In 2009 I wrote an award winning article on my views, as a widow, on the healthcare debate. At the time, we had no such thing as Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act. Working part time in 2009, I was ineligible for healthcare and once I could no longer afford to pay for my late husband’s cobra health insurance (over $600/month when the only healthcare items I needed at 25 y.o. were annual PAP exams, a birth control RX, and I was overweight) I purchased what I considered a sketchy online healthcare plan I had purchased before when I was uninsured; basically it was emergency-only-I-hope-I-never-have-to-use-it-because-it-may-not-cover-anything kind of sketchy. I really didn’t know what it did or didn’t cover-I just knew I didn’t want to be uninsured after watching my 36 year old husband die of a rare cancer that came out of nowhere.
This is a bit of why I care about repealing Obamacare/Affordable Care Act without a solid plan to follow.
When my husband became deathly ill with a rare angiosarcoma tumor in June 2008, we knew we were going to be facing financial and medical hardships. Although Kevin was still a Canadian citizen, we opted to begin all treatment and diagnosis options in the U.S. under his company’s HealthAmerica plan. In the midst of Kevin’s battle with the disease, his employer switched to Amerihealth insurance, and with that, a $2,000,000 cap was placed on medical expenses. We both felt that was a large amount, but when it comes to the skyrocketing costs of health care, that would not be enough.
At 12 weeks, like all U.S. residents, we ran out of time on the Family Medical Leave Act and were forced to pay out of pocket to continue his Amerihealth benefits through COBRA — $650 per month for both of us. By this point in his treatment, we had already used about $750,000 of his medical coverage in the first three months of his illness. We knew that with this aggressive cancer we would reach his $2,000,000 lifetime max at the end of the year, and we were scared. (More info in my book)
Lifetime maximums were eliminated with the ACA. So was exclusion for pre-existing conditions. So Kevin? If he were alive, our outlook would have looked a whole lot different. We would have had to immigrate back to his home country of Canada. Who else has that option? Not many.
If you’ve never been dealt a deadly illness to yourself or someone you love I don’t know that you can realize the impact that losing the ACA will have on everyone we love. I know some of you can but still choose to be against ACA. I just don’t get that, but OK. I’m a middle class white woman who is covered under her husband’s health insurance plan. Prior to when I was self-employed I carried my own plan through my employer. But back when I was widowed and working part time the ACA would have been a huge help to me. I didn’t have that options and neither did millions of others like me who were hard working folks trying to make ends meet and still not able to get proper healthcare coverage.
I realize the ACA has its problems. It’s a far from perfect system; but to repeal it without fixing it first is a blatant use of cruel power to take away healthcare rights, yes RIGHTS, to millions of people who are underserved in our country. I can think back to dozens of stories from widowed friends who lose spouses because of lack of healthcare funding. It’s devastating. It’s cruel. It’s goes against my moral responsibility to love and care for my neighbors. More of us will die without proper healthcare coverage.
We have the right to LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In this century, LIFE means healthcare coverage for all.