ObamaCare is About Hope for many and for me
I, like many Americans, have waited a long time for decent health care. The older I get, the scarier it gets. Before, the only health care I had or could afford to have, had been the poor working person’s health care. Everyone, the higher middle-class, the rich and even the unemployed poor had health care, we had the emergency room, for emergencies only.
Just because I chose to work for a living but had little education and worked at a job that served those who could afford health care, I was denied health care. My only option was the emergency room; still is until I finally am allowed to get on the federal exchange and shop for health care.
Finally, the day did come that ObamaCare; the Affordable Care Act, was fully implemented and people like me could sign up and get affordable health care. For many of us, it was a joyous day. I started trying to sign up the very first day, simply because I was so excited that I could finally get a preventive health exam and have a doctor take serious notice of my health issues.
A few years ago, I finally had to go to the emergency room. That was because I had been suffering from gall stone attacks, which meant I would spend about 4 or 5 hours in serious pain in my abdomen. It would usually happen just as I got into the bed to sleep, which meant no sleep until the episodes were over. I could do nothing but ignore them, even though I had figured out from going online and looking up the symptoms – a method many of us working poor do when we have serious medical issues – just what the problem was.
Months had gone by and then things got worse. My food began to taste metallic, my urine had grown dark and finally red and then I developed jaundice, as my skin grew yellowish. Still, I avoided going to the emergency room – my only option for health care – because I was barely paying my bills from paycheck to paycheck and I could not afford any more expenses.
One night I got to my job as a hotel night auditor, barely able to stand, let alone work. The desk clerk I was relieving noticed the color of my skin and she could tell I was very sick, and told me I should get medical help. My response to her was, “I cannot afford it”. She then said, “You had better, or you will die.” I was scared at that point because I knew she was right, but I was a poor working person and the expense was just too much. I made too much to qualify for Medicaid and I made too little to afford health insurance, so what was I to do – saddle myself up for thousands of dollars in emergency room care and perhaps a lengthy hospital stay.
Of course, if I had health care insurance, I would have gone in for help long before my condition had reached the seriousness that it had reached. I would have had a simple outpatient surgery to remove my gallbladder and the cost would have been minimal to me. Unfortunately, I was one of those people who fell through the cracks and had to wait until death was knocking at my door before seeking help.
I didn’t make it through the night. I felt like I was going to pass out and around 2am, I called the assistant manager to come and relieve me and once he arrived, I had the security guard drive me to the emergency room. Fortunately, because of my condition, I did not have to wait long. After a quick examination of my vitals and a urine specimen, they had me hooked up to an IV and a room was being prepared for me to be hospitalized. I had a severe case of pancreatitis, thanks to gallstones becoming lodged in my pancreas.
I spent six days in the hospital and I then had to wait about 6 months before finally having the surgery to remove my gallbladder. I had to suffer several more gall stone attacks in the meantime; that’s what I get for being a working poor person. If I had quit my job and become a bum, Medicaid would have kicked in and my medical expenses would have been paid for, but I chose to be a working person instead. Now, I have a medical bill that will take most of my working life to pay for.
I had other medical issues, such as a hernia, which I live with to this day but since I had no health insurance and since it was not killing me at the time, I could not get surgery to fix that or anything else, that is unless it is going to kill me. That’s the glory of being a working person who makes little money and has no health insurance from their job.
So now, I have finally signed up for ObamaCare. It has been difficult trying to get past the glitches on the website, HealthCare.gov and I finally ended up signing up over the phone. Still, I must wait until they contact me so that I can shop for coverage. However, it is only a small price to pay finally to get the help I have needed for so long. I even realize that it may be months if not more than a year before I can get into surgery and actually start receiving health care, but I’m on my way and that’s what’s important to me.
I also know there are many who are like me or even have much worse issues with their health, and like me, they are willing to wait if they have to. Just a little while longer, so that we too can be included and be treated like a first class citizen and not like the poor, servitude individuals we were before, waiting on tables, serving food, stocking shelves, bagging groceries, and the many other low paying jobs that everyone else takes for granted, while we serve their every need. Finally, health care is on the way for all of us, and a few website glitches will not stop us from feeling just a little bit of hope that our journey of being left out for so long, is almost to its end.
This is all thanks to a president and a political party who took the heat from the opposing party and tackled the health care issue that was growing out of control as far as cost and even the quality that it offered. To this day, that other party would still like to deny me the same care everyone else receives, and thankfully, they will fail and health care for everyone will finally become a reality, and not just a hope and a prayer.