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The very real and personal effects of Obamacare on the American workaday

by AirTalk®

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A woman holding a sign in support of the Affordable Care Act is seen as US President Barack Obama's motorcade returns to his vacation compound from the gym at Marine Corps Base Hawaii on December 29, 2013 in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. KENT NISHIMURA/AFP/Getty Images

We’ve debated how the Affordable Care Act will affect the workforce and the economy. On a micro scale, it’s changing some peoples’ lives and choices already. As KPCC’s Stephanie O’Neill reports, it’s allowing early retirement for some and new small businesses for others.

Until late last year, Mike Smith, 64, of Long Beach worked about 60 hours a week and only dreamed of being able to retire early. Smith says, “At our age, with some pre-existing medical conditions, it would have been very costly to buy insurance on the open market - about $3,000 a month is what it would have cost us.”

Under ACA, Smith and his wife are enrolled in a private subsidized policy that costs about $200 a month. For young families, it’s meant the difference between a dead-end job and a new business venture.

UCLA health policy researcher Dylan Roby says, “We used to see people who had pre-existing conditions or high health care needs unable to leave a job they didn’t like and go start their own small business - because they were afraid if they tried to buy insurance on their own, an insurance company would reject them. And now that can’t happen.”

What’s the impact of the ACA - and Covered California - on your work life?


Stephanie O’Neill,  Healthcare Reporter, KPCC

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