I don’t know how to say it more plainly than this: Without health insurance, I’d be dead.
Because I do have health insurance, I felt free to see my doctor in December, 2004 for hay fever. I wouldn’t have gone to the emergency room merely for a Zyrtec prescription and therefore wouldn’t have asked a doctor a random cardiac-related question. Instead, I probably would have died in a few weeks without knowing I had a serious heart condition.
Instead, my casual question led to my being referred to a cardiologist. Before I saw the cardiologist, I called my doctor with a follow-up question. This also wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have health insurance and a primary doctor. The outcome of that phone call was an immediate appointment with the cardiologist. Within days, I was diagnosed with Stage III ass=”zem_slink” title=”Heart failure” href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart_failure” target=”_blank” rel=”wikipedia”>Congestive Heart Failure. My heart was only able to pump out 24% of what was in it, instead of the normal 50% – 65%.
Because I had health insurance, I immediately began a protocol of medication, bi-weekly office visits and regular testing unavailable through emergency room care. With medication, careful medical management and lifestyle changes, my heart can now pump up to 42%. Instead of dying, I am full of life nearly nine years later.
Knowing personally what a difference health insurance makes between life and death, why would I not want it available to others?
Health insurance pays for the seven prescriptions I take each day to keep my heart and lungs functioning. Without them, I wouldn’t be here. When my health crumbles in spite of my best efforts, health insurance means I see doctors right away who know my history and share information between offices electronically. A telephone nurse calls me each month and helps me stay on track.
Even a patient as committed as I am to doing everything possible to keep up her health stands on the playing field alone if uninsured.
When I hear people say the uninsured can get health care in the emergency room when they need it, I am nearly left speechless. Do some of my friends, extended family, church members and neighbors really want me dead? Because that’s what would happen if I didn’t have health insurance and had to rely on the emergency room.
Or don’t they make the connection between the abstract and real people they know? Don’t they realize that people without health insurance are loved just as much as I am, want to live just as much as I do, what to give to the community just as much as I do, and have just as much desire to see another sunrise as I do?
As I hear ugly arguments against including health insurance in the social compact of our country, I thank God for my health insurance. I pray for those longing for their own health insurance, and for those who would keep it unavailable. Do they not know what a life and death difference it makes? I am living proof that it does.
Having health insurance has made it possible for me be here to dance at my sons’ weddings and love my daughters-in-law, to sing The Wheels on the Bus with my two-year-old granddaughter, to hike in the mountains with my husband, to preach, teach, and write, to laugh with friends, gather with family, chat with my mother, and thank God every day for life.
I thank God for my health insurance and for the ass=”zem_slink” title=”Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patient_Protection_and_Affordable_Care_Act” target=”_blank” rel=”wikipedia”>Affordable Care Act that makes health care available for millions of Americans who will die without it.