America Deserves a Better

A month from now will mark 9 years since Mollie was diagnosed with leukemia. Our world was turned completely upside down. We had health insurance and the pediatric oncology clinic social worker advised us, in no uncertain terms, to maintain that insurance coverage at all costs. I quit my job to stay home and care for this 4-year old cancer patient, and we relied on Matt's employer-sponsored health insurance.

Thankfully, Mollie responded well to the chemo and achieved remission right away. Still, there were 2.5 years of chemo ahead. These were HARD years. We lived in fear of relapse, we always worried about finances, and the endless weeks of taking care of a kid on chemo so toxic that we had to handle it with gloves took a toll.

In the middle of all of this, the company Matt worked for consolidated and moved to a different state. We didn't want to move or sell our house at that time, but we were very, very concerned about any lapse in coverage. We knew that if we turned down the relocation, we would run a risk of Matt not finding a comparable job before COBRA benefits would run out. We didn’t have much of a choice because if Mollie lost coverage, it could be prohibitively expensive or even impossible for her to ever get health insurance again. 

Essentially, were forced to relocate in order to maintain continuous health insurance coverage. We sold our house at a significant loss; we had to move away from our beloved pediatric oncology caregivers, and our sweet daughter, who had already been through so much, had to change schools before first grade.

When the ACA was signed into law, preexisting condition exclusions were prohibited for children immediately. For us, and so many other families, this meant freedom. We could breathe easier, we could make decisions about our careers and living situations without worrying that our children might not be insurable if things didn't go as planned.

The AHCA bill is a step in the wrong direction. The passage of the AHCA in the House shows a callous disregard for basic and life-saving care for millions of Americans. Access to health care can make or break a family. Complex care, like treatment for cancer, cannot and should not be handled in emergency rooms. We ALL benefit when our neighbors are healthy, whether we think they are productive members of society or lazy slobs. I hope that the Senate will set the AHCA aside and focus on making real improvements to our health insurance system by working with all the stakeholders, like hospital groups, insurers, doctors groups, patient advocacy groups, etc. My daughter deserves better. We all do.