The controversy over the Affordable Healthcare Act is widespread. There are many rumors, misunderstandings, and personal views. For some, this is a life altering change in our healthcare system. For those that are insured, it doesn’t mean as much. We can be opinionated because either way, we can go to the doctor next week if we are sick.
For pediatric cancer patients, this is not always the case. Due to copays, premiums, and insurance caps – a child with cancer can cause severe financial hardship for families with insurance coverage. This is not to mention families without insurance or those that lose insurance due to a parent leaving their job to care for their sick child.
The Affordable Healthcare Act can help alleviate some of these concerns. One big win for these families is the elimination of lifetime caps, so kids cannot be penalized for getting more than one life threatening disease. Another is that children cannot be denied coverage due to preexisting conditions. I ask those against the ACA…do you think it is fair for a mom to have to worry about her financial well-being when she gets told her 8 month old daughter has cancer? Or for a 5 year-old to be denied insurance due to his diagnosis?
One of the first policies initiated by the ACA was that children up to age 26 can stay covered on their parents insurance. Once again, for us 25 year olds with jobs and insurance it might be hard to really grasp the impact of this provision but Kaylin’s story sheds some real insight (see her blog for some real perspective). Kaylin (a twenty something living in NYC) lived with cancer for 3 months before she was able to be treated, all due to lack of insurance. She finally was accepted into Medicaid after months of red tape, but this was not before racking up thousands of dollars in ER bills due to her cancer symptoms. Does this seem fair? Because of the ACA, young adults who graduate college no longer have to worry about losing coverage. This is especially meaningful in our current economy, where unemployment rates are high – especially for recent grads who face an average unemployement rate of 7.9%.
There are thousands of more stories such as Kaylin’s. Those blocking the progression of the ACA need to stop thinking of the act in an abstract light and really focus on the individual impact this has on American lives. Should the United States be a country where people die because they cannot afford healthcare?