An apology to President Obama

An apology to President Obama

This ‘apology’ to President Obama appeared in the LA Times.

Apparently this woman was very critical of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare as it’s now commonly referred to). She didn’t like the law and clearly had an opinion about people who didn’t have health insurance.

Hit by the economy, this woman now faces the terrible diagnosis of cancer with no health insurance.

With the recession, both of our businesses took a huge hit — my husband’s income was cut in half, and the foundations that had supported my small nonprofit were going through their own tough times. We had to start using a home equity line of credit to pay for our health insurance premiums (which by that point cost as much as our monthly mortgage).

When the bank capped our home equity line, we were forced to cash in my husband’s IRA. The time finally came when we had to make a choice between paying our mortgage or paying for health insurance. We chose to keep our house. We made a nerve-racking gamble, and we lost.

Not having insurance amplifies cancer stress. After the diagnosis, instead of focusing all of my energy on getting well, I was panicked about how we were going to pay for everything. I felt guilty and embarrassed about not being insured.

“I’m not a deadbeat,” I blurted out. “I’m a good person. I have two kids and a house!” The clerk was sympathetic, telling me how even though she worked in the healthcare field, she could barely afford insurance herself.

This hits me on a many levels.

During the health care debates I was facing my own cancer journey. I watched multitudes of TV reports (during rounds of chemo) where people all over the nation who didn’t understand the law screamed and spit at law makers.

At the time, I became aware that most people get their health insurance through their employers, so they had no idea of what it actually costs. Being self-employed, I pay for my own every month – on my own.

I also had the feeling most people who hated the law probably had never experienced a serious disease. Do it once and you really value your coverage.

I’m very sorry this woman faces cancer and I wish her the very best. And I appreciate that she has had this epiphany about the protections for “pre-existing conditions” and how important this is.

One more thing: notice one of the issues the woman brings up is that she wanted people to know she wasn’t a “dead beat.” Probably because that’s what she thought people who didn’t have health insurance were.

I hope a lot of people read this letter and find a bit of the reality check here.

Yes, it can happen to you.

No, it doesn’t mean you’re a “dead beat.”

However, don’t judge those without health insurance as looking for a handout. It happens.

She closes with this:

“So this is my public apology. I’m sorry I didn’t do enough of my own research to find out what promises the president has made good on. I’m sorry I didn’t realize that he really has stood up for me and my family, and for so many others like us. I’m getting a new bumper sticker to cover the one that says “Got nope.” It will say “ObamaCares.”