The day I was told I might have breast cancer, and needed surgery to determine whether I did, was one of the scariest things I have faced as an adult. With two small children, and a full lifetime of living ahead of me, it wasn’t what I wanted to hear at the age of 39.
One month later, I was faced with another scary reality. It, coincidentally, happened the day I had the breast surgery.
Still groggy from anesthesia, I saw my then-husband in my hospital room, looking very frustrated. As we were preparing for me to leave (insurance would not cover staying beyond recovery from anesthesia), he explained what happened. The on-site pharmacist had told him the painkillers prescribed for post-op recovery was not on an “approved list” for our insurance company. He could fill the prescription, but it would not be covered by insurance. This wasn’t for a cold or some more benign symptom where a back-and-forth dialog among my husband, the pharmacy, and insurance company for a day or two would be acceptable. This prescription was needed before the drugs from surgery wore off; I needed the prescription immediately.
Fortunately for me, we could afford to pay for the expensive prescription out of pocket, but what nagged me was: what if we could not? What would have happened?
This small antidote is minor compared to the stories that exist, and the ones added each day, of people who are denied coverage or care, individuals who choose between groceries and healthcare, and more. Everyone in this country should have quality healthcare, regardless of health history or income. It should be a basic human right.
Here’s a staggering statistic:
This week I found myself facing another scary reality. This one, like the others, is related to healthcare.
I saw Mitt Romney standing behind a podium recently with a sign attached that reads “Repeal & Replace Obamacare” while being quoted in that campaign speech as saying, “We don’t have people who die because they don’t have insurance.” To me, this is a clear message this man is not in touch with reality. He does not understand what it is to be part of the health care crisis, but rather is ignorant of the problem.
The progress we have made towards the healthcare problem in our nation can be eradicated if President Obama is not allowed to continue to work towards greater progress and change. We need a president who represents and understands the needs of 100% of Americans, not just corporations and business executives.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For more information click here.