I’ve spent a lot of time arguing with people about the Affordable Care Act. Many times these people have told me how they shouldn’t be forced to carry insurance because they don’t get sick and need medical care. I’ve often asked them what happens if they have an accident that causes them to need the care and they aren’t covered. They always tell me that they are responsible and will pay off the bill for their care. Today, my family had to deal with the problem of having unaffordable medical care without insurance.
My little sister, who is only nine years old (10 in 12 days! Happy early birthday!), had an accident and broke the growth plate in her wrist. She needs surgery to repair the break or she may be in danger of having her arm deformed for the rest of her life. My father, who works as a preacher, does not have employer-provided insurance. So this leaves my family with the burden of paying full price for the surgery. Because the injury is not life-threatening, it is not something that the doctors are obligated to perform. Of course, being a preacher, my father doesn’t make a lot of money. The high cost of the surgery is way too high for my father to afford. As of the time I’m writing this post, he is still searching for a way to pay for the surgery.
Many people will say that he should look for assistance, but he makes too much money. Of course, while he makes too much to qualify for assistance, he doesn’t make enough to be able to afford medical care. This is exactly why we need the ACA. The only academic study of the effects of the act showed that the results of this kind of universal healthcare will be that medical costs are driven down. Lower medical costs and competition in insurance exchanges will drive the price of insurance low enough for people like my father to afford. The evidence of this was given in the article Lessons for coverage expansion: a Virginia primary care program for the uninsured reduced utilization and cut costs that appeared in the journal Health Affairs in February of this year.
So as people like Mitt Romney continue to condemn healthcare reform, I ask them to put their money where their mouths are. Write a check to cover my little sister’s surgery or shut your mouth about healthcare reform when you’ve never had to face a situation like this. The same goes for anyone who supports this moron’s bid for the presidency…if you think that this reform isn’t needed, then I invite you to drop a line to my 9-year-old little sister and try to explain to her why she could be forced to live with a deformed wrist for the rest of her life. But at least you weren’t forced by the government to be responsible and cover your own healthcare costs…and that’s worth causing a little girl to live with the pain, right?
Get better soon little sister…I’m sure Dad will figure it out. I love you.
Through the grace of God and the assistance of family and friends, it looks like my sister will be able to have her surgery. Thank you to everyone who helped make it possible and those who prayed for her.