“So many people have more dramatic and life threatening medical problems,” Amanda a thirty-four-year-old Winchester VA resident said. “I’m bi-polar two which is the depressed side of bi-polar, and unfortunately mine comes with a sleep disorder, which is why I was fired from my full-time job.”
Amanda doesn’t blame the workplace for firing her. “To work you have to show up during work hours, but if you don’t sleep all night it’s pretty difficult to do that.” Before she worked at the full-time job she lost, she worked for five years doing finances for Studio Theatre in DC.
“Studio was amazing about accommodating my illness, they allowed me to work from home and use vacation days as sick days.”
She left the theatre company for a better paying job and has regretted it ever since. She has been friending her bosses from Studio on Facebook so she can thank them publicly for being so accommodating when she became ill. “I started there before I even knew what was going on with my health, before I had a diagnosis or was on medication.”
Now Amanda, who has a degree in History and Political Science from Rutgers University, works part time doing PR and marketing for a public library, a twenty hour a week job that allows her a flexible schedule. She lives with her parents who are retired and on fixed income social security. They help with her medical costs, because even with ACA insurance, making only fifteen thousand a year in a part time job wouldn’t cover her living expenses.
If the ACA is repealed and she loses her coverage she would have two choices, one would be to find a full-time job that offers health care (even though her doctor has advised that she isn’t ready to do that until the sleep issues and depression are stabilized) or she could spend down her 401k on living expenses and then go on welfare.
“My greatest fear is becoming unstable again, and working full time right now would do that. Of course, I don’t want to go on welfare, who does, but it might be my only option.”
She talks often to her friends about affordable care. “We all recognize there are problems with ACA that need to be fixed, but it should be kept as the foundation that we build on! Change what needs to be changed and get on with it.”
Or else? If Amanda were to go on welfare (there are a ton of variables so I’m taking the lowest amount she would get) she would cost at least 17k per year from government revenue. Right now she has an income of 15k and pays $675 per year for health insurance.
So if ACA is not replaced with a plan that Amanda could afford, she would do what millions of others might be forced to do as well—go on welfare.
One way or another, the problem isn’t going away.