This week in the United States, the House pushed through a bill that would drastically reduce care for those with pre-existing conditions and substantially increase the cost of having a pre-existing condition, making it pretty much unaffordable. A pre-existing condition can be anything from cancer to ADD, acne to autism, cerebral palsy to diabetes, a c-section and possibly even sexual assault (although I’m now reading that this is more complicated than the bill saying that rape is a pre-existing condition, which it does not).
If this bill passes in the Senate and becomes law, it will be devastating for millions of families…millions upon millions upon millions. There is literally no one I know, both in and out of the cancer world, who this will not negatively effect.
I want to be clear, the ACA is not perfect. Not by a long shot. It has a lot of problems. While one of my friends who is on it say she is now paying less monthly for her family for better coverage, two others say that they are paying more monthly in co-pays and deductibles that they can’t even meet. Why is this? I’m not sure but it does seem unfair . It needs fixing.
But it seems to me that signing the death certificate of so many who need life saving medical care is not the answer. This bill is far from the answer.
After the new healthcare bill passed in the House, I said out loud, to myself, “Wow, I’m lucky I got cancer when I did.” Then I suddenly stopped breathing for a moment, realizing the thought that I had just spoken out loud. I was LUCKY to get cancer when I did? Then, by the same token, I was lucky to have had a difficult birth experience and have a c-section when I did.
To say something like this is crazy. Just crazy! Because no one is lucky to get cancer…EVER! But at the same token, I can’t help but wonder if I dodged a financial bullet. Being on very good, employer based healthcare (something I do not take for granted and yes, I know how lucky I am) we’ve come out of the cancer experience in financial tact. There are countless others who can not say the same thing. I know that. But under this new bill, if my cancer were to come back, which it can at any time, my care could bankrupt my family.
The question I would face, and that so many others face now and will certainly face if this new bill goes through is, what is my life worth? Is it worth bankrupting my family for a few more months? Would people just give up the fight for the benefit of the future generations?
Why should anyone have to make this choice? Isn’t every life precious? Don’t we all deserve to be here for as long as possible? Don’t we all deserve the same access to top-notch care?
This healthcare bill literally makes my stomach turn when I think about what it means for the cancer community and beyond. And I’m more sickened that I sighed a breath of relief that I got sick when I did. But, it’s true. I’m lucky. I got cancer when it seems that our government cared, even just a little bit, about whether I lived or died.
I can write a book about what I think are the long term implications on our society when we put a bill like this one into place. But just imagine, who will be left if no one could afford life saving measures? Only the richest few. What would America be? Who would we be?
Hmmm….I see a dystopian novel in my future.