I’ve been quiet here. Mostly because I’ve been working a lot lately. And that’s great. I love working and I love thinking about what I’m writing and all of that.
But also? I’ve been fearful.
In 1989 I was on my father’s insurance through his former employer. I had been diagnosed with cancer. I had three rounds of chemotherapy and we were making life altering surgical choices.
Then my insurance company told my parents they were dropping me.
Let that sink in for a minute.
On top of every decision that had to be made then my parents had to find a way to pay for 15 more rounds of chemotherapy (each requiring a hospitalization for up to five nights) and major surgery. Potentially more surgeries. Countless lab draws and scans. Clinic visits. Nurse visits. Prosthetics? Crutches? Physical therapy? All of these things.
My parents were able to come to terms with the insurance company and the employer that they would pay for COBRA. Which, for those of you lucky enough to know, is STUPIDLY EXPENSIVE.
I was mostly unaware of a lot of this going on. Mostly. I could see the tension in my mom’s face. I saw her talking with the billing specialists at the hospital. I heard snippets of conversations between her and the social worker at the hospital.
Fast forward to me graduating college. I was at the Long Term Survivors Clinic at the hospital where I’d been treated. I was graduating from the hospital and moving to the adult world of follow-up care. I was told that it was necessary for me to ALWAYS HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE. Always. If I lapsed in coverage at any point in time I could be denied coverage in the future because of my pre-existing condition.
Then the ACA happened. And even though I’d always had coverage. Even though I had never really been denied coverage (I was denied a C-Leg by my insurance company, but I moved on). I remember breathing because it meant I could ALWAYS get coverage. And not go broke paying for it. That even though I now I had more health complications that were directly related to my cancer I would always get insurance.
But now? All of that is up in the air.
I still have insurance through an employer, but if this repeal goes through. If it goes through as it is written?
It’s not about lower premiums or a free market. It is, quite literally, about lives.