One Woman’s Story On How ‘ObamaCares’ Is Saving Her Life
Spike Dolomite Ward tells her story in an LA Times op-ed.
I want to apologize to President Obama. But first, some background.
I found out three weeks ago I have cancer. I’m 49 years old, have been married for almost 20 years and have two kids. My husband has his own small computer business, and I run a small nonprofit in the San Fernando Valley. I am also an artist. Money is tight, and we don’t spend it frivolously. We’re just ordinary, middle-class people, making an honest living, raising great kids and participating in our community, the kids’ schools and church.
We’re good people, and we work hard. But we haven’t been able to afford health insurance for more than two years. And now I have third-stage breast cancer and am facing months of expensive treatment.
Fortunately for me, I’ve been saved by the federal government’s Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan, something I had never heard of before needing it. It’s part of President Obama’s healthcare plan, one of the things that has already kicked in, and it guarantees access to insurance for U.S. citizens with preexisting conditions who have been uninsured for at least six months. The application was short, the premiums are affordable, and I have found the people who work in the administration office to be quite compassionate (nothing like the people I have dealt with over the years at other insurance companies.) It’s not perfect, of course, and it still leaves many people in need out in the cold. But it’s a start, and for me it’s been a lifesaver — perhaps literally.
Which brings me to my apology. I was pretty mad at Obama before I learned about this new insurance plan. I had changed my registration from Democrat to Independent, and I had blacked out the top of the “h” on my Obama bumper sticker, so that it read, “Got nope” instead of “got hope.” I felt like he had let down the struggling middle class. My son and I had campaigned for him, but since he took office, we felt he had let us down.
So this is my public apology. I’m sorry I didn’t do enough of my own research to find out what promises the president has made good on. I’m sorry I didn’t realize that he really has stood up for me and my family, and for so many others like us. I’m getting a new bumper sticker to cover the one that says “Got nope.” It will say “ObamaCares.”
Any American without their own health care horror story to tell or the knowledge of someone they know facing difficult times, much of it due to a broken system which limits access and proper health care for tens of millions of individuals, have either isolated themselves from society or have simply shut their eyes and ears to the suffering of their fellow citizens.
My own story is one of having a close friend who has worked hard for 30 years while caring for a severely ill child as a single mother. She was able to purchase a home and live a reasonably comfortable life until the recession came knocking. She lost her job at a time when her own health was deteriorating and her son’s condition was worsening. The associated costs were more than she could handle.
After a lifetime of doing everything she needed to do to care for herself and family, she now finds herself, through no fault of her own, in a situation where health care costs are destroying all she has worked so hard to achieve. And while people like her suffer through trying times, Republicans vying for the President’s job speak of tearing the guts out of the Affordable Care Act while suggesting nothing to replace it with except measures which only help increase the profit margin of those in the health care industry. The callousness of these Republicans is disgusting and typical of a political party which has turned a blind eye to the suffering and destruction of so many.
Mrs. Ward has a thought to share with people like Mitt Romney and other like-minded conservatives.
If you are fortunate enough to still be employed and have insurance through your employers, you may feel insulated from the sufferings of people like me right now. But things can change abruptly. If you still have a good job with insurance, that doesn’t mean that you’re better than me, more deserving than me or smarter than me. It just means that you are luckier. And access to healthcare shouldn’t depend on luck.