When President Obama’s comprehensive health care bill passed, many were upset. Some felt it didn’t go far enough to provide universal health care to all Americans, while others got caught up in the hype and thought the law would drive up health care costs and limit choices.
Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times published an op-ed piece by a woman, formerly a staunch Obama supporter, who was extremely critical of the health care reform bill. After it passed, Spike Dolomite Ward says she was so upset with the President that she switched from being a registered Democrat to an Independent, and changed her “Got Hope” Obama sticker to “Got nope.” Ward says that after campaigning for the President, she felt let down by her perceived lack of action on his part. But, since losing her health care coverage two years ago and recently finding out she has breast cancer, she’s singing a new tune.
After losing jobs and paying for a high-cost health care plan, Ward and her husband had a decision to make: Continue paying their mortgage or pay for health insurance. And let’s just say they’re not homeless. The couple chose to keep their house and went without health coverage, which, according to Ward, was a gamble they lost. Ward was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and after speaking to a financial counselor at the hospital to figure out how to afford her costly cancer treatments, Ward found out about a provision in President Obama’s health care law that allows those with pre-existing conditions to qualify for coverage. Although she could have easily taken the insurance and kept silent, Ward that she’s decided to “out” herself in an effort to help others who may be going through the same thing.
What I want people to understand is that, if this could happen to us, it could happen to anybody.
If you are fortunate enough to still be employed and have insurance through your employers, you may feel insulated from the sufferings of people like me right now. But things can change abruptly. If you still have a good job with insurance, that doesn’t mean that you’re better than me, more deserving than me or smarter than me. It just means that you are luckier. And access to healthcare shouldn’t depend on luck.
Fortunately for me, I’ve been saved by the federal government’s Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, something I had never heard of before needing it. It’s part of President Obama’s healthcare plan, one of the things that has already kicked in, and it guarantees access to insurance for U.S. citizens with preexisting conditions who have been uninsured for at least six months. The application was short, the premiums are affordable, and I have found the people who work in the administration office to be quite compassionate (nothing like the people I have dealt with over the years at other insurance companies.) It’s not perfect, of course, and it still leaves many people in need out in the cold. But it’s a start, and for me it’s been a lifesaver — perhaps literally.
Ward implores others to research the health care law, which also has provisions for people 26 and under to stay on their parent’s insurance, coverage for minors with pre-existing conditions, and has lowered the cost or prescriptions for those on MediCare.
Unfortunately for Ward, and others, it took a traumatic event to see the positive effects of the bill, but she’s hoping others will learn from her ignorance.
So, is Ward officially back on Team Obama?
She says that the “Got nope” sticker is being replaced by a new one: “ObamaCares.”