We’ll get back to talk about medications in a little bit. Right now there are more pressing issues that need to be addressed here.
Some of the biggest news coming from Washington, DC, and the inauguration concerns the Affordable Care Act, also referred to as Obamacare. There is so much misinformation and confusion about what Congress is doing and what the new president wants to do, which is get rid of it.
I’ll put this out there right now. If we lose the ACA, I’m screwed and so are many others like me. I will not be able to afford health care of any kind, which would lead to a very poor quality of life for me, and make those around me quite miserable, too.
I did not choose to have lupus or rheumatoid arthritis or any of the other chronic illnesses I’ve had diagnosed, nor did I sign up for any of the myriad of illnesses caused by treatment of my chronic illnesses. Doctors are too expensive. Medications are too expensive. It’s expensive to be sick! But I’m sick. There – I’ve said it. I’m sick. In order to have the best quality of life I can, I need to be watched by doctors and I need medications to help slow down the progression of my diseases. Without insurance, I could not afford to live. Think I’m joking? One med I am on costs $4,000 a month. That’s right FOUR THOUSAND dollars a month. Less expensive alternatives have not helped me. We’ve tried. When I add up the costs of all my medications without insurance, I’m looking at an average of $5,000.00 a month just on medicines. Add in doctor visits at full price and we’re talking an annual expense of around $75, 000 or more in medical costs PER YEAR. I don’t earn that much money.
Before the ACA, I was part of the Illinois ICHIP program. That’s the Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan. It wasn’t cheap and it only covered my illnesses. If I broke my leg, that was on my dime. My health care costs were more than $25,000 a year total – that’s the monthly payment plus what it cost for doctors, blood tests and medications. Without the ICHIP it would have at least been double that, probably more as the medication costs would have been so much higher.
Once the ACA was passed my out-of-pocket expenses went down and the monthly premium was half of what it had been. Then I found out that the State of Illinois passed a law expanding the state Medicaid program and I found I was a candidate for that. My out-of-pocket expenses went down to nearly zero. For once I could stop stressing out about the out-of-pocket expenses I incurred and focus more on living the best life I could with what I have.
Now the Republicans and our new president (and I use the lower case purposely as I have no respect for the despicable man) want to take all of it away from me. The Republicans lied to their constituents telling them that “Obamacare” was a death sentence. They were wrong. However, if they take away my health care it IS a death sentence – for me! Without consistent doctor care and drugs that are basically maintenance drugs, my diseases will take over and eventually kill me much earlier than I’d like to go. My days will be filled with wondering how much longer I’ll live – or really, how much longer I’ll have to live in extreme pain and unable to work at all let alone walk or do anything for myself. My diseases are that bad. And I’m not the only one in this boat.
I’m frightened. I’m frightened that I’ll lose the ability to live a somewhat normal life – or what is normal for me right now. I’m frightened thinking that I may have to live the rest of my days in extreme pain. I’m frightened that the Republicans in Congress will bitch that people like me are not trying to live productive lives and they won’t understand that the reason rests on their shoulders. They are EVIL people.
I’m also tired. I’m tired of having someone else decide what’s best for me – the Republicans who want to take away my health benefits, the insurance companies that won’t pay for prescriptions my doctor orders but instead make me try others first – they aren’t doctors. They never talked to me to see what I’m going through. I’m tired of being tired all the time. I’m tired of being sick. But if the ACA is repealed, I’ll be sick and tired all the time. I already make plans with friends and must cancel many times because I feel so lousy. Imagine never being able to make plans because I always feel sick and tired and don’t want to dump on my friends. Actually, it would be more that I won’t have the energy to go out anyway. What kind of life would I have?
The Republicans and this new president are dangling a death sentence in front of me. What did I do to deserve that?
And here’s a real kicker. Those of you who support Congress’ actions will also suffer. Your premiums will jump up more than they already have. Those of you with employer-based health care will see more of your paycheck going toward premiums because your employers won’t be able to afford to help. Some will drop it completely and you’ll be on your own. Only the extremely wealthy will be able to afford health care. You get pneumonia? Can you afford treatment or a hospital stay without insurance? It’s doubtful. What if you break a leg or an arm? Can you afford to pay to get it set and the physical therapy that follows? Doubtful.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t wish any ill will on anyone – except the idiots in Congress who want to see me suffer.