Paid by Tammy Garcia, Democrat, for FL House 37

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Healthcare needs to be a human right

February 21, 2018

Imagine... 

You're young, in graduate school, healthy, exercise, eat right, and don't smoke. But you have a history of migraines. You control them with over the counter medication and diet control. You are no longer able to be on your parents insurance so you have to get your own. You make calls to get quotes. Only instead of quotes, you're told that you're uninsurable because of your migraines. Doesn't matter that you'd be willing to pay more, they simply won't even cover you. 

 

This is what insurance was like before the Affordable Care Act. This was MY story before the ACA. I could not get insurance because of migraines. Something I didn't need prescription medication for and didn't require any kind of routine care. Didn't matter though. I was marked for life. 

 

Now imagine another scenario...

You're 31 years old, seemingly healthy, eat right and exercise. But you're having trouble breathing. You aren't a smoker so something doesn't seem right about it. You go to a few doctors and eventually hear "you have non hodgkins lymphoma." You are immediately hospitalized because a tumor is growing into your heart. You are scheduled for an immediate biopsy and when the result confirms the diagnosis, you are scheduled to start chemotherapy the next morning. It's a terrifying experience. But then someone walks in the room and says "I'm from Blue Cross Blue Shield" and your heart stops. You worry they are gonna say "you were diagnosed with cancer so we are going to drop you" or "I'm sorry but we won't be covering this." Instead, they say "if you need anything, we are here for you and we have a 24/7 nurses line in case you have questions at any time."  

 

This was life for my husband AFTER the ACA. And thanks to the ACA, our deductible and out of pocket maximum were incredibly low. 

 

The ACA is NOT perfect by any means. But I cannot imagine what our life would've been like without it. Insurance can't deny me coverage for any reason. They couldn't drop my husband when he was diagnosed. And they aren't allowed to place a maximum on what they'll pay. These are all good things. Getting rid of these components will cause harm to a lot of people. I guarantee that whether you know it or not, someone you know would be impacted. 

 

I have worked in the eye care field since 2004. I've been responsible for insurance billing for about the last 10 years. In that time, what the insurance pays doctors hasn't really changed. In some instances it hasn't increased at all and in some other instances, the amount they pay the doctor has DECREASED by more than 50%! So while you are paying more to the insurance company and the cost of tuition rises for school, these doctors are getting paid less and less. This is an area the ACA failed to help. Like I said, it isn't perfect but it's leaps and bounds better than what we had. 

 

No one should ever have to declare bankruptcy because they were unlucky in their health. No one should ever have to decide "do I pay my medical bill or do I buy food?" No one should ever have to worry that they won't be able to afford life saving treatment. It is the morally responsible thing to do to make healthcare a basic right. 

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