A Michigan mother of five says that the crushing new costs associated with Obamacare have imperiled her family’s financial future and will burden the household with thousands of dollars in unexpected expenses.
The uptick in costs that Shannon Wendt and her family will face in the coming years under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act will strain the family’s finances and force both Shannon and her husband to work harder to bridge the fiscal gap.
Wendt initially decided to discuss her plight in an ad produced by the advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, which has chronicled the negative impact of Obamacare on American families across the nation.
Wendt told the Washington Free Beacon that since she first spoke about her rising healthcare costs supporters of Obama’s signature law have deluged her with "hate mail," dubbing her a "lying bitch" and writing that "my children should be taken away."
"It is going to be a big price increase so it’s definitely something that we have to consider and figure out," Wendt said in an interview.
"We have always been really entrepreneurial and do it yourselfers … [so] that’s where we run into these problems with the increase because we don’t say, ‘Oh, who’s going to pay for this for us.’ We said, ‘We’re going to have to work a little harder, work a little smarter, and figure something out so our income can go up,’" she said.
The burden of Obamacare has sparked worry and anxiety in the Wendt household.
"I naively believed the president that this was going to be something that saves money for me and that’s what it looked like at first," she explained. "We thought we’d qualify for a subsidy and get a plan that was pretty similar and had a little bit better coverage and that we’d be paying the same price. And then, lo and behold, we actually don’t qualify for a subsidy at all, and the premium is astronomical."
The Wendts were paying $221 a month to cover their family of seven. They are now paying a monthly premium of $381 under a temporary stop-gap plan that will be canceled next year, when the family is forced by law to register for an Obamacare plan.
Under this new plan, the family will be forced to pay around $24,000 a year, nearly double the cost of the $12,000 they pay under their current plan, Wendt said.
"Now it’s four times the premium we were paying last year and the out of pocket liability is double," Wendt said.
This will lead to overtime work for Shannon’s husband and force her to restart a jewelry business that had been on the backburner.
"It’s not like, ‘Oh we’ll just create another $12,000 dollars," she said. "It’s hard. My husband is having to think a little different and come up with different strategies" in a bid to earn the extra income needed to pay for Obamacare.
Wendt said that it is "frustrating" to be called a liar by powerful Democrats such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), who has deemed stories like Shannon’s untrue.
Additionally, "the hate mail I’m getting" from Obama’s backers "is just very sad," she said.
"Some of them say, ‘I think you’re a lying bitch,’" while others send her "long nasty e-mails how they hope I get sued, and how my children should be taken away, and how can I homeschool them, and that I’m so ignorant. I mean, just nasty things."
Wendt said these critics are trying to intimidate Obamacare critics into silence.
"I do have to think a little bit, though, that it is kind of the plan of the left to just kill the messenger," she said. "They’re calling me a liar and saying all these terrible things and calling me nasty names. It’s horrible what people will say. And you think you’ve got thick skin, but the hate feeding it is all over the social media sites and it takes time to go and delete the comments and respond to some of them that are less nasty."
Wendt said that she is braving the attacks in order to help other families who are in a similar position.
"I think other people wouldn’t be able to handle that [backlash], the fear of other people when you stand up, what backlash they would get, it’s keeping people quiet," she said, noting that she personally knows of several other Michigan families who have shared the same horror stories.
"There’s got to be hundreds of thousands of families that are being affected by this,"
Wendt said she believes America can solve its healthcare crisis without putting the burden on hardworking average families.
"This was the wrong thing," she said. "Especially in my situation, forcing families to choose between an inexpensive plan and the doctors that they need and love on a private plan, that’s a choice you shouldn’t have to make. It didn’t have to be that way."