I had a bike accident in my early 30s and smashed in my head and knee. I was taken by ambulance to the hospital, something I would have protested had I been conscious at the time. I was in Emergency for over two hours, laying on a gurney unattended, the curtain around my small area the only thing separating me from ten other people laying on gurneys in the large room. I watched doctors and nurses pass me without stopping to inquire what I was there for. When I finally got a nurse's attention I asked if I could go, but she insisted a doctor had to sign a release before I'd be allowed to leave.
Three hours into my Emergency visit a doctor came in and examined me. He told me I had a mild concussion that would heal itself, but my kneecap had been crushed in the accident and would have to be surgically repaired. I had no health insurance as a freelance designer, and there was no way in hell I could afford surgery. He assured me if I didn't have surgery I'd be unable to continue playing racquetball, be drastically limited in most any sport, and probably limp the rest of my life. I left the hospital five hours after arrival in a wheel chair since I couldn't walk with my knee blown up from the impact with concrete, and crying, knowing I could never afford the surgery he recommended, thinking I'd be crippled for life.
My sister was on a ski trip with her husband the same time I had my bike accident. She fell going downhill and tore her knee up pretty badly, ending up in a private hospital room in Lake Tahoe the same time I was in Emergency down in L.A. While I was still recovering in my rented house a week later, choosing between paying my hospital bill and eating for the next month, she was in surgery having her knee repaired by a renowned orthopedic surgeon at UCLA Medical Center. My sister's husband was a commercial real estate developer, a millionaire since his early 20s, and they were fully insured.
President Obama lost his mother to ovarian cancer in 1995, around the same time I hurt my knee. In Obama's own words:
“[My mother] was 52 years old when she died of ovarian cancer, and you know what she was thinking about in the last months of her life? She wasn't thinking about getting well. She wasn't thinking about coming to terms with her own mortality. She had been diagnosed just as she was transitioning between jobs. And she wasn't sure whether insurance was going to cover the medical expenses because they might consider this a preexisting condition. I remember just being heartbroken, seeing her struggle through the paperwork and the medical bills and the insurance forms. So, I have seen what it's like when somebody you love is suffering because of a broken health care system. And it's wrong. It's not who we are as a people."
Obama's mother's employer-provided health insurance covered most of the costs of her medical treatment, leaving her to pay the deductible and uncovered expenses, which came to several hundred dollars per month. Her employer-provided disability insurance denied her claims for uncovered expenses because the insurance company said her cancer was a preexisting condition.
My knee eventually repaired itself for the most part. I was able to play racquetball a couple of months after the accident, and I don't walk with a limp today. I was lucky. I would have died from cancer, or extended illness, unable to afford any treatment at that time. I did get medical insurance soon after my bike accident from Kaiser HMO, basically the bottom of the barrel in health care. The individual plan cost me $350 a month, lower than anyone else out there, and I lied on their application about per-existing conditions since my knee was basically healed by then.
My sister was back to skiing a month after the surgery. She's had two more accidents and two more surgeries since, until she gave up skiing as probably not her sport. She can choose to go back to skiing any time, of course, because she's had the best medical care money can buy.
Millions of Americans aren't as luck as my sister and her family.
ObamaCare was NEVER about providing medical insurance for the wealthy. They don't need it. The rich take care of themselves, always. Sometimes, many times, off the money they make on the backs of everyone else, but the bottom line is they don't need assistance taking care of their own. ObamaCare was intended to cover those who can't afford medical insurance, or medical care, or pay the outrageous hospital bills whether insured or not, that come after every stay, regardless how nominal.
My 13 yr old son was in a bike accident and broke his arm. Now fully insured with Blue Shield of California, we paid almost $1,000 out of pocket for what our PPO insurance didn't cover. And we're lucky, because we can afford to pay the out of pocket expense. We're not in the horrible position of having to choose between getting our children health care or feed them, as so many Americans are today.
The southern states, such as Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, have the highest poverty rates in this country. Their arrogance is only superseded by their ignorance in supporting the Tea Party who is actively trying to kill ObamaCare, when the poor are the very people President Obama is trying to help.
ObamaCare is designed to provide health insurance for everyone in this country. Why is that important? For the rich (and members of our congress), it's not so much. They're covered. My sister and her wealthy family will live longer and in less pain overall than most Americans. For the middle class with jobs that provide health insurance, why should you care? If you lose your job tomorrow, what then? It's not like the olden days now, where you worked for a company for life and died a few years into retirement. Odds are you'll go through many jobs in your career life. And the interim between jobs, what happens to your family if someone gets sick? Cobra—insurance extension, only covers the first year and is absurdly expensive.
We need a health care system that provides for every American. President Obama tried to make that happen in a much broader way than ObamaCare, but the Republicans and Tea Party whittled it down to the present ObamaCare plan, then blame him because it isn't perfect. But it is a step in the right direction, to insure every American, whether you work for an employer, or have the guts to try a business on your own, whether you're wealthy or not.
Like our President, I too hope we, as a nation, are better people than simple watching those who aren't privilege with wealth suffer. Right now my family can afford to pay a bit higher insurance premiums being required by some to fund ObamaCare. I am willing to make this investment now, to help those in need, but also to cover myself and my family if down the line I can not afford health care coverage. Instead of tearing down the Affordable Care Act, we must rise up as a nation to support the first health care legislation, ever, that provides for every American now, and for the future health of our country, 'and that [our] government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.'