Kendall in OklahomaThe moment I finally realized what it meant to be poor and sick in America, I was sitting by myself in the cancer center an hour from my home. I had arrived early for my infusion that day, checked in and gotten that day’s hospital bracelet. Before I could be hooked up to an I.V., I was pulled into a side room, and told my insurance had declined my claim. Unless I could pay the $15,000 the single infusion would cost, I had to go home — without my medicine.
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Jennifer in Oklahoma
- My husband Chris is one of many ACA success stories in redstate Oklahoma.
January2006, age 29 at the time, Chris began working for a non-profit that offeredhealthcare benefits after a certain period of employment. A few months later, we went to the ERthinking he had appendicitis. Doctors quickly took him to surgery thinking thesame. After several hours, the surgeon(accompanied by a chaplain) said he removed a large tumor from Chris’ colon. Hewas on the brink of death with a rare, aggressive form of colon cancer. Removingthe tumor increased his chances for survival but the cancer was far too advancedfor traditional chemotherapy. The only courseof action at that point was to see an oncologist every month for CEA labs and acolonoscopy every 6 months until the oncologist determined he was out of dangerfor a recurrence. So we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best.
Between2006 and 2009, Chris tried to get health insurance but rejected due to cancerdiagnosis being a pre-existing condition. Once the ACA became law, because ofits protections for people with pre-existing conditions, my husband was able topurchase a BCBS policy through the federal exchange and continue seeing anoncologist for needed care. The premiumshave never cost more than $70. per month. In fact, the premium decreased to$0.00 by January of this year.
Neither the AHCA nor the BCRA offer him thesame—not even close.
Miraculously, Chris has not had a recurrence—so far. WithoutACA protections for pre-existing conditions, my husband will be forced (priced)out of the market. Given the highprobability for recurrence and increased costs impeding an early diagnosis ofrecurrence, survival is less likely for my husband. I cannot bear the thoughtof losing my love, my best friend, my world—my hero.