A message to 'Obamacare' haters [The Reply]
In Tuesday’s Opinion pages, Spike Dolomite Ward publicly apologized to President Obama. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, she came to appreciate the president’s approach to healthcare reform -- notably that because of him, she had an opportunity to sign up for health insurance after her diagnosis. “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,” she wrote. She continued:
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.
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.
Predictably, there has been quite a bit of backlash on our discussion board, like this backhanded comment from a reader going by the moniker ExCaliGuy:
I'm glad it all worked out for you. And if you or anyone else can't afford health care coverage, just reach into my pocket, pull out my wallet and take whatever else you need. It's ok. My family and I will just skip another day of meals...
Here is Ward’s reply to the “haters.”
I wrote this piece to give the health insurance crisis in this country a common face. My objectives in writing it were to hopefully get people to see themselves in me and my family, and I wanted people to know what Obama has done for people who have pre-existing conditions so they can get health insurance through PCIP. My husband and I both knew that by doing this, we would invite hatred into our lives, and that indeed has happened. To those of you who don’t want to see the commonalities between me and my family, let me pose it to you this way: If your sister or mother lost her job and health insurance, and then turned up with breast cancer, what would you do? Would you let her die? Would you pick up the cancer tab yourself?, or would you tell her about PCIP?
Photo: An autographed copy of healthcare legislation passed by the House on March 21, 2010. Credit: Mike Theiler / EPA
--Alexandra Le Tellier