In 2011, on the age of 25 – and solely three weeks of commencement – I had a ache in my proper knee that didn’t need to go away. I used to be a passionate runner and had a wholesome life-style, which is why I believed I had simply twisted my knee.
However a go to to my physician didn’t reveal a torn ligament, a sprain or a fractured patella. At 25, an MRI of my knee revealed a tumor. I’ve been recognized with osteosarcoma, an aggressive bone most cancers that’s often present in youngsters and adolescents.
I used to be in shock. No person expects to be recognized with most cancers, not to mention at 25 years previous. "25-year-olds don’t get most cancers," I believed.
This information was devastating. As a substitute of touring overseas to hitch the Peace Corp after commencement, I began a 12 months of therapy together with 9 cycles of chemotherapy and 5 surgical procedures.
Obamacare saved my life
However there was excellent news: first, we had found most cancers at an early stage and we may deal with it. And simply as importantly, I used to be lucky to have been recognized on the age of Obamacare. Because of one of many provisions of the Reasonably priced Care Act, I’ve all the time been capable of buy insurance coverage from my mother and father' insurance coverage at age 25.
I attempt not to consider what would have occurred to me with out this provision. My household wouldn’t have been eligible for charity insurance coverage and would have had problem paying my medical payments. (Knee surgical procedures value about as a lot as my mom's home.)
In 2014, I bought medical health insurance from the ACA Federal Insurance coverage Alternate, which meant that I had common medical checkups to ensure the most cancers had not returned – and that I’m nonetheless in remission. The police additionally lined the follow-up checks and medicines I used to be taking for persistent kidney illness because of my most cancers therapy.
If the worst occurred, my insurance coverage assured me the therapy wanted to combat the illness once more. However I have no idea what I’d do if I misplaced my medical health insurance.
The legislation impressed me
Since my therapy, I’ve been excited about this difficulty each day. This has fueled my curiosity within the well being care system and my ardour for advocacy for a well being reform that has led to a grasp's diploma in public well being and a brand new profession as an educator. in public well being.
In my "each day work" at GetCoveredNYC, I assist customers navigate the registration course of for an trade and inform them about their medical health insurance choices. In my free time, I advocate for well being reform by contacting our legislators and dealing with advocacy teams. (I met with employees of 30 US Senators to debate affected person entry to care.)
Voters have spoken
The mid-term elections of 2018 highlighted the truth that hundreds of thousands of Individuals like me had been affected by pre-existing ailments: well being issues like diabetes, bronchial asthma, and most cancers. The actual fact that I’ve confronted most cancers and survived is cause sufficient for insurance coverage corporations to disclaim me protection for the remainder of my life – if we lose ACA safety for folks pre-existing ailments.
As a registration advisor and advocate for well being reform, I meet these folks on daily basis. I hear their successes – to lastly be capable to provide protection with premiums. However I additionally hear their issues in regards to the lack of protection if the ACA protections had been overruled by our legislators.
Within the elections, voters despatched a transparent message. It is a message we should all proceed to share: the well being and well-being of most cancers survivors, youngsters with disabilities, moms with being pregnant problems and all of the others. One other doable well being drawback, defending our protection is a matter of life and dying.
Mina Schultz is a specialist in exterior communication at GetCoveredNYC, a metropolis initiative to attach New Yorkers to well being protection.