March 19, 2017
A front page Washington Post piece profiled Tamara Estes, a supporter of Donald Trump who is anxious to see undocumented aliens deported, along with a neighboring family, the Corrals. The parents in the Corral family entered the country illegally, while the children were born in the United States and are therefore U.S. citizens.
In describing the situation of Ms. Estes, the piece tells readers that she earns $24,000 a year driving a school bus part-time. It then reports that she does not have health care insurance:
“She earns a bit too much to qualify for most government assistance but too little to buy health insurance, with its high monthly premiums and impossible deductibles.”
Actually, her income would qualify her for substantial assistance in buying health care insurance. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s premium calculator, the government would pay a subsidy of $548 a month for a $678 a month silver plan. This would leave her with a monthly payment of $130.
It is possible that Ms. Estes would still decide not to buy the insurance at this price, but it is wrong to say that she does not qualify for government assistance. The subsidy she could get on her insurance is considerably larger than the TANF benefit that a family of three would receive in Texas.
The Post should have provided correct information to readers on this issue. It might also have been useful to question Ms. Estes further on why she opted not to take advantage of the assistance available to her.
I should have also mentioned that the Bronze plan would cost Ms. Estes $70 a month according to the Kaiser calculator. This also comes free wellness exams and other preventive care.