Dear USA today,
I read Marc Siegal’s opinion, “ObamaCare will clog the system” and must respond: I would like to know when did I become a “scratch or dent” that “didn’t really need to be repaired”?
I mean, imagine if your car insurance covered every scratch or dent. Wouldn’t you expect your premiums to rise to meet the expanded coverage? And wouldn’t you expect your auto repair shops to become clogged with cars that didn’t really need to be repaired, competing for time and space with other cars with broken transmissions or burnt-out motors?
If your readers are hoping “ObamaCare” all gets overturned because of who wins/loses in the November elections, please, first understand what the health care reforms mean for me, and thousands of people like me – anyone with one of the many pre-existing conditions often excluded by health insurance companies, conditions as common as arthritis, diabetes, hypertension or obesity.
I was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer in July of 2010 while living and working in India. Expecting to be there for several years, we had decided not to have US insurance coverage (for the first time in our lives) – given that medical tourism is a booming industry and many Americans come to India for medical treatment. When diagnosed, we at first planned to treat in India; lacking US health insurance, we didn’t think we had any other option. However, after an abandoned attempt at surgery, difficulties due to climate and location, as well as the New Delhi “super bug”, we made the decision to come home anyway – without jobs and without insurance.
Wonderful as it was to be home, the stress of figuring out how to cover medical costs weighed heavily. Bankruptcy seemed a viable, even attractive, option. I filled out an application for Medicaid, though the financial implications could be drastic – lifelong and beyond as the state tries to recoup its costs from your estate after you’re gone. During my appointment for Medicaid on the morning of Sept. 30th, the counselor recommended checking out a new state plan for people with pre-existing conditions (https://pcip.gov/). Coming out of the health care reform bill, it has been in place in KS since Sept. 1st. In order to be covered for October (my surgery was scheduled on Oct. 29th), an application would be due by 5 pm – that very day!
I met the deadline and fortunately, was approved. I am going to get the medical treatment I need and the doctor and the hospital will all get paid – because of specific provisions of the health care bill, the bill some people want to repeal. I am in exactly the kind of situation, through no fault of my own, this bill is intended to help: An uninsured American in desperate need of medical care. This plan has a premium we can afford, an annual limit we think we can manage (assuming a job and some donations) and coverage that will continue through each (the most likely scenario) recurrance of the disease. Because of my diagnosis, I would be unable to get private insurance, I don’t qualify for COBRA, am unemployed while waiting for major surgery and have an uncertain employment future.
Please KEEP the health care reforms in place. For me, and thousands of Americans like me, access to medical care – and life itself – may depend on it.
Now at home in Newton, KS