Winnie has been a waitress for over 15 years at the Road Warrior Café on Route 23, just outside of town. Most of her customers are over the road truckers, travelers, and locals who show up every morning to drink coffee and shoot the breeze. She has been able to support herself by working there along with the small pension that she receives from her late husband’s company. Tips form the bulk of her income, but that has tapered off in this economy. The rising cost of food threatens business even more and the truck stop is over the 50 full time employer threshold and faces looming penalties and tax increases due to the fiscal cliff.
Last Thursday during the Road Warrior’s noon rush, Winnie spilled hot coffee on her arm when she skidded on the floor as she rushed to refill a trucker’s cup. Although in pain, she treated it herself since she has no health insurance. The burn is healing, but Wanda had a wake up call. The slippery film of grease that coats the floor of the Road Warrior despite her best efforts to scrub it off every day, is a fact of life. A nasty fall is only a matter of time.
Winnie decides it is time to face the facts about the health reform legislation. She is a widow on a small income with a home that is paid off but needs a new roof. There is no retirement coming other than Social Security. If she is injured at work, there is no guarantee that she will be able to keep her job during the recovery time.
She has no other source of income and no job skills for another type of work. If she got sick, she could not afford medical care. Selling her home would be the only option, assuming there was a buyer, but then where would she go? Some homes on her block are foreclosed and real estate prices are low.
Winnie has heard about Obamacare on television and she watched the election coverage. Although it sounds complicated, it also sounds too good to be true, but there was precious little information given. She needs information that is easy to understand. She asks around, but nobody else seems to know more than she does. How is she supposed to make informed decisions?