FIRST PERSON | Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democratic National Committee chairwoman, raved at the DNC how Obamacare helps breast cancer survivors. She says her position is one of a breast cancer survivor and her personal experience with the disease gives her a deep understanding of how important Obamacare is. I am undergoing treatment for breast cancer and I disagree with Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Wasserman Schultz and Breast Cancer
Debbie Wasserman Schultz received her breast cancer diagnosis in 2007. She had good insurance and access to great doctors. Obamacare had nothing to do with her ability to access insurance or treatment, yet she claims that the program has a profound impact on those who have this disease. The Ledger reports Wasserman Schultz feels that without the Affordable Health Care Act, she would not have access to health insurance due to her preexisting condition. The chairwoman has no first-hand experience with breast cancer and insurance issues under Obamacare, but I do.
Obamacare and Breast Cancer
I am currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer. My health insurance offers fairly decent coverage, but cancer is expensive to diagnose and treat. Am I worried about not having insurance due to a preexisting condition? Not really; prior to the Affordable Health Care Act, many insurance companies would cover treatment for a preexisiting condition after a waiting period of one to two years. For cancer that is in remission or early breast cancer that is cured, this is a very acceptable waiting period.
What about the cost? I have tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills. In my rural area of Arkansas, I could not get the standard of treatment I wanted. The place I receive my treatments is two hours away in another state. President Obama's health care reform has done nothing to help me. I do not qualify for financial help under his plan and the bills keep piling up. For those of us in middle-income America, there is no such thing as affordable health care under Obamacare if you get sick.
Obamacare does not help me with travel expenses. It did not reduce my deductibles. I do not have easy access to proper treatment where I live. My cancer treatment is out-of-network. With my insurance, the nearest in-network cancer facility is in Dallas, Texas. The problem is that I cannot afford to travel to Texas and Obamacare does not take that into consideration.
What has the Affordable Health Care Act done for me? So far, absolutely nothing. When it comes down to access to healthcare, I have to look out for myself and my family. This country already has Medicaid for low-income families. Right now, I need access to reasonable costs for breast cancer treatment and quality healthcare. President Obama's healthcare reform has done nothing to help me. I am definitely not better off than I was four years ago.
Lynda Altman was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2011. She writes a series for Yahoo! Shine called "My Battle With Breast Cancer."