Obamacare Saved Her Life: How the Affordable Care Act Helps Real People

Recently, Spike Dolomite Ward wrote an opinion piece for the LA Times in which she spoke about how health care reform, or the Affordable Care Act  (referred to as “Obamacare”), is providing her with the care she needs to fight her third-stage breast cancer. Once an outspoken critic of Obamacare, she now says that “for me it’s been a lifesaver — perhaps literally.”

Ward and her husband both run small businesses which both took huge hits in the recession. With a reduced income, Ward and her husband struggled to support themselves, their two children, pay their mortgage, and continue paying for insurance. Eventually, they had to decide whether to continue paying their mortgage or continue paying for their insurance. They chose to keep their house, a decision Ward says was “a nerve-racking gamble” which they lost when she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer which requires expensive treatments.

Ward details how being uninsured made it harder for her to get well. She says, “Not having insurance amplifies cancer stress. After the diagnosis, instead of focusing all of my energy on getting well, I was panicked about how we were going to pay for everything.” Luckily, Obamacare’s Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) came to her rescue. Ward explains that PCIP is

…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.)

Ward recognizes that even though PCIP served her needs well, “It’s not perfect, of course, and it still leaves many people in need out in the cold.” However, it is nonetheless a resource that could save lives and that has made her reconsider her former anti-Obamacare stance. In a follow-up to her original opinion piece she challenges those who don’t relate to the struggles she and her family endured, “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?”

To find out more about the current controversies surrounding Obamacare and why it is important to stand up for health care reform that gives those who would otherwise be uninsured life-saving coverage, read some of our past blog posts about the issue.

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