It’s been 16 days of a government shutdown because Democrats refused to defund Obamacare, and Breaking Bad had its final episode ending what is sure to be a cult classic. These are perilous times we are living in and will no doubt be remembered through the ages. However, these two catastrophic events colliding together got me to thinking. What if Walter White, the main character in Breaking Bad, had Obamacare when he was first diagnosed with terminal Cancer?
For those who may not be fans or followers of the show, Breaking Bad was a mega-hit AMC series about a high-school Chemistry teacher, Walter White played by Bryan Cranston, who was diagnosed with terminal Cancer. At the time of his diagnosis, Walter had a pregnant wife and a teenage son with cerebral palsy. Although Walt had HMO coverage through his employer with the public school system, his coverage did not pay for the specialist he needed which was out of network. As a result, Walt got the bright idea to start cooking crystal meth to pay for medical expenses and stack the proceed of his drug sales to secure a financial future for his family after his death.
ABC News also did an investigation of how Obamarcare could have made Breaking Bad less bad.
Walt’s family prevails on him to go outside of the network to see a super-star specialist who charges accordingly. After more than one costly hospital stay, Walt winds up owing some $200,000. That’s far beyond the provisions of his HMO.
In the pre-Obamacare world, he was stuck with having to pay that out of pocket. How would his life have been different, though, under the Affordable Care Act?
Better, thinks Geoffrey Joyce, an associate professor of pharmaceutical economics and policy at USC–much better.
“If Walt opted out of his employer’s coverage,” says Joyce, “he could select a plan from his state’s insurance exchange that included his preferred physician and hospital in its network. In addition, if Walt’s household income was less than 400 percent of the federal poverty line (or $88,000 for a family of four), which is likely for a high school teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico, he would be eligible for subsidies—both premium subsidies and cost-sharing reductions.” Read Full Article
Even though Walter White and his family are fictional characters, health care in this country is causing families to find creative ways and possibly illegal ways to support themselves during a medical crisis. The Affordable Care Act is one step closer to removing barriers families face in the spiral to bankruptcy and foreclosure as a result of an illness.
The Department of Health and Human Services have put together videos, webinars, tool kits, and state by state fact sheets to help you better understand the changes being implemented. View all resources using this link: http://www.hhs.gov/opa/affordable-care-act/index.html
Here is a 9 minute recap of all five seasons of Breaking Bad. Enjoy!