I’m posting a comment I made at dKos. Some of this my TOD family already knows, but here was yesterday’s experience at my doctor: “Before ACA there was no one, at any price, that would cover my asthma. I was rejected outright for all insurance. The high risk pools were ridiculous in deductibles, premiums and would have made running our small business almost impossible.
I’ve been self-employed for 30 years. I had insurance in the past – those exalted “how dare you cancel my plan” type plans that, if you tried to use them, all claims were rejected short of bleeding on the ER floor, and then cancellation after that. Living in the uninsured world of the U.S. was terrifying.
I paid for cataract surgery out of pocket. I’ve gone to my asthma doctor and thought I was receiving good care. He’s a great doctor. I’ve been paying him, and for my meds to stay out of the hospital, out of pocket all these years. That was ‘yesterday’. ‘Today’ I went to see my doctor with an insurance card through ACA and he was going to get an insurance payment for me after 30 years. I’m not destitute. I was frankly surprised and a tad alarmed and still thrilled when he said, “Now I can get the tests and numbers on you that I need to treat you properly.”
He did some lung tests on me: I’m at 50% lung capacity and the test he ran showed, in his words, “Your airwaves are on fire.” This, with expensive meds that I’ve been paying for. I’ve been under-treated and didn’t even know it. For God knows how many years.
Now, as an aside, he should have told me about the tests he needed and we would have found the money somehow. This is the shadow you live under even with a sympathetic doctor – you don’t even know what it means to be treated properly by the American health care system. He should have let me make that choice, but I’m assuming these tests were REALLY expensive (have I mentioned American health care system sucks?)
Adjustments to my meds. An entirely different regimen for my blood pressure. Full blood work next time (although we’ve done basic blood work in the past). I may need a chest x-ray to see if I have low level pneumonia since I’ve been sick three times this winter. But he wants the basic treatment first and then we’ll assess. My last bout of flu or whatever it was – I knew I was over a line. I called the doctor, got some meds prescribed over the phone, but I knew I’d gotten progressively worse through the winter (my insurance kicked in February 1). I wish I could express the alleviation of fear and the peace of mind I had that, if I needed to go to the ER, I could go.
I’ve applied and dealt with private insurance for years so none of this process was foreign to me. I’m going to be 64 in May so I am at the top of what can be charged for insurance. I took a low deductible, maximum flexibility knowing that I will be on Medicare May, 2015 (if we don’t elect RWNJ’s to the Senate and the House – VOTE, PEOPLE). I got a small subsidy. My premium is less a month than I was paying for my meds out of pocket and understand, everything else concerning my health was at risk and we would certainly face financial ruin if I needed any kind of serious medical care.
I chose a co-op plan. These plans were meant to bridge from insurance to a public option-type plan since there is no profit incentive and the overhead is similar to Medicare. Illinois grandfathered in on this grant. The GOP made Obama jettison this program in the 2012 budget deal, God damn them. Even in my doctor’s attitude, the difference between ‘yesterday’ and ‘today’ was astounding. Every one of the RWNJ’s should rot in hell for doing everything in their power to keep Americans sick and second class. Rot. In. Hell. “