Sunday, October 13, 2013

"Obamacare saved my family." A testimonial of how one family understands the purpose, and is grateful for the impact, of the Affordable Care Act.

Courtesy of the Washington Post:  

Mason, now 16, was probably born with his brain tumor. We discovered it six years ago. Biopsies showed a slow-growing mass, which was the good news. The bad news was that the tumor could not be removed because it had grown around essential structures in his brain. Under the care of some of the country’s finest specialists, Mason had frequent scans. There was little we could do between tests but hope for the best. Like other children his age, Mason played basketball, argued with his siblings and avoided cleaning his bedroom. He managed to undergo chemotherapy for eight months without getting too sick. He insisted on finding ways to laugh, saying things like: “I have brain cancer. What’s your problem?” It was an uneasy peace — until the tumor ruptured in December 2010, three years after his initial diagnosis, and Mason suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage. 

Mason spent most of eighth grade in the hospital. In the six months he was hospitalized, he spent 65 days in the pediatric intensive care unit. He underwent four brain surgeries. Halfway through his hospitalization, the Affordable Care Act was passed, alleviating lifetime limits on coverage and saving us from the financial abyss. Mason moved to a rehabilitation hospital where he was retaught the most basic skills — sitting up, eating and standing. We faithfully paid the premiums on the employer-sponsored plan through which our family is covered, along with the rest of our bills, thanking God and whoever else would listen for our good fortune to have coverage. 

The biggest fear for families such as mine is that we will lose our health insurance and be rendered uninsurable because one of us has been sick. The Affordable Care Act does away with dreaded clauses barring preexisting conditions. It also enables us to keep Mason on our insurance until he is 26; then, he will be able to purchase his own coverage on an insurance exchange. At least, that was the plan until last Tuesday, when the government was shut down in protest of such excesses. 

As far as the brain tumor goes, our family might have drawn the short straw. Maybe our story lacks a certain universal appeal. People might thinking to themselves, “I’m so sorry that happened to you, but odds are it won’t happen to me.” I hope it doesn’t, really. 

But having lived in hospitals with Mason for months, I have seen that bad things — accidents, freak illnesses — happen to smart, cautious and otherwise undeserving people. It’s one thing we all have in common. We are fragile beings. So what is wrong with allowing us to purchase a financial safety net? What’s so un-American about that?

You know I have to believe that the MOST fervent defenders of Obamacare are those who had preexisting conditions or chronic health problems and had to deal with the health care system BEFORE the supplementation of Obamacare.

The fact is that this law by no means solves all of our health care problems, not by a long shot, but it IS an important step in the right direction, and hopefully we will only make further improvement from here.

For the people who want to repeal the law, or defund it, I always wonder what they would say to families like the one above, who would suddenly lose the coverage that the ACA provided? Would they say sorry? Would they say, we don't care about you because we are all about politics? Or would they simply look with a blank face as if this was something that had never occurred to them during their ideological rants on the House floor?

There are REAL people, with REAL problems, and Obamacare offers REAL solutions.  That should be all that we need to understand.

And as for some insurance premiums going up, yes that is going to happen for some. But I think if those people pressure the Republican leaders in their states, into accepting and working with the programs offered by the ACA, they will see those costs come down. And eventually that will bring EVERYBODY'S costs down.


  1. Thank you for this excellent post -- I sincerely appreciate it!

  2. Anonymous12:14 PM

    Gryphen "You know I have to believe that the MOST fervent defenders of Obamacare are those who had preexisting conditions or chronic health problems and had to deal with the health care system BEFORE the supplementation of Obamacare."

    How very true.I was diagnosed Stage 2B Breast Cancer in 1997. I went Stage 4 in 2007. I have ALWAYS had insurance, privately, as I am self-employed. My rates skyrocketed of course and I was denied vital tests and treatments. DENIED DENIED. When I hear someone bitch about having to pay $600 a month for their FAMILY'S insurance I want to laugh (and cry). I shot up over $1,000 a long while back. And would you be happy with a $750 CO-PAY (not a deductible, mind you) for your PET scan to see if your cancer has spread yet again? I bust my ass to cover medical, over $20,000 a year for CURRENT charges, not to mention the required $2,500 a month payments I make to pay off the over 100K I incurred in the previous 16 years. And gee, I have car pmt., food, my dogs' food/vet care, utilities, blah blah blah. So once you start getting into MY face about being anti-Obamacare I will be in your face so damn fast it'll make your head spin. I may have stage IV cancer, but with my attitude and being so pissed off at these people I will kick your ass in a heartbeat. (ahh....I feel better now) CHEERS! :) Thank you Mr. President! I have my 2014 I will only pay $305 a month! AND my coverage is so much better! WOO HOO!

    1. Anonymous12:59 PM

      I am sure that the relief you feel about your coverage is helping to substantially reduce your stress, which will, in turn, help to maintain your health.

      Best of luck with your efforts to kick this disease.

    2. Anonymous1:11 PM

      You go, girl!

    3. I couldn't agree more. I also have a brain tumor, have had surgery, 2 rounds of chemo (a 3rd to come), and radiation. I also have private insurance for which I pay $866 a month FOR MYSELF. My husband and children have a separate policy for the three of them for half of what I pay.

      I called to see about the best exchange plan, and I will now pay $375 a month for BETTER coverage! I am thrilled!

    4. Anonymous5:15 PM

      Hey Spiffie! Anon w/ BC Mets here (from the above long post) :) I am sending you tons of healing thoughts and hugs RIGHT NOW.......and congrats on being one of us people who needs this the most getting FAIR treatment and affordable coverage! I noticed a mistake in my post after you mentioned your new ins. will be $375. That's what I meant to type for mine not $305. I will also have a $500 deductible too! (instead of $2,500) Unfortunately, the last 3 months I have been fighting with my current (nazi) insurers :) and my Oncologist has requested a PET 3 times (denied) as I have new bone pain. (mets to bone as well) So....REALLY looking forward to the new plan! 3 times on the phone to my ins. "advocate" (what a joke) she reminded me that my current plan "does cover hospice care 100%!" How rude is THAT? Spiffie~YOU TAKE CARE and continue being a WARRIOR! I wish you all the best. Chemo sucks. Hate it. :(

    5. Anonymous5:29 PM

      From Anon 12:59: QUOTE "I am sure that the relief you feel about your coverage is helping to substantially reduce your stress, which will, in turn, help to maintain your health"

      YES! :) The stress we all go through, 1st just because we do have cancer and then, because of the insurance companies ripping us off/raising rates. etc., once we get sick is horrible. Plus, the more they raised my rate, lowered their payment responsibility (I went from 90/10 to 40/60) raised my co-pays, etc., the more I had to work! I have not had a day off, no joke, since March 2012. I work 12-16 hour days. I am not kidding. I want a break. I took chemo & radiation and went right back to work. Surgeries....? Right back to work. (against Drs orders, had no choice) FINALLY...a little help in Jan 2014. I mentioned that to my Oncologist this last week at a checkup and he rolled his eyes at me though. Said "I KNOW'll still keep working, but you really SHOULD take a couple days off soon". Yes Sir. ;) I ranted on FB about this the other day and got hate mail from a small handful of so-called friends (now blocked) who are hard core conservatives and HATE the ACA. One person even said "It disgusts me that I have to pay for YOUR cancer!" WTH? They really have NO CLUE as to what Obamacare is, just what Palin, Cruz, Faux News or anyone of these other bozos tell them to believe. What a shame. Do these people have hearts of stone and brains made of straw? Horrible people. So cold and clueless.

  3. Palin, that disgusting rage-filled, hate-filled, animal, will never acknowledge such stories.. Ever.

  4. Anonymous12:53 PM

    I have a child with a chronic condition for which she needs daily medication and regular blood tests. Right now we have great insurance through my husband's insurance. But, if he decided to leave his job for another or to start his own business or if he lost his job, we would be in big trouble in terms of coverage for our daughter's condition. The fact that we don't have to worry about the real death panelists (the insurance companies) is a huge weight of our shoulders.

  5. Anonymous12:57 PM

    I concur with what she said. Within a year I was diagnosed with a spinal tumor and the children's father a brain tumor that ended his life in eight months. My son wishes all family members could get a head to toe MRI annually.

    I take some comfort that if I have the misfortune of having a 20% reoccurence I would not be denied treatment. Stuff happens and often enough people can't work during treatment or recovery adding additional financial burden and

    I can't comprehend the extreme opposition for people to have access to healthcare.

  6. Anonymous1:03 PM

    A friend of mine has a 20-year-old daughter with a serious, chronic medical condition which has prevented her from being able to work. She recently had major surgery to improve her condition.

    Because of the new provisions from the ACA, she will not have a lifetime cap, can remain on her father's insurance until age 26, and cannot be turned down for a pre-existing condition when she begins to work in a couple of years.

    This has eliminated a tremendous source of worry for her and her family.

  7. Anonymous1:14 PM

    Look at that gorgeous kid with his dimple and all... and even now the baby killers at the Pee Pond would say he should have died at diagnosis rather than have librul government health insurance.

  8. Anonymous2:20 PM

    The problem isn't "allowing" people to buy a safety net. The problem is forcing people to buy a safety net.

    And just as you like to point out that it's premature to "hate" Obamacare before it's fully implemented, it is also premature to "love" it. We'll see in ten years if it's good or bad. Hopefully by then it won't be too late.

    1. Anonymous3:13 PM

      Then you may arrange your own health insurance your own way. The rest of us are catching the train now.

      Wild Tortoise

    2. Anonymous4:43 PM

      It's called personal responsibility, you "premature" ejaculator.

    3. Anonymous5:43 PM

      What do uninsured people do when they get sick or injured? What do they do when their kids get sick or injured? How do uninsured people catch diseases early on before they progress? Who pays for their medical care when they can't pay their own medical bills because they don't have insurance?

      The so-called "party of personal responsibility" is saying don't take personal responsibility.

    4. Anonymous6:07 AM

      What you so ignorantly call "Obamacare" is actually "Romneycare", which he enacted in Massachusetts about 8 years ago. We have 8 years of history of it working just fine.

  9. Anonymous2:22 PM

    Thanks to medical malpractice that I wasn't allowed to pursue (long story) I have a lifelong medical condition. Up until now, my biggest fears have been that I lose my job or my company changes insurance companies, because now I have A Preexisting Condition.

  10. Anonymous2:28 PM

    OT...the Tundra Turd joins Dumb and Dumber at the World War 2 Memorial.

  11. What I don't get is those fighting it because the government is going to make them buy insurance. What? You're not about personal responsibility? You are going to wait until you get real sick or terribly injured, then go to the Emergency Room and sponge off the taxpayers to pay your bill? These are right wing, die hard, conservatives that apparently think they shouldn't have to pay for insurance, it should be provided to them for free, either by their employer or by the taxpayer.

    My Mom has just such a friend (who forwarded all the negative and inflammatory anti-Obama e-mails she could find during the elections) who says she is going to pay the penalty instead of being forced to buy insurance.


    It's like Jon Stewart said; that's like paying rent and then living in your car.

    1. Anonymous5:40 PM

      And when she gets sick or injured, she'll just go to the emergency room and make the rest of us pay for it?

  12. Anita Winecooler6:58 PM

    I'm a cancer survivor, and a few other chronic conditions run in our family. The fear and uncertainty and constant fighting with the insurance companies were almost as bad as chemo, radiation, and fighting to live. Every checkup left me a nervous wreck. And I was one of the "fortunate" who had decent coverage,. After five years of remission, it returned with a vengeance and it almost bankrupted us. People who are healthy take it for granted, I know I did before all this started. I'm fifteen years into it, and don't take one moment for granted.
    Knowing I can't be refused, knowing I won't go bankrupt, knowing my college age kids can stay on our plan and have affordable care when they start their lives is a huge relief.
    I took "personal responsibility" and if it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone. The ACA will help save lives.

    These testimonials should go viral.

  13. OK, I am going to go ahead and post with my "real" screen name vs. "Anon" with the long posts, the Stage IV BC Cancer Mets to Bone chick :)
    (I always have ppl who find me this way and send hate mail, but so be it)
    There are MILLIONS of people with stories like mine and the above as well. The people who are anti-ACA are people who have NEVER been chronically ill. They really have NO IDEA what happens when you get sick. If they break their leg and have no insurance, they go to the emergency room. They MAY pay the outrageous bill on their own if they can afford it, or as many say "well, I will just pay $10 a month, once they accept pmt. they can't do anything...." LOL. It's not 1964 people. YOU don't pay? WE pay. That it why the great USA has such insanely high health care costs! You are already PAYING for people just like YOU! I once was scrolling through channels on the TV one evening and came across that "duggers" show? You know, the people who breed, like 20+ kids and keep going? I paused on it, curious, as they were standing in front of an Emergency Room entrance and the "interviewer" asked the husband "so, what DO you DO when someone in your household does become ill, since you don't have insurance?" The husband (with his wife nodding in the background) said "well...we come to this wonderful facility who takes care of it!" Interviewer: "and how to manage to pay for it?" (now, we must realize, they ARE a reality show and get PAID right?) Hubby "Oh gosh, gee, they are so wonderful here.....we have NEVER seen a BILL from them, they help us out....."
    OK, so these right wing conservative fundies who do not believe in entitlements, welfare, anti-ACA....etc., think it's perfectly fine to fly for free in the ER? Guess what folks? The facility "writes it off", they up their rates, they charge more TO the insurance companies, who raise OUR rates....yadda yadda. I mean, come on! Must be nice to get "free health care". I take personal offence at anyone who REFUSES to take responsibility for their own health care when right now, it IS available, affordable and now REQUIRED. Are you the same person who slams into my CAR w/o Liability Insurance? You jerk! Why should I have to pay for your irresponsibility by you not PAYING FOR HEALTH INSURANCE? Trust me, you WILL get sick or injured at some point in your life. And hopefully you will not get cancer, lupus, MS, Diabetes, or any other disease that is chronic or terminal, because trust me, after 5 days of diagnosis and just a few "tests", before treatment even STARTS for YOU, the USPS will deliver a bill for thousands and thousands of dollars. And that's only the beginning, If you do not have insurance, or you are one of these lunatics who REFUSES to purchase and "takes the fine"? You have an IQ of 2. No wait! I know what you'll do! Once your bill hits $100,000 (and it will within weeks my friend, that's chump change) you will immediately declare bankruptcy, file for welfare/food stamps, get all those "Liberal" benefits you HATE (but you will do it!) and then, will get your "free" health care. Thanks to US, the responsible people who actually pay our bills, buy insurance and are REALLY happy now that Obamacare is preventing the crooked insurance industry from abusing the system and basically raping the American public.

  14. I was paying $1975/mo. to the vultures at Empire BC/BS (and every year it went up about $150) for the 4 people in my family. And for that price I didn't get good prescription benefits and they wouldn't pay for orthotics for my plantar fasciitis and I had to fight them for a lot of other things. They just didn't want to pay much, but they liked charging alot. Now I have Health Republic and I'm paying $1360/mo. I am saving over $600/mo. and so far so good. I like it and they are friendly on the phone and hopefully they won't be fighting me like the other jerks. For me, Obamacare is great. Thanks

  15. Anonymous2:10 PM

    The affordable health care act may have saved my life. I was able to finally have a mammogram and they found something. Fortunately its small and probably treatable at this stage. I'm still waiting for a biopsy to confirm if it's cancer. If not for affordable health care I would have not have had the mammogram because of cost. Things could have gotten way out of hand had I not had the mammogram and it does prove to be cancer. I'm not a political person but finally a president who cares about people.


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