My thoughts on the Affordable Care Act

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I don’t claim to be all that knowledgeable about healthcare, or politics, or government mandates. But as a tax-paying, middle class citizen of this country, I am truly happy the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act as constitutional. I don’t think anyone who hasn’t faced a medical crisis can fairly comment on the importance of health insurance, and the shocking costs of not having it.

Where would my husband and I be without health insurance? I’ll tell you.

He’d be dead, and I’d be bankrupt.

Simple as that.

He had:

  • A liver transplant
  • Months of chemo and radiation
  • Treatment for a GI bleed that caused his hemoglobin to drop to four, including time spent in intensive care
  • Treatment for four incidents of sepsis, which has around a 50% mortality rate
  • Hand-assisted laparoscopic surgery to ensure the chemo and radiation did their jobs to stop the cancer from spreading
  • Regular checkups and expensive scans, including MRCPs, bone injections, ultrasounds, nutrition counseling, and social worker visits
  • Temporary relocation costs because treatment for his cancer isn’t available in our state (and yes, our health insurance paid a large chunk of these costs)

Post-treatment, he has checkups (meaning more of those expensive scans) every four months for the first two years after transplant, then every six months for the next three years. After five years total, his checkups will drop to once a year for the rest of his life. Oh, and all of these checkups take place in another state because, again, his cancer isn’t treated in our state.

He’s also on an expensive immunosuppressant drug that, without health insurance, would cost more than our monthly mortgage payment. And that’s for the generic version!

So talk to me again about how requiring everyone to have insurance is a bad thing. I’m not saying there are no problems with the Affordable Care Act, because there are. I have real concerns about how some segments of our population will be able to afford the mandated insurance, even with the tax credits. And how will the government afford to provide any of this program without significantly increasing our already-ridiculous deficit levels? But I still believe it’s a good start, and if the politicians we elected would just learn how to work together instead of acting like second graders — and if they would actually listen to their constituents instead of constantly bending over for corporations and special interest groups — maybe we could get healthcare costs under control and down to a reasonable level.

When you rack up over $1.5 million in medical bills (of which we were responsible for a total of $6,000), then you can legitimately tell me how you feel about the Affordable Care Act. Yes, $6,000 is a lot of money, but compared to $1.5 million? There’s just no contest.

I’ll say it again:

Where would my husband and I be without health insurance?

He’d be dead, and I’d be bankrupt.

Simple as that.

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