Health Care Woes by Anjeanette LeBoeuf


I was struggling to figure out a piece for this month’s post and what I kept coming back to is my healthcare journey and the uncertainty of the last year. My childhood does not contain memories of not supported medically. If I was sick as a child, my parents took me to the pediatrician, I went to the dentists bi-annually, and I even got connected to a dermatologist to help figure out my persistent struggle with acne as well as catching a mole before it became skin cancer. But that all changed when first I was kicked off my parents’ insurance plan due to age limit and further pushed into a medical coverage oblivion when I attended graduate school.

My school does not have a very well connected or supported health plan for its students and its price tag was not something that was factored into the monetary support and loans. So, I entered a world of non-coverage. I became quite savvy in finding homeopathic remedies and cheap over the counter medicines.  I was constantly reminded that I was on my own in regards to my future health concerns and let me tell you it was an unpleasant position to be in. Someone mentioned one day why don’t I consider getting coverage through the state and federal programs, so I brave the mess that is government websites and tried to see if I qualified. I was dismayed to see that I was denied coverage due to the amount of my graduate loans and grants.

Then in 2012, through the works of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid got an overhaul – I finally qualified as did countless others. And yes, it was a lengthy experience to signing up, getting approved, establishing care, and learning the ways of federal funding healthcare. 2015 enters and with it my intimate understandings of the power and the importance of universal healthcare. Through the Affordable Care Act, I could get a dentist, regular doctor, gynecologist, and even a dermatologist. And yes, it is a pain and a half to go through the federal referral, to battle the influx of thousands of other people also trying to receive treatment. But the more I used the services offered, the more I realized that health insurance, the ability to know that if something bad happens not only will you be treated but the bill won’t cripple you into debt.

And as I continually received medical services, reliable and affordable, I was bombard by people and politicians that were speaking on the dangerous nature of the ACA. Yes, the system was flawed, yes, many people saw their insurance go up, plans change, and so on. But as I was in the eye of the storm I saw the countless people it was helping. Women, seniors, large populations of lower and middle class could receive services that had been denied or unaffordable. I myself was able to receive top notch women’s health coverage when my body decided to form cysts on my ovaries. I was able to received continual check-ups for my fair skin so I would not have skin cancer like I almost did when I was 20.

So, with the aftermath of the presidential election and the insistent drive of the republican party to appeal the ACA brought back the fear and the uncertainty of being uncovered medically. I have cried, I have feared, and now I have raged. I will not be silenced. I am one of the 14 million Americans that will lose coverage if the Republican Health Repeal and Reform Bill is enacted. I will be sent back into the oblivion and in even worst shape then before – because I now have two medical conditions which require constant medical monitoring and assistance, both of which carry large medical costs if not covered.

Going through the last year and a half of diverse medical issues, and even going to the dentist for the first time in five years – I know what the Affordable Care Act does and more importantly I know what it means. It means that every person in this country deserve the right to be medically treated and covered. It means that one does not have to worry that if a medical issue comes up, they won’t be threatened with crushing debt.

This is the face of what the ACA means. This is the facts – not that it was presented by a black democratic president or that there is an assumption that it is just so people who wanted handouts could get free coverage. The stats don’t lie, we were the only industrial world with the largest population of uncovered citizens. Now, senior citizens do not have to tap into their life savings to pay for their medicine, mental health services were being covered, over 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions were no longer penalized or denied coverage. That fact alone is staggering. We cannot go back – this is the right of every citizen, this is what it means to the pursuit of happiness – the pursuit of living a life with the unconscious knowledge that their health will be treated. America needs to be the land of the free, home of the brave, and the medically covered! And it was these facts, this ideal which crumbled the dreaded “Trumpcare” on Friday. As of today, ACA will remain intake, coverage will continue – but our fight is not over. Improvements are always needed. We will always need to reevaluate but thankful we are at a point where coverage is well covered!

 

 

Anjeanette LeBoeuf is a Ph.D Candidate in Women Studies in Religion at Claremont Graduate University. She is the Queer Advocate for the Western Region of the American Academy of Religion. Her focuses are divided between South Asian religions and religion and popular culture. She has become focused on exploring the representations of women in all forms of popular culture and how religion plays into them. She is an avid supporter of both soccer and hockey. She is also a television and movie buff which probably takes way too much of her time, but she enjoys every minute of it. Anjeanette has had a love affair with books from a very young age and always finds time in her demanding academic career to crack open a new book.

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Categories: Body

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11 replies

  1. A timely post! With the Republican’s disastrous health care plan pulled before the vote, we at least have a moment to take a breath as we press on to ensure that no one loses, and everyone has, health care. I hope you send your post to your representative.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comments Elizabeth. And yes I have been in direct contact with my representative and my senators regarding my stance and story with Affordable Health Care. But I am fortunate to live in California when all three support it and the State government has even done steps to ensure that state health care benefits will remain in take regardless of the federal level.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As a Canadian who had cataract surgery about three days ago, a follow up visit the next day, and a follow up visit in April, without worrying about how I would manage this on a low income – all I can say is “public health care is indispensable, necessary, and humane.
    It is worth fighting for. Even those of us who have this program in effect however, continue to fight to preserve it against those whose greed is bigger than their profits. Until we, as societies, value people above profit the suffering will continue. I hope you continue to receive the medical services you need Anjeanette, and continue to tell your story so others can understand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Barbara,

      Thank you for your words Barbara and your recent experience with health care.

      You bring up an excellent point about even if we are covered there are still those who aren’t or that it is not affordable or reliable. We all must continue to advocate for ourselves and all others.

      Like

  3. My sister, who suffers from severe respiratory issues, recently had to drive herself to the ER when her nebulizer stopped working and she couldn’t breathe. The cost for 2 breathing treatments, fluids and only 5 hours in the ER: $10,000. Her insurance is through her job. Her premium is ridiculous. Her co-pay for the ER was $500, a drop in the bucket considering the larger amount. But $500 is a large chunk taken out of household budgets, for food and rent for some people.

    Hospitals and insurance companies have completely taken advantage of the sick and the flaws in the system to profit. The very insurance companies that were lining the pockets of Senators to stop the ACA, are the very companies that jacked up premiums when it passed.

    We need to keep all of it in sight as we advocate for each other.

    Wonderful article – glad I found it!

    Blessings All

    Liked by 1 person

    • You bring up a great point about how the health care has become more about the insurance and drug companies then it is about the people needing help. It also brought to mind the fact that Western medicine has evolved to merely treat the symptoms or adding another pill to the mix.

      And you are so right, we must advocate for all –

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Anjeanette, I too will lose my healthcare if the Republicans repeal the ACA, and that is very scary! Yes, they have failed this time, but that doesn’t mean they won’t eventually succeed. I can hardly wait until I’m old enough to qualify for Medicare, although otherwise I’m not in any rush to turn 65!

    Like

  5. I really appreciate this post. I have had the same experience with coverage. My Dad is retired military and so I qualified for Tricare Young Adult after I got booted from his plan. I was barely out of school and trying to move from my college town. The monthly payment for my Tricare Young Adult was triple what my Dad paid for coverage of himself, my mom, and my little sister combined. I was expected to pay $306 a month when I was unemployed right out of school. I was able to take some here and there jobs to cover it and get myself basic treatment but had to move home with my parents after living on my own for 5 years. All because, like you, I have ovarian cysts which require regular ultrasounds, hormone treatment and sometimes visits to the E.R. I was having such a hard time keeping up with treatment to function, I could barely keep up with a full time job. I was passing out and having ovary pain like heart attacks. Doesn’t exactly say, “Give me a job with benefits.” Because of the ACA, I have been able to build a portfolio and network while freelancing. I have had so much anxiety watching the drama of Trumpcare play out. You are not the only one, so thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rebekah,

      I thank you for sharing and your kind words. It has truly been remarkable to hear and read that I am not alone in my anxiety over maintaining a steady and efficient healthcare system. I hope you are getting the treatment you need to prosper and grow. It has been an equally trying aspect to have to explain and get attention towards my ‘female issues’ as they are coined in order to treat and reduce my chances of cysts.
      I was just in the er two weeks ago for heart issues and it seemed like I perpetually had to prove my unpregnant status in order to be treated and to have my pain seem to matter to them. We have so much more to go but I am thankful to know that there are many more out there that will stand alongside me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m so sorry to hear about your E.R. troubles. I have never been able to verbalize having to prove my status as not pregnant. It’s one of my most frustrating things with doctors. Aside from the assumption that frequency makes feminine tests easier. It doesn’t. There will never be a pleasant ultrasound or wellness exam. I hope you are feeling better and I’m glad to stand beside you!

        Liked by 1 person

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