Garden woman changes jobs to comply with insurance mandate

KHI News Service

GARDEN CITY — Until recently, 50-year-old Tammy Ryan had never had health insurance.

“I kept hearing about how everybody was going to have to have insurance,” she said, referring to the onset of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. “So I quit my waitressing job, which didn’t have insurance that I could afford, and took a job with the school district. I’m making less money now, but I have insurance.”

Ryan said she isn’t sure what her new policy will cover.

“I have a doctor’s appointment in a couple weeks, I’ll find out then,” she said. “There’s a lot I don’t know because up until now, I’ve never gone to see a doctor unless I was really, really sick.”

Ryan is a single mother who reared three children and now cares for three grandchildren. She said she’s been told she has heart disease. She may have diabetes, too.

“My mother, my youngest daughter, my brother and my sister all have diabetes,” she said. “I might have it, I don’t know. I feel alright now.”

Though she’s in relatively good health, Ryan said she has more than $10,000 in medical bills.

“I don’t have that kind of money, so I just kind of ignore them,” she said. “I know they’re there, but I don’t know what else to do. I’m barely making it as it is.”

Ryan said she expects to earn between $9,000 and $10,000 annually at her new job, which involves preparing and transporting school lunches. She works 35 hours a week.

“When I had my taxes done last year I got a note that said I should apply for Medicaid because I was probably eligible,” she said. “I went ahead and applied, but they said I made too much money.”

Ryan said the grandchildren, ages 5, 7 and 8, have lived with her “since they was babies.”

Ryan said she tries not to think too much about her family’s health care.

“I just hope and pray that things work out. I take everything day by day,” she said. “But when I do think about it I get angry. I’ve been a single mom most of my life. I raised my kids all by myself, and now I’m raising my grandkids. And then I see people who have more kids than I do and who aren’t working, and they’re on Medicaid and they’re getting food stamps. It doesn’t seem fair to me. It angers me.”

  • Tammy Ryan

    I don’t want to pay for myself, so I look to the guhbermeant to take productive money from productive people and give to me.

    • herding_turtles

      Come on, she has a job and is doing what she can. It seems to me that her point is, she is trying and can’t get any assistance, but other people who do less are getting help (taking from the productive).

    • Achoo son of a Sneeze

      Sounds like she always had a job and is currently employed and is taking care of grandchildren because she has a deadbeat child. What more do you want from her. Not everyone can be millionaires.

    • Reality

      Pretty sad story. Here’s a lifelong worker who raised three kids, and now her own children dump their spawn off on her and go about life. Under KS law, her kids would qualify for Medicaid, but she would not. Had KS expanded Medicaid to cover working poor at 133% of federal poverty level, she’d probably qualify for Medicaid.

      Not mentioned is if she collects other benefits (food stamps, etc) but so what if she does? She’s doing her best, and represents the person I don’t mind paying taxes to help.