- Our son, the week after coming home from the hospital after being diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes.
Obamacare isn’t popular. But there ARE key provisions of Obamacare that are very popular. One of these is a guarantee of insurance coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, a provision supported by 85% of Americans. Other provisions are also very popular, such as the ability to cover your children until they turn 26. Despite the popularity of these provisions, about half of America would like ObamaCare to be repealed. Perhaps that half should look past the political BS and look at the real-world effects of ObamaCare.
My 9-year old son has had Type-1 diabetes since just after his 1st birthday. We are fortunate enough to have good insurance, but I shudder to think of those in our situation without insurance. Our son has an insulin pump, which alone costs $8,000. Supplies for the pump? $1,800 every 3 months. And that doesn’t include other supplies for testing blood, doctor visits, etc. What happens for someone like us under Obamacare, vs. under the status quo? What are the REAL world effects should Obamacare be repealed?
First, Obamacare extends the length of time parents can cover their children. We could cover our son until his 26th birthday. Secondly, once he turns 26 and needs to get his own coverage, he couldn’t be discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition. But what if Obamacare is repealed? What happens to someone like my son? What happens when he turns 26, and has to get coverage on his own? Could he even GET coverage, given that he has Type-1 diabetes? What happens if he has to change jobs? In a post-ObamaCare world, who pays the thousands of dollars for supplies that my son’s VERY LIFE depends upon???
My wife and I both have good jobs, but even so, I can’t imagine trying to pay for pump and other supplies, without insurance coverage. That nightmare is a REALITY for thousands of Americans, until ObamaCare fully takes effect. We OURSELVES have heard from families with poor or no insurance coverage, who have had a child diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes. We OURSELVES have gotten stories from parents whose options are few. For a parent with a child with Type-1 diabetes, you’re constantly fighting against time and the inexorable march of the disease. As time marches on, the liklihood of complications rises, be it coronary disease, kidney damage, diabetic retinopathy resulting in blindness, etc. Your ONLY weapon against it right now? Controlling your child’s blood sugar as best as you can. To do that, an insulin pump is indispensible.
But this is America. We seem to value corporate profits more than the health of our own children. For FAR too many with poor or no insurance coverage, the only choice is to skimp on diabetic supplies, using constant insulin injections and paying for testing supplies as you can. Do you have ANY idea how DAMN HARD it is to constantly have to give your young child multiple shots, every day, day-after-day, with NO end? Do you have ANY idea how DAMN HARD it is when the first phrase your child learns to put together is “No Shot!! No Shot!!!” (something we dealt with). It tears your heart out. God knows I broke down like a baby the first time I had to give my son a shot, while he was in the hospital after being diagnosed. And that definitely wasn’t the only time.
For the first year and a half after diagnosis, my 1-year old son had to endure a minimum of 3 injections per day, usually more. Every meal had to be planned in advance, every carb counted. For 8 years since, we’ve also maintained a constant regimen of blood tests, including my wife and I taking turns being the one who gets up in the middle of the night to check him. Despite our best efforts, it was very difficult to control his blood sugars during that first year and a half. Despite our best efforts, I felt like we were “failing” our son, because we knew that in the long-term, an inability to control blood sugars made diabetic complications much more likely.
When our son was 2, we were blessed with the opportunity to start using an insulin pump. Instead of 3+ injections a day, he only needed one “site change” every 3 days. Instead of carefully planning every meal and snack well ahead of time to ensure he was getting the right amount of carbs to match the insulin we estimated was left in his body…he now could now eat whatever he wants, whenever he wants. We just have to type in the number of carbs, and the pump gives him the correct amount of insulin. Best of all, his blood sugar control was DRAMATICALLY better. We’ve at least done all we can to slow the progression of the disease.
But let’s say you’re a single mom without health insurance, and you’re facing the same nightmare we have. Can that single mom afford a pump for her child? Or is she forced to choose a life of painful injections, KNOWING there’s a better way, but also knowing that in America, the health of her child isn’t as important as the profits of a health insurer? What about a middle class family in this situation who is forced into a job or location change? Will that family be able to get insurance coverage for their child with a pre-existing condition? Or will they too be forced to choose between incredibly expensive payments for insulin pump equipment, or using cheaper methods of blood sugar control?
Why should they HAVE to make that choice? Is this America? Or is this some third-world country with a government, health-care system, and a PEOPLE unable, or UNWILLING to make the health of their children a national priority?
THIS is the reality of ObamaCare. It is NOT a political tool to be wielded like a weapon by the two parties. ObamaCare is about REAL PEOPLE. It’s about covering people who’s very LIVES are in jeopardy without insurance coverage. It’s about Americans acting as if they GIVE A DAMN about the health of their children.