The real threat to my future has to do with our healthcare system. I may lose a few of you on this, but it is a real issue that needs to be talked about, then talked about again and again to anyone you know.
What does someone with a pre-existing condition look like to you? Like me? Maybe. Before being diagnosed, pre-existing conditions had no influence in my life because I didn’t know what they were and that someone could be sick without looking sick.
Depending on where you are at, there is probably someone in the room you are currently in that suffers from some sort of pre-existing condition, or at least has a relative who does. I am one of the millions of Americans with a pre-existing condition and in the spirit of the 4th of July, I found myself trying to be a more informed, active citizen and to bring awareness and understanding to what is truly being proposed under the American Health Care Act.
Why you should care too: on its face, the recent bill introduced into the Senate for approval does not allow insurance companies to flat out deny coverage to someone with a pre-existing condition, which was the headline reported to most of America. However, the language of the bill indicates that each state would have discretion to decide what is considered ‘essential health coverage’. Currently, there are 10 required ‘benefits’ that your insurance must cover, some of which include coverage for prescription drugs and hospitalization. Cherry picking benefits depending on your state’s interests could mean those with pre-existing conditions are about to pay a lot more for our already expensive treatment, in hopes of being healthy one day.
Having Crohn’s is expensive in America! Without insurance, the treatment I’m receiving is $5,500 a session, medication is anywhere from $200-$600/mo. and thyroid medicine is another $125 a month. Thanks to my insurance I only have to pay about $200 a month for all of this, and that is being conservative. I’m one of the lucky ones, seriously. Many of you with Crohn’s have been hospitalized dozens of times with weeks long stays, several surgeries, and will always require multiple medications a day. Many of you with Crohn’s are not able to work, or at least not without accommodation, myself now included. Having to ask for that accommodation is also humiliating, for the record.
I really am thankful to be employed full-time by a company with great benefits, but that also didn’t come for free. Despite my condition, I’ve got big dreams & I am working hard to hopefully achieve them someday. Yes, I understand I may never be as greatly impacted as others with pre-existing conditions, especially if I stay in corporate America. Yes, I know the future of the bill is weary, but I also know this fight for healthcare is just beginning. Does that mean I should stay where I am at for the rest of my career in order to secure good health care? That is not why I worked as hard as I did for a higher education, however, I am not sure what my reality will become and that scares me enough.
To be clear, I’m not saying the Affordable Care Act is anything to brag about either, but I’m positive the American Health Care Act in its current form is a step in the wrong direction. I greatly encourage all of you to read about it, know about it, and help to make a real change, because it is not a problem that is going to go away.