The following is an article submitted by a brave Fresh U writer who wished to remain anonymous while sharing their story.
I have cancer. I was devastated when I found out last semester, but as far as cancer goes, I suppose you could say I’m lucky—I have a very early stage, and I have been able to get treatment that hopefully reduces the possibility of it spreading. I’ve also been lucky because thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), I’ve been able to have a good insurance plan and receive excellent health care in spite of this pre-existing condition.
This could all change should Obamacare be repealed—and it looks like that could happen. I was naturally terrified reading the news following the Jan.12 U.S. Senate session that lasted until 1:30 a.m. and ended with Senate Republicans blocking an amendment raised by Senate Democrats, in an effort to protect the most popular and important aspects of the ACA that would have protected people like me with preexisting conditions.
I was truly upset when I received my diagnosis, but was able to focus on healing and getting better, because my family’s insurance really reduced the cost of what would otherwise be extremely expensive treatments.
I go to treatments three times a week that, without insurance, would cost over $1,400 a month. My family and I drove 10 hours to see a specialist, who I will now be seeing once every six months to a year, and the initial visit would have cost us $13,000 without insurance. I am so lucky that with proper treatment and monitoring I will be perfectly fine, but without good insurance, it will cost a lot of money to ensure that it stays that way.
This already takes a financial and emotional toll on my family, and I could not imagine the extra burden that not having insurance would place on us, or on me as an individual in the long run. Take for example, saving for retirement. I would have to put aside money for my medical expenses, and as a parent, I would have to save not only for my children’s college education, but also for the very real possibility of having to cover them without insurance as well.
As a side note, Senate Republicans also blocked proposed amendments that would continue to allow children up to 26 years old to stay on their parents’ health insurance, one that has allowed contraception to be covered under health insurance, one expanding Medicaid, and one that would make it harder to prevent veterans from getting VA coverage. These amendments were aimed at helping our children, our sick and our veterans, yet they failed because of partisan divisions within our government. Their decision to limit basic rights to healthcare affects us all.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was there late into the night, fighting against the GOP’s actions to dismantle the ACA.
"I think it's important for this country to know this was not a usual thing, this is a day which lays the groundwork for 30 million people to be thrown off their health insurance," Sanders said. "And if that happens, many of these people will die."
I am scared. I am so, so scared that I will continue to be punished for having this condition—this cancer that I didn’t ask for or deserve. Who is to say that 10 years from now, I won't be unemployed or under-payed, and because of my inability to pay for insurance, am unable to pay for treatments? I am lucky in the fact that if I stay in my current stage of cancer, I would be able to live without those treatments. But what if it progresses?
Others are not so lucky. This is not about saving money; this is about possibly saving the lives of American citizens, and of allowing American citizens their basic rights. I am not trying to say that Obamacare is perfect. I simply beg you to look past the partisanship of Obamacare and see the immense benefits it offers for American citizens such as myself. This government's decision is not without consequence, and I implore you to think long and hard about your fellow Americans before choosing your side.
Lead image via Pixabay