Karen in GeorgiaI don't have any pictures of adorable kids, as a woman I was too busy working 90 hours a week to compete with my make peers so I had no time for family or much else. After years, I achieved VP status in a small startup. When my Dad got terminally ill, I left my job to care for him (FMLA excluded me). My dad passed away & my COBRA ran out and a couple of months later, mere weeks before starting a new job, I got a cancer diagnosis. I'd had nagging pain for a couple of months but wanted to wait until the insurance kicked in with my new job. Mistake. My cancer was stage 3B, a massive tumor.
I'd done all the right things, I was a healthy fit 49 year old athlete, paid my taxes, saved money, invested, had 401k. IRA, I'm even a USAF veteran but that wasn't enough to get me treatment without insurance. Duke & Emory both refused me appointments, I had too much in assets for VA or medicaid so even the Atlanta General wasn't an option except for ER care, and they don't do surgery, chemo or radiation in the ER. I had only a couple of months to live without treatment. I went to Canada, where my fiance lived and was able to get treated, though it cost me over 250K AND a payment plan for the rest. I lost all my retirement, savings & home. I never wanted to leave home for treatment but even had I found a provider the 2 surgeries, 33 rounds of radiation, 14 days of chemo, CT scans, MRIs, biopsies, hospital, lab work, medications, colostomy supplies would have cost me at least 4 times as much.
I was lucky, I had the resources and credit to get care, which quite literally saved my life. My oncologist calls me her "miracle patient". If I'd had insurance, it might have been caught at an early stage. If I'd had insurance I'd still have savings, I'd still have hope for retirement. I'm broke but alive, and I'm the lucky one. I know that. No one should have to face death or bankruptcy, no one should suffer the incredible stress of financial devastation while fighting for their very lives. Lack of insurance took me from being an american success story, a tax payer in the highest bracket to being broke and possibly uninsurable again. My biggest fear is a recurrence (70% chance) not having insurance. Next time, I'll surely die since all of my assets are gone.
Getting sick should not be a crime and it shouldn't be punishable by death.