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Obamacare. Saving Lives.

7 Dec

A forty-nine year old mother finds out she has stage III breast cancer. She has no health insurance (for a variety of reasons), and discovers that a provision of “Obamacare” that is already active may quite literally save her life.

Fortunately for me, I’ve been saved by the federal government’s Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, something I had never heard of before needing it. It’s part of President Obama’s healthcare plan, one of the things that has already kicked in, and it guarantees access to insurance for U.S. citizens with preexisting conditions who have been uninsured for at least six months. The application was short, the premiums are affordable, and I have found the people who work in the administration office to be quite compassionate (nothing like the people I have dealt with over the years at other insurance companies.) It’s not perfect, of course, and it still leaves many people in need out in the cold. But it’s a start, and for me it’s been a lifesaver — perhaps literally.

Which brings me to my apology. I was pretty mad at Obama before I learned about this new insurance plan. I had changed my registration from Democrat to Independent, and I had blacked out the top of the “h” on my Obama bumper sticker, so that it read, “Got nope” instead of “got hope.” I felt like he had let down the struggling middle class. My son and I had campaigned for him, but since he took office, we felt he had let us down.

It continues to astonish that this country can’t get it together to ensure that every citizen has access to top-quality medical care, without regard to one’s ability to pay. That we have a system where, if you lose your job, you can keep your health insurance, but only if you pay an outrageous, often unaffordable rate. Ours is the last first world nation to not guarantee universal access to health care. This was unacceptable after WWII, was unacceptable during the creation of Medicaid in the mid-60s, and remains unacceptable now.

Your health should not be dependent on the money in your wallet or your bank account. Yes, ours is a free country, and we should be free from medical bankruptcies.

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