About 30 years ago, I lost the health care coverage provided by my employer and had to shop in the “free market” for a plan I could afford. Problem was, I had several pre-existing conditions: congenital nerve deafness, a history of endometriosis (and a subsequent hysterectomy) and a sprained ankle I’d suffered a couple of years previously.
I managed to find an insurance company that would cover me, but only for conditions that were not related to my ears (including ear infections and external injuries), my reproductive system (even though much of it had been surgically removed and the remainder was totally unaffected by the endometriosis) and any injuries or diseases affecting my ankle. I was desperate and I took it, gambling that I would not need coverage for any of these excluded conditions before I got better insurance, which I expected to do in a few months.
Time passes and things change. With the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), I had coverage for the hearing aids I needed, for the twice-yearly checkups I needed for the pre-cancerous condition that began afflicting my reproductive system and for the ankle fracture I sustained. If I’d had to cover the costs of treating these issues myself, it would have cost me more than $30,000.
I’ve been on Medicare for nearly three years, but I vividly remember the panic I felt when I realized my health insurance was full of holes. And the gratitude I felt when Obamacare provided me with guaranteed coverage for my pre-existing conditions, preventive care and a health plan I could actually afford.
In the midst of the worst public health crisis our country has ever known, President Donald Trump is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take down Obamacare and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions. His ardent supporter, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik (who has voted to eliminate coverage for pre-existing conditions and advocated for cuts to Medicare and Medicaid coverage to the working poor) is at his side. They evidently think that large numbers of north country people are disposable — that lacking health care, we’ll either die or be too apathetic to vote.
But we who need access to affordable, comprehensive health care have other choices. In November, vote for Joe Biden and Tedra Cobb!