Today is the one year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. No matter who you are, you know someone who has benefited or will benefit from this law. I am no different. At Health & Disability Advocates, every year we talk to hundreds of clients who are in need of access to medical care that they have been denied because of a pre-existing condition. For example, there is Haley White, a 22 yr old young woman from Wauconda, IL, who as a result of Hodgkin’s lymphoma as a teenager, could not get insurance and faced crushing debt from periodic hospitalizations. As of March 1, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, she is on the Illinois Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan and can get the tests she needs to monitor her health.
This client case, in particular, is personal to me. In March 1995, when I was 25 my boyfriend (then a graduate student) was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Time stopped as our realities shifted from making plans for our future together to making plans for oncologist visits, biopsies, stem cell transplants. We moved through what seemed like a nightmare. In retrospect, we didn't even realize how lucky we were. We didn't have to think once about whether or not he would be able to pay for his appointments or get the life-saving treatments he needed: he was a student and was covered by his university's (as it turns out generous) health insurance plan.
Fast forward 16 years -- the boyfriend is now my husband (who has been in remission since 1995). Over the past 16 years, I have thanked his doctors, our parents, family and friends for their care and support during that difficult time. I never thought to thank his university for providing such amazing health insurance. I didn't realize how fortunate we were. Now that I'm in the health care field and have my own children, I think about that all of the time. I think about the Haley Whites of the world who didn't have health insurance and had to worry about her health AND her health care. It shouldn't have to be that way.
Imagine if you or someone you know -- a relative, neighbor or friend -- was diagnosed with a disease and then was denied health coverage years later because of it. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, it doesn't have to be that way anymore.
Health & Disability Advocates