In her late teens and early 20s, as my daughter struggled to gain control of her newly diagnosed bipolar illness, health care was critical to her recovery.
I understand that the Affordable Care Act needs revising. I also credit the ACA for likely saving my daughter’s life and providing the care for her to complete her undergraduate degree, a master’s degree, and then to work as an intern at the World Health Organization in Geneva.
Along the way, Linea had a book published, providing her opportunities to speak across the country about mental-health care and the stigma surrounding mental illness. She is living a full and happy life.
In her late teens and early 20s, as Linea struggled to gain control of her newly diagnosed bipolar illness, health care was critical to her recovery. When she left her undergraduate program on a medical leave, we scrambled to cover her needs with a COBRA policy that cost far more than a car payment and was certainly not affordable for many families. This was before the ACA made it possible to carry a son or daughter on one’s medical insurance until they turned 26.
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Thankfully, when Linea graduated from college and was no longer a student, ACA was in effect and we could include her on our policy.
I can’t tell you the relief that all of us felt when she could not be discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition. In the early days of her treatment if she had experienced lapses in her insurance coverage, or had to pay high-cost premiums herself and did not have a support system in place to help her, she likely would have gone without insurance and spiraled down into untreated symptoms of an illness that is lifelong and therefore will always be “pre-existing.”
With symptoms of her illness left untreated, she likely would not have been able to hold a job and certainly would have fallen into poverty. Hospitalizations would have been the response to a severe medical crisis.
Who would have paid for those hospitalizations? We all would. We would have paid for an expensive Band-Aid to get her back out the door as soon as possible with no follow-up care. It would not be the kind of treatment that keeps a person a healthy, contributing member of society but rather someone who is barely hanging on and is too ill to manage their own care and too sick to even care if treatment is provided.
My daughter works harder than anyone I know in order to stay healthy. She could not do it without health insurance.
I agree with the research that at the very least 1 in four people are living with a pre-existing condition. One in five live with some type of mental illness. Even if you’ve “done things the right way” simply by the luck of the draw any one of us could have a pre-existing condition tomorrow, if we don’t already have one or more.
I support medical care that allows every person to have the opportunity for good health care. I am thankful every day that my daughter is living in recovery and stability, thanks not only to her strength and perseverance but to excellent medical care.