Monday. It was an outpatient surgery that cost me a total of $425 – the yearly limit.

I had a surgery I needed for over a decade. The surgery didn’t bankrupt me. Everything worked how it was supposed to. When it’s allowed to, Obamacare works. Even in Mississippi.

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