A single mom from Washington State who was cited by President Obama as an Affordable Care Act success story now says she’ll go uninsured and calls the program a “treadmill of bureaucracy.”
Washington State Wire reports that Jessica Sanford, 48, discovered that she is no longer eligible for a large subsidy that would have lowered her monthly premium to $169 per month. Instead, Sanford would now be forced to pay nearly four times as much, $621, for coverage.
Sanford told the paper she believes the government should shut down the entire healthcare.gov site until the site’s issues are resolved. “In my opinion they ought to shut it down and just get all of it straightened out.”
That's a complete 180 from what Sanford thought she was signing up for last month when Obama touted her as an Affordable Care Act success story.
During a White House Rose Garden ceremony on Oct. 21, Obama read an email from Sanford in which she thanks the president for offering her help in obtaining a low-cost, high-quality coverage plan.
"I recently received a letter from a woman named Jessica Sanford in Washington state,” Obama said. “And here's what she wrote: 'I am a single mom, no child support, self-employed. And I haven't had insurance for 15 years because it's too expensive. I was crying the other day when I signed up, so much stress lifted.' "
Sanford works as a court reporter and says she makes just under $50,000 a year. Her 14-year-old son requires a monthly prescription that is expensive because it must come from a compounded pharmacy. She said she thought the originally promised $452 monthly premium subsidy would help her close the financial gap.
“To think I would finally be covered if anything happened – I was so relieved,” she told the Washington Wire.
However, CNN reports that in the days following Obama's Rose Garden ceremony Sanford received a letter telling her that her tax credit had been taken away, meaning she won’t be able to afford coverage. Officials reportedly told her that they made a mistake in calculating her benefits. Sanford is reportedly one of 8,000 people in Washington State who have received letters informing them that their promised subsidies have been reduced or removed.
“This is it. I'm not getting insurance," Sanford told CNN. "That's where it stands right now unless they fix it."
A representative from Washington State’s HealthPlanFinder said they are looking into Sanford’s case and will try to help her find a more affordable plan.