Emily Schlichting writes about U.S. healthcare:
When I was 17, I started experiencing a lot of seemingly unrelated symptoms. None of my doctors could figure out what was causing them. Finally, after two years of undergoing MRIs and CAT scans, visiting specialists and a week-long stay in a hospital my freshman year of college, I was diagnosed with Behcet’s Disease, a very rare auto-immune condition. This was a lot to deal with at 19. USA Today
I’m skipping the political commentary in the article to focus instead on the personal. She also writes the following:
With health insurance coverage tied to the job, career opportunities can become limited. I had planned to work at a non-profit for a couple of years before I went back to school. But that was no longer an option because I would have dropped off my parents’ insurance plan.
And it hit me. For the rest of my life, I would have to be careful not to ever drop off an insurance plan. If I did, an insurance company would classify my disease as a pre-existing condition and could deny me coverage.
Because I’ve written about the personal cosequences of healthcare policy before, some readers might already know that my nephew has a similar situation. He has Marfan’s Syndrome and, until passage of the Affordable Care Act, he was unable to get health insurance coverage, even for catastrophy. Now he can, and he pays dearly for it, but his coverage depends on the act, because chefs like him typically don’t work in jobs that offer health insurance. And, if they do, he faces the same career-limiting choices that Emily does.
No matter what your politics, let’s not forget the personal stories like Emily’s and my nephew’s while we search for better health care for Americans.
Emily concludes: “No one should have to live with that sort of uncertainty and fear. No one should have her career options limited because she can’t afford to risk being without heath insurance.”
The debate today seems to center around “Should health care should be a privilege or a right?” But for many people, such as Emily and my nephew, the issue at hand is whether or not you even can get any coverage and then, if you do, what career-limiting obstacles must you endure.