Birth Days

surgeonNine years ago my wife and I celebrated the birth of our first child. We were overjoyed when we welcomed our daughter into our lives, much as any new parents would be. About a month later my wife developed a chronic cough and was constantly coughing up mucus. We went to the doctor’s office several times and were constantly told she had bronchitis. She was given antibiotics for months before we finally got a doctor to do an X-ray of her chest. Right after they got the results back we were instructed to check into the hospital through the emergency room.

Of course we were worried and concerned. We left my daughter with her aunt and headed right to the hospital. Why did we have to head right to the hospital like this? What had they found? Turns out they weren’t entirely sure but the X-ray showed a cavity in one of her lungs, a typical sign of TB.

Scary certainly but TB didn’t sound right to us due to how contagious it is. Certainly, both myself and our daughter would have caught it after living with her for months with it. Fortunately, several tests showed that we were right, it wasn’t TB. It was pneumonia. It had only been in one lung, so it hadn’t stopped her from being able to move about and live, but she was constantly coughing, spitting up mucus, and always out of breath. Not a good way to be while raising a newborn.

My wife spent a week in isolation while they figured out what the problem was, and how to treat her.

Fortunately for us, we were insured through my work. When my wife first went into labor, her water had broken and we had to enter in through the emergency room. Her birth cost me $100 deductible for going through the delivery room. When my wife was sent to the hospital, we went in through the emergency room. A week of isolation and all of these tests cost me $100 deductible.

Wait, have I been saying my wife? We weren’t actually married yet. I mean, basically, we were married. We’d been together for six years, had lived with each other for five and been faithful to each other that entire time. But legally? On paper? We were not married. THat happened later. But once again luckily for us the company I worked for at the time allowed me to insure my girlfriend.

They also allowed me to use saved up vacation time to take that week off so I could be home taking care of our daughter and taking care of my wife when I could visit. Keep in mind this was just a couple of months after having taken a month off for my daughters birth and baby bonding.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, this story is in response to the never-ending health care debate. As I write this, the GOP lead government is again looking to destroy the Affordable Care Act, aka, Obamacare. My daughter was born before the ACA was created. We were lucky that I was able to ensure all of us, even though we weren’t married.

I got a copy of the bill from the hospital for my daughters birth. It was for over $10k. I received a bill from a doctor for $400 for “being present”. I don’t know who this doctor is, or why he was there, but he was able to bill me because he was there. I got the insurance to roll that into the original claim. I was pretty mad, why did a Dr. get to bill me $400 for being present at my daughters birth, when I never asked him to be there. I still don’t know if he even did anything. I got the bill for when my wife was in isolation for a week. I don’t remember exactly how much it was, but it eclipsed the $10k bill from my daughters birth.

If we didn’t have insurance, those bills would have wrecked us. We never could have afforded those, and would have had to go into bankruptcy. In fact, my cousin had to go into bankruptcy after his wife had a very hard pregnancy and his insurance didn’t cover enough leaving him with bills he could never hope to pay. Bankruptcy was his only option to save his family financially.

I was lucky that the insurance I had covered what needed to be covered, even though we weren’t married. $200 is a small price to pay for what we went through. My wife and daughter and now my son (another $10k birth yay!) are here and while we aren’t rich (buy my book!) we are secure enough. That wouldn’t have happened without the insurance we have

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shameless plug
just the one. sorry.

Since the ACA was passed I’ve seen my taxes go up. I mean sure, I make more today than I did nine years ago. But now I’m married and have two dependants, which should help to offset some of those taxes. All the same I’m paying more. I have no doubt that some of that comes from the ACA. I won’t claim to like paying taxes. I’ve never done my taxes and been like “Yay, I get to pay taxes!” But I do understand what those taxes do. I understand that the taxes I pay that go to the ACA means that someone else out there gets to have the same or similar experience we did.

I know the ACA means that someone can have a child and not be immediately burdened by the costs of a small car. It means that someone can get sick and hospitalized and not have to hire a bankruptcy lawyer afterward (more expenses yay!). It means that people can live their lives, the same as we have been able too.

When we get sick, going to the doctors office is an annoyance, not a financial hardship. That’s not always the case for everyone else. That’s a peace of mind that some people don’t get to enjoy.

The ACA isn’t perfect, but its enabled for millions of people the same peace of mind we had and still have. Sure it’s expensive, yes we have to pay more for it. But if it means that someone else can have those life-saving experiences. That more people can go to the doctors without wondering if they’re going to face financial ruin from it. Well, if that’s what it means, it’s worth it. It’s worth every last penny.

And it’s worth fighting for. If you haven’t yet, please call your senators (202) 224-3121. Tell them to reject any repeal of the ACA. It’s too important for too many people. And if you have a senator who’s already fighting to defeat repeal, call them too and thank them. Let them know you support them and have their back. It’s important they hear us, that’s what they’re there for.

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