AHCA Pre-Existing Conditions

When I was diagnosed with cancer, I knew my life would not get any easier from that point on. I knew there would be new battles to fight daily, weekly, and yearly, but I also knew I was only 25 and had a lot of fight to give.

I guess I was naive to think that because I’m a human being, I deserve affordable medical care. I happened to grow up with a mentality that we are all human beings, and we should all be treated fairly. But apparently, Congress, you don’t think so.

I’m tired of rich old white men deciding the fate of my body – from abortion rights to whether I can afford health insurance. You, people who don’t know the first thing about being a 20-something stuck in a hospital room for a month, you don’t get to make these decisions for me.

A study was done in 2009 that estimated 45,000 people died due to lack of access to heath insurance. In short, you’re sentencing people to death. Individuals who have already been through hell and back and have the debt and scars to prove it. You do not get to make them suffer more. Who the fuck do you think you are?

Did you know, it’s estimated that 70,000 young adults are diagnosed with cancer in the United States each year. That’s an additional 70,000 young adults (people ranging from 18 – 35) that are now labeled with a pre-existing condition, one that will follow them for the rest of their lives. 70,000 young adults that now need to decide how – correction – *if* they can afford treatment.

A decision no one should ever have to make.

When I was diagnosed, I had been between jobs (about to start one – but a story for another day) and without insurance.  I was fortunate that I was young enough to still be on my parent’s insurance (thanks, Obama) and lived in a state where state insurance actually covered health care when I was sick.  The cost for just the first month I was there, an inpatient induction period for ALL, came to $200,000. Prior to cancer I already had a pre-existing condition; if this current “American Health Care Act” had been in effect, my parents and I would’ve been royally screwed.

Oh, and if you think you’re being helpful with the $23 billion you allocated for people with pre-existing conditions to afford health care… think again.  The amount you set aside will cover about 5% of the estimated 2.2 million people with pre-existing conditions who would need insurance.

Congratulations Congress, you repealed a health care act that was actually making a difference. Granted, it still had a ways to go – but unlike your “replacement,” it aimed to help people. It saw the faces that high premiums affect and it looked to people who had been sick and listened. This was your time to actually make a difference. Not to worsen the lives of your constituents, and other constituents whose lives, whether we like it or not, you have a say in. But you messed up, yet again.

An Open Letter to Congress From a Young Adult Cancer Survivor

2 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Congress From a Young Adult Cancer Survivor

  • May 18, 2017 at 1:33 pm
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    I’m sorry for all that has happened to you. However, I have to say that the ACA was the WORST thing that happened to my family, including our pre-existing condition of Parkinson’s Disease. Our premiums doubled overnight, from $1200/mo to $2500/mo. Our co-pay went up from $10 to $40 ($75 for non-generic medicine). Our deductible went from $150 per household to $1500. The brand-name medicine that was working well is now denied and has been replaced with a generic that has horrific side effects.

    Our story is one of many I’ve heard since the ACA was put into place. Many people also lost their insurance because employers cut their hours. Others had to pay a “tax” because they couldn’t afford insurance and didn’t qualify for MediCare. So no, the ACA did not work for everyone with pre-existing conditions, nor all or even most people in financial need.

    I’m not saying that the new health care act is better – only time will tell. But please know that the ACA was financially devastating for many who are in the same or similar position as you are. I’m glad for your sake that you weren’t one of them.

    Reply
    • June 6, 2017 at 9:52 am
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      Hi Ali,

      I agree – ACA was not the best plan out there. It had a LONG way to go to ensure anyone with a pre-existing condition (or really anyone who got/was/became sick) was able to get the help they needed. And I’m so sorry for that financial burden, having left a state with amazing insurance policies (ones that looked out for people, not corporations) I see the state of insurance/health care in a whole new light. I was fortunate to live in Massachusetts when I was diagnosed and through treatment – I can’t imagine the debt I would be in if I had lived where I am now.

      However, this new “health” care act they are trying to push through is utter bullshit. Not only will premiums more than double for anyone with a pre-existing condition but you might not be eligible for coverage now. And hospitals and doctors don’t like to take the risk of treating someone without insurance. Trust me, I am not defending the ACA – it had a lot of flaws. But this new crap they are pushing through is ten thousand times worse.

      Reply

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