10.11.16

The Million Dollar Election Question: Will I Be Paying A Million Dollars To Stay Alive?

clinton-vs-trump

I have to speak up after the second presidential debate on the issue of the healthcare reform.
I feel the need to stand against someone like Trump. I need to talk about healthcare reform and the miracle that has given me the gift of life, because of the policy put into place by President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and all of the government that made it possible for me to have health insurance and healthcare in this country.

 I’ve had type one diabetes almost my entire life. It’s something that has shaped who I am and challenged me along the way. For so many years, my health was hard to make a priority because I had a pre-existing condition, higher premiums & co-pays and less coverage. After President (Barack Obama) helped forge this change, the Affordable Care Act made healthcare more available to the citizens of this country by protecting those with pre-existing conditions. I was able to get healthcare without being turned away because of diabetes.

By having healthcare, I was finally allowed to participate in the medical system. I not only was able to see a doctor when I was ill or needed medication, but was able to take preventative measures with my health. I could visit the different kinds of doctors I needed like my ophthalmologist, endocrinologist and gynecologist. All of these doctors provide a different perspective on our health–those of us with diabetes, know the importance or each field. By having access to various specialists, I learned that I had chronic kidney disease as a result of diabetes. At some point in the future, I would face having a kidney transplant or my life would be cut short.
Without healthcare my family would be hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, if not a millions. At this point in our healthcare industry, insurance companies dictate so much of our treatment. Whether it’s the doctor we see or the type of insulin we are allowed to use. Shouldn’t our healthcare providers be the ones making this decision?
The price to live can feel like an insurmountable amount of money, we with diabetes get overwhelmed by. And the price we pay to live should not be controlled by insurance companies or pharmaceutical companies. When people are forced to choose between staying healthy and alive, or paying their mortgage, or filing for bankruptcy, while insurance companies can deny someone healthcare to keep their profit margins up, there is something wrong.
As I have written about on a recent podcast, this year I received a simultaneous pancreas kidney transplant at UCSF Medical Center. This was only possible through my Covered California Kaiser health insurance, due to healthcare reform. My life was saved by President Obama’s actions and the politicians who made this change in policy.
I will only continue to stay alive if I’m able to keep my health insurance. If Donald Trump repeals these policies my entire family will be burdened by the costs of my medication, doctors visits and hospital stays for the rest of our lives. This will not only happen to my family, but millions of families who carry the burden of living with this disease. The impact of my diabetes does not just affect me – it affects everyone in my life.
I’m grateful for all of these changes and hope we can further perfect our healthcare system by not going back on progress.
There are things that aren’t perfect about our current system and the coverage varies by state. We need to improve the affordability part of this act so that insurance companies cannot raise premiums, co pays and deductibles. There are gaps and holes that need to be filled. We need more transparency in the industry and to give doctors the power to make treatment decisions, not the insurance companies. We’re not done yet.
So let’s keep moving forward and continue to improve healthcare instead of scrapping it all and starting over.
I’m incredibly grateful to our president and am putting my vote towards the candidate who will put my health and life first. If you or anyone you know has benefitted from healthcare reform, please keep this in mind when you go to the polls.
I’m with HER.

Tara Layman has been living with T1D for twenty two years. Living with diabetes has shaped her life significantly, leading her to a career in photography and co-founding the diabetes advocacy project T1D Exposed. Tara is a freelance photographer in Northern California who recently found herself on a new path in her diabetes journey after a simultaneous pancreas and kidney transplant. You can also find Tara on Instagram.

4 thoughts on “The Million Dollar Election Question: Will I Be Paying A Million Dollars To Stay Alive?

  1. This is a sad post – really. I have a son with T1D. Obamacare has destroyed the healthcare options in TX. In TX, the options for individual medical plans is terrible. TX Children’s Hospital is not in any plan networks. This is because most insurance companies don’t sell policies in TX because of the regulations. The ones that are left only sell HMO plans and they are very limited to hospitals, doctors, pharmacies, etc. It’s a sad reality and make no doubt about it, T1D’s pay a significant price for it.

  2. Tara, I am so proud of you. This article is well written and I hope many people read this. Love you Grandma

  3. Hi Tara, I’ve had T1D for 30 years. I’m 37 years old. Before the ACA, I struggled with getting medical treatment. I often thought the worst part of being diabetic wasn’t the disease itself but worrying about how I was going to get medication to stay alive. I work several jobs 40+ hour/week, but have not had full time job with benefits.

    I remember hearing when ACA passed. I was in my car listening to radio and began to weep with absolute joy, but also absolute fear, because it seemed too good to be true. And I guess it was. Thank god for my inner cynic or this new reality would unravel me.

    Post-election I’ve heard proposals of high risk pools again. I was unable to get coverage through these pools pre-ACA and my income disqualified me for Medicaid. I have doubts that they can make this work. Concerns are surfacing again about getting medical care.

    Trying to come to terms with this. Just wanted to share my story, and let you know you’re not alone. I hope you’re doing ok.

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