Vast numbers of Americans do not understand how the Affordable Care Act will make their expenditures for healthcare a heck of a lot more affordable. I am talking about the 80% of American voters who have insurance now, who misguidedly think it has them covered. Medical bankruptcies are up and they are happening to people like you and me because of unanticipated, unaffordable health expenses.
This week, I am sending money to a friend with breast cancer who has four children and insurance. Her friends are planning a fundraiser. She has had 6 surgeries and she can’t keep up. She’s got breast care drugs that she cannot afford and no lifetime or yearly caps. I know someone else who delayed investigating a breast lump because she had to get herself insurance first. Now she’s stage IV and providers are after her daily for $$.
It’s not just cancer, although it is the first thing that often comes to mind. It’s mental health care that is not available for many Americans. It is what happens when someone suddenly has a debilitating stroke or progressive illness, or becomes disabled. Or drugs for HIV that suddenly become cut from the federal budget and thousands of HIV-positive Americans are without drugs. Annual and lifetime caps, an end to pre-existing conditions, and insurance exchanges, and so much more, have to be made plain to everyone.
It’s time to step up sharing specific examples of how people fare pre-ACA versus post-. We need to move beyond generalities and intangibles to real-life hardships. Social Security and Medicare, also faced early challenges and a skeptical public. I hope to share more stories here of real people who are going broke, barely staying alive because of current health policies. Many are insured, but can’t keep up.
If you are bored and feel like you have heard these vignettes many times before, make a contribution for the public good: try these real-life stories out on people who think catastrophic expenses could not happen to them. There are thousands more stories like this. Sadly, it is not unlike the AIDS Quilt.
We are in a precarious period. I urge you to get angry and seek out these stories. You won’t need to look too far. Get these stories around. RT them, tell them at parties. Let’s be sure the Affordable Care Act and all its essential public health infrastructure stand.
If you’ve got a story to tell, share it in the comments. If it’s too long, write me at “patientpov” at “gmail dot com.”