As the health care debate emerges again, I’d like to give the participants a unique perspective: I’m an epileptic woman that works full-time, has health insurance with a lot of strings attached, and (of course) pays taxes.
Here’s what my epilepsy means as far as healthcare: I have a monthly prescription that I have to take. Otherwise, seizures! Inflicting my disease upon others! Inconveniencing others! Every few months, a doctor’s visit, and depending on the doctor’s whim, perhaps an EEG at the nearest hospital the next week. If I’m unfortunate enough to have a seizure in public I have to deal with EMTs, perhaps an ambulance ride, the Emergency Room, and doctors and nurses rushing about to give me tests to determine what is wrong with me, all the while ignoring my feeble, half-conscious self informing them exactly what is “wrong” with me.
This gets expensive, folks, even with insurance. With or without it–it’s a nightmare.
I remember my college days, sprinkled with seizures, and the inevitable aftermath of my insurance company claiming I’m no longer covered, leading to the hospital sending me bills that were not mine to pay, then to collections and the night-and-day harassment of those lovely people. Then the calls to the insurance company, the feigned “oh my! We don’t know what happened! We’ll get you right back on the policy!” and the grasshopper chirps when they were asked to pay their share of my hospital visits.
My insurance paid four dollars of my monthly prescription.
After every doctor’s visit, I would inevitably get a call from the doctor’s office. “Ms. Wick, the insurance company says you’re not on the policy.” I would sigh, tell them that I am, that I will call the insurance company and that to please file again. Like my calls about the hospital bills, the insurance company would say, “Oh! My! I don’t know how that happened!” Unlike the hospital bills, they would actually pay their share. Does this make it better? No.
That insurance company? A national, well-known insurance company. Many of your probably have policies with them.
Post-college, I began my full-time job, and got a new policy with a different health care company. I hoped for better service, hell, service period, for the money that I gave them. I knew when I was filling out the paperwork, however, that it would not be much better. Right there on the paperwork, the insurance company declared its unwillingness to actually provide the service for which it was being paid for: pre-existing conditions would not be covered for a full year. After that? Who knows. My previous insurance company certainly did not declare that it would pull the crap with me that it did.
I haven’t yet used it, save to refill my prescription. They pay more than my previous insurance company did. But my doctor’s visits? The annual EEGs? The Emergency Room trips? It remains to be seen. I do not have much faith, however, when right in the paperwork they tell me that they will not pay for conditions that are the entirety of why I am enlisting their service, for an entire year.
Imagine paying a mortgage on a house for a full year before you are allowed to move in. Imagine paying tuition at a university for a full year before you are allowed to enroll in classes. These things are outrageous. They would not happen–because they are so clearly thieving. In what other industry would it be acceptable to pay for a service and then to not receive it? It is acceptable in the healthcare industry only because we have allowed it to be so. “Obamacare” is the first step to Americans actually getting service that they have paid for. It is setting a corrupt market right. A market that should not exist in the first place. Healthcare should not be a business. However, right now, in the “best country in the world,” it is. So we must fix it.
To properly manage my epilepsy, I must go one of two routes: The first, and the easiest is to go on medication. I need health insurance for this. I need a job for both of these. The second: to prevent seizures without medication, I must keep stress at the lowest level possible. Ten or eleven hours of sleep a night is a must. I can manage with nine, but ten would be ideal. Why? Stress and sleep deprivation are the two things that trigger my epilepsy. It’s hard work, and takes a lot of thought, balance, effort, and planning to achieve those things, and even so, I still may have a seizure every now and then. So far, I’ve been unsuccessful. Getting ten hours of sleep a night and still being able to accomplish things are impossible. Throw in a need to be low-stress, and it is a laughable endeavor.
I pay my taxes. I pay my insurance premiums. I deserve to get what I paid for. I’m not “an epileptic.” I’m a human being. I’m trying to earn my place in a devastated economy. I want no handouts. I want to work. The only job that the health care bill will “crush” is mine if it’s repealed. Take away my access to healthcare, you take away my ability to work.