I became unemployed in 2007. There was no available healthcare coverage for self-employed people in Washington State until 2012. So the plan was "you have no plan." If you're truly low income, there's medicare. You have to make less than $20k a year to qualify in Washington State.
In 2011 we were able to buy healthcare in CA. For me and my wife, mid '30s, with a $10k deductible and effectively nothing covered, coverage was $350 a month. Then Obamacare happened and that plan got blown away (it was one of the good ones) and the plan became $800 a month.
I talked to a guy who runs a bicycle shop. For him, his wife and his two kids, his $10k deductible was $2500 a month. That's with Obamacare. Prior to that, no coverage was conceivably available to him.
We have something called COBRA, which means "lost your job? You can keep buying your insurance at what it costs, minus the subsidies we're providing your employer." Through my union, my coverage is $600 a year. Through COBRA, my coverage is $1800 a month.
That's what's lost in these discussions - "affordable healthcare" is $30k a year for a family of four. Prior to the ACA, "affordable healthcare" was "hope you don't get sick or injured."