Feb 24, 2014 - By Steven R. PeckPolitical jousting has a way of overshadowing real-world experience. When the "experts" get to arguing before a national audience, the argument can come to have less to do with their actual subject matter and more to do with making political or philosophical points.
An example is health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as it has come to be known. Virtually everyone has witnessed political opponents sparring about the new health insurance system that is the subject of such a deep political divide.
But how are regular people in Wyoming dealing with the ACA? Your newspaper staff would like to know.
So, we are inviting readers to share their experiences under the ACA --or with health insurance in general.
Have you enrolled in a new health insurance plan under the ACA? How did you do it? Was it difficult? Easy? Impossible?
Did you come away with a plan that is satisfactory? Better than you had before? Worse?
Are you one of the healthy young people that President Barack Obama says must enroll in large numbers for the ACA to succeed? Are you a young person who has decided to go without health insurance? Is this your first time with health insurance? Are you the insurance provider for a family?
On our news staff, three people recently signed up for health insurance under the ACA. One has a deductible of $150. Another has a deductible of $4,000. What choices did you have to make as you signed up? What were your priorities in seeking health coverage? Affordability? Comprehensive coverage? Specific benefits?
Do you have health insurance coverage through your work? Through your spouse's work? Your parents' work? Does your employer, or theirs, still offer it? How does it compare to what you could get individually under the ACA?
We are inviting readers, for the next 45 days, to tell us about their health insurance status. By April 1 --no fooling -- we hope to have a compendium of experiences provided by a cross-section of readers that can help portray the health insurance climate in Fremont County.
Our ground rules are simple. No political speeches, please. If your account begins, ends or includes a diatribe against the president or his political opponents, please don't bother sending it. What we are interested in his real-world experience with health care coverage rather than another war of rhetoric. There's more than enough of that already.
We are asking that your submissions be no longer than 300 words. Some basic information about your age, your general health, and your coverage, if any, will help set a baseline. Beyond that, your individual experiences, peculiarities, expectations and outcomes will help round out the picture.
Tell us your name if you like, but you don't have to. Either way, please be honest about what your experiences have been. Lying about them to make a point doesn't really make much of a point at all, other than a dishonest one.
So tell the truth. What experience have you had with health care coverage, the ACA, and the Wyoming coverage marketplace?
E-mail your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the words "My health coverage" in the subject line of the e-mail so that your submission won't be lost in the flood of hundreds of e-mails that we receive each day. Or, write your experiences on paper and mail them to either the Lander Journal at P.O. Box 10, Lander, WY 82520, or to The Ranger at P.O. Box 993, Riverton, WY 82501. Or, drop your written submissions off at either the Journal office at 332 Main St. in downtown Lander, or the Ranger at 421 E. Main St. in downtown Riverton.
Our intention is to use reader submissions as the basis for a series of news stories about health care in Fremont County. We need your help to do it, and we hope you will participate.
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