- Posted September 27, 2013 by
Healthy, Humanistic Outlook of The Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act has been designed to serve one purpose – to allow unprivileged folks the ability to have health insurance for the first time in years, or possibly even their lives. I would know this because I have worked with government programs and health insurances and have learned firsthand the benefits that it has been, and will continue to provide to those less fortunate than myself. I myself – I am a white male in my twenties, I am not sick, not injured, and not uninsured.
Those of us that have jobs, we are fortunate enough to have the ability to choose our insurances. Like a new pair of clothing, a new car, or a new home, many of us can alter coverage’s to our needs and to our liking. Heck, you don’t like your doctor? Call your insurance and change your doctor! Don’t like your hospital? Call them and change it! But like your clothing, car, or home, millions in modern day America do not have the ability to purchase insurance. Some may ask why? Is it because they are lazy? Is it because they are unintelligent? Is it because they are immigrants? Maybe they follow the rules and political views that you disagree with. That’s it – they are doing it to spit you, your religion, and everything you stand for!
The real answer for the large majority of those Americans is a resounding “No”. The truth is, regardless of your political view or closet racism, many Americans are sick – some are very sick. Many of them are facing life-threatening conditions on a daily basis. They are suffering from intolerable pains, incurable diseases, and some are on their death beds wondering when the right time to say goodbye to their loved ones is. While dealing with these conditions, they are also worrying how they are going to keep the debt collectors from calling their home on an hourly basis. They are wondering when their doctor is going to stop treating them because their bill is unpaid for the third visit. They are wondering just when their small income is going to be garnished because they couldn’t pay for their medical equipment. And yes, they are deciding whether this will be another winter where they can’t afford to turn on the heater because they need their medications.
Those suffering with those conditions, contemplating those questions – they are human. Not only are they human, they are American. MOST are just as American as you and I. Again, focus and keep your racism out of this. They are American. They are Joe from the mechanic shop. Sally from the barber. Theresa, your child’s teacher. Sue, your housemaid. They are hard working people who haven’t been granted the same opportunity as you and I. They weren’t privileged enough to have jobs that provide them with insurances that you and I have. Life got in the way. Maybe they had kids and were forced to quit school early to provide for their child and in the meantime were diagnosed with a progressive, incurable cancer. Keep your beliefs to yourself. They didn’t make these choices to attack your finances or to make your life difficult. Life happened.
My mother raised three children on her own after completing college, after our father decided he didn’t want to be a father. She, at times, held down three jobs to support us. She never slept. She worked with bosses she hated and has since made peace with. She provided for us until we were ready to leave out on our own. Then the economy crashed. My college educated mother was out of a job. She lost her insurance. And guess what? She got sick. She got really sick. Last month she had a double-pulmonary embolism that nearly killed her. Since then she has had a heart surgery to treat her atrial fibrillation that caused the clot to build in her surgically repaired knee.
My mother didn’t choose to do this because she doesn’t like you. She didn’t choose for this to happen to her because she likes hospitals. She didn’t choose for her heart to stop working right, just when she lost her job. I could probably wage a good amount of money that, given the choice, she would have wished this never happened to her at all. My mother is an extremely hard worker. She’s also hard-headed. She refuses to ask for help and is extremely prideful. Now this has happened, and she’s depressed, unemployed, and taking life day-by-day in her recovery. She also won’t be able to pay her bills. She lost her job two months back because she had this condition; the stress was just too much for her heart to handle. Her insurance is ending at the end of the month.
With her insurance ending, we aren’t quite sure how we can help her. She won’t be able to see her doctor about her recovery. She won’t be able to attend therapy. She won’t be able to pay for her medication that prevents blood clots – the very thing that put her in the position she is in now. She won’t be able to afford insurance without income because… Well, because insurance isn’t free. Insurance is especially not free in Arizona, where it is nearly impossible to have state assistance without being pregnant or under eighteen. My mother, at almost 60, isn’t having kids anytime soon. Even if she were able to materialize money out of nowhere, most, if not all, insurances would refuse to take her with her current and pre-existing conditions. That is, until the Affordable Care Act hits its next stage next month and allows those in her condition – with pre-existing conditions – the ability to purchase insurance.
I have worked in the health insurance industry for six years. I have spoken to thousands of Medicare beneficiaries over my years about the hardships they experience. The decisions they must make as to whether they can eat or live until tomorrow are beyond difficult to hear. It is possible I spoke to your parents or grandparents. The same ones whose health is failing; the same ones that are sad their kids don’t see them anymore. I have heard the heartbreak these humans have felt and the pains they have gone through because I was the only one to listen to them. Suffering isn’t necessary, but it happens in your own backyard while you sit around to judge those less fortunate than you on a news website.
I am not asking for sympathy. I am not asking for empathy. I would like those who tend to see only what they know from the media to take a second look. Do research of your own. Think with your heart instead of your wallet. I, too, will have to pay what everyone else will pay. The Affordable Care Act will grant my mother the ability to receive treatment for the conditions that have nearly killed her. The Affordable Care Act will provide insurance opportunities to those human beings around you that you don’t even know but openly, and without hesitation, judge. The same people that allow your comfy, over-paid office job to exist. You don’t know them, they don’t know you, and they are going through things that I hope you and your family never have to. And for the first time, they will be able to receive the treatments they need and deserve. They will be able to do this without sacrificing this week’s groceries, or next month’s heat. They will be able to live a life closer to the one that you take for granted.