My own family contends with not one but four different chronic and / or autoimmune conditions. I simply don’t seek care for my own, and barely cover my type 1 diabetic daughter’s expenses, even with Medicaid coverage, namely because many of the supplies and tools are simply not covered by Medicaid. I qualify for bankruptcy as a result of the medical debt I’ve carried (and continue to add to) for over 20 years, should I ever be able to afford such an undertaking. (Don’t read this as I want to – it’s a need, but I digress.) For the first time since I received the first significant medical diagnosis of a chronic illness at the age of 17, I am filled with a sense of hope. Hope that I won’t be forced to add to the mounting medical debt, hope that I might gain a greater quality of life through adequate care.
I don’t believe that the Affordable Care Act answers all of our problems, or provides the best solution. That said, it provides the greatest step towards better, more affordable health care seen in our nation’s history – a fight that is not new. (Truman and his wife championed national healthcare, and he signed the International Declaration of Human Rights, which lists access to health care as such a right, in 1938 on behalf of our nation.) Perhaps more helpful to understanding the benefits of the ACA is to read one doctor’s account of what would have happened had the Supreme Court ruled the entire law unconstitutional. Despite the fact was written for doctors, before the decision was handed down, it helps to highlight just a few of the positive changes. Kevin MD’s blog article is located here, and I encourage the unconvinced to read it. http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2012/04/chaos-doctors-affordable-care-act-struck.html
We are not done with the fight for truly accessible health care, and between now and 2014, those of us contending with pre-existing conditions, underinsurance, and unfair caps on coverage amount face ongoing challenges. Personally, I cannot wait for the creation of the health insurance exchange and the ability to purchase truly adequate coverage for my children and I, or for the opportunity to seek medical interventions I’ve needed for over a decade. I know so many people, friends and past patients or their families in similar situations. Too bad those like Romney, Boehner, and McConnell are too busy with political grandstanding to understand the future harm they’ve promised to unleash on our nation’s citizens. Then again, they have no idea what it’s like – they and their families already benefit from better health insurance than enjoyed by the majority.