Published as Letter to the Editor, in the East Hampton Press, page 7, March 15, 2017
My friend Liz was an intense supporter of the ACA (Obamacare). There was a good reason. She had her health insurance canceled back in 2005 and then months later she was stricken with a nasty type of cancer. Chemotherapy nearly bankrupted her costing $400,000. But she survived. She became a long-term cancer survivor and started a national support group for patients like herself, a group counting a membership of over 5000 cancer survivors. She was very well informed and attended medical conferences to keep up with the latest advances.
However, she still had no medical insurance. So she signed up on-line for the ACA and she was waiting for her insurance card. She wasn’t feeling well. Fully aware of the costs, she did not want to see a specialist in NY City until her insurance card was in hand. One Monday she went to Southampton Hospital’s emergency room because of severe shortness of breath. A few hours later she was dead!
It is not clear what happened. But it is very clear that
- Health insurance is not a “joke”. In fact, lacking health insurance dissuades us from consulting a physician when we know that we should. Lacking insurance really costs lives.
- Treatment for cancer and other disorders can be extremely expensive and often leads to personal bankruptcy, especially when you are uninsured. Healthcare disasters like hers were in fact the most common reason behind personal bankruptcy until we go the ACA.
Many people were touched by my friend. She was in her fifties and she lived in Amagansett when she died. She fought for all those with her predicament. I know she would want us all to fight for the ACA and for “health-care for all” that includes those that cannot pay for insurance.