I have a pre-existing condition
Like many Americans I have a pre-existing health condition and am worried about what will happen with the latest healthcare bill that our government is trying to push through. I will be honest, I was never a fan of Obamacare, but there was one thing that I did like and benefited from. The provision for pre-existing conditions was the best thing about Obamacare. It helped those with chronic illnesses continue care whether they were forced or chose to change their healthcare plan.
Why the provision is so important
Living with one or more painful chronic diseases is expensive whether our medications, tests, and assistive devices are covered or not. Continuing coverage makes it less costly. Even with insurance I have racked up tens of thousands of dollars in medical debt, but that amount would have been much higher without it. Truth be told, without health insurance I probably wouldn’t have any debt because I wouldn’t have gone to the doctor. Without continuing coverage I would have been even more miserable than I was and wouldn’t have been diagnosed with other conditions because I wouldn’t have wanted to risk having the symptoms blamed on my pre-existing ones. Not understanding all that was going on with my body would have prevented me from learning how to treat or manage them whether I chose to do so pharmaceutically or naturally.
Without continuing coverage for pre-existing conditions patients with chronic or terminal diseases won’t be able to afford proper testing, monitoring, or medications that help them live a better life. I know this because it is exactly what happened to me before Obamacare mandated that pre-existing conditions be covered. My husband’s employer switched insurance plans. Employees were not given an option other than to pay the ridiculously high premium of COBRA to stay with their current plan. If we had chosen COBRA we couldn’t have afforded my medications or medical care, we would have had to give up eating and using electricity to pay the premium. In order to not live like cavemen and not wanting to hunt neighborhood animals for dinner, we moved to the new plan. We were immediately told that it would be anywhere from 12-18 months until they would cover my pre-existing conditions. I was lucky to have a fabulous primary care doctor at that time. He discounted his cash pay rate and instead of seeing me and prescribing my medication monthly, he agreed to see me once every three months, he also was willing to write scripts that I had been receiving from specialists. Obviously this was before the government cracked down on doctor’s prescribing opioids. At that time I could have never afforded to pay cash for my doctor’s appointments and full price for my prescriptions on a monthly basis. Thank God I didn’t have to have bloodwork done to monitor how my meds were affecting my body because paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for lab work was not an option.
What will happen if we aren’t covered
Without this provision good people will have to either give up medical care and the medications they rely on or live on the street and go hungry in order to get medical care. Is that really what we want to see? Without this provision people will die. The terminally ill won’t be able to afford to extend their lives. The chronically ill may choose to commit suicide because they can’t afford what they need for pain relief or complications from their pre-existing conditions will make them even sicker. Unfortunately, many chronic illnesses have overlapping and similar symptoms and physicians are quick to blame what we have first before searching for new answers. Can you afford thousands of dollars a month in medical expenses? I know I can’t. Oh and before you suggest that no one will go hungry or homeless if they apply for welfare assistance, that isn’t an option for many. Anyone above the poverty level will not qualify for assistance even though their medical expenses would have them living under it. Another possible outcome of people no longer being assured of continuing care is a higher divorce rate. Without this provision I wouldn’t qualify for assistance of any kind based on my husband’s income alone. But if we divorced I could keep a roof over my head, food on my table, and receive the medical care I require. Families shouldn’t have to be torn apart and people shouldn’t have to even consider these kind of measures in order to continue their care. One last thing, just because individual states have the option to keep this provision it won’t help those who live elsewhere or guarantee that those who do live there will be fully covered. Can you imagine uprooting your life and that of your family just to afford your prescriptions? Because states would only have a limited pool of resources to fund it, starting over somewhere new is risky as you might not get the care you need after all.
What can we do?
Contact your state’s senators! Tell them that how important this provision is. Give examples of how losing it will financially ruin you, make it personal. While I currently treat my conditions outside of my healthcare provider, I am always at risk of having abdominal adhesions from endometriosis and internal scarring severally attack my bowels at any moment and require surgery. This would be considered a pre-existing condition and would financially ruin me.
Contact your senator today! Click here for a list of United State Senators.