By Ramit Plushnick-Masti, March 17, 2014
HOUSTON (AP) — Sara Rodriguez recently received a $4,000 bill for a six-hour emergency room visit to treat a fever. She says she can’t pay, but she’s also not planning to buy health insurance through the new federal marketplace.
Rodriguez, like others gathered in a Houston gymnasium listening to a presentation about the health care overhaul, says she can’t afford insurance, even for $50 a month. With two young children and barely $400 of income a month after paying rent, she struggles to feed her family.
“It’s the law, but I’m not interested,” the 27-year-old says, explaining that she attended the presentation only because her GED teacher is making her write an essay. “I cannot afford it.”
The presentation ends and Rodriguez grabs her belongings and rushes out, forgoing the opportunity to make an appointment for enrollment assistance. The crowd of about 200 quickly dwindles, with some stragglers lingering to schedule appointments.