My Affordable Care Act Story
In 1998 I gave blood at a blood drive event in New Orleans. I, soon after donating, received a letter from the blood donor group that I had Hepatitis C. I immediately went to my doctor where he confirmed that I indeed had the Hep C virus and that it was detectable.
That letter and that diagnosis put me in to a pre-existing condition category and I was not able to seek the very expensive treatment at the time, which was Interferon and Ribavirin. So I gave it a try on my own and it nearly killed me and I had to stop. Thank goodness. My brother-in-law died. He was in his early 50’s.
So I resigned myself to the fact that I would not be able to be treated. Then 15 years or so later a solid treatment and cure was developed -- Harvoni. It is so expensive that I had to choose between an expensive treatment or keeping my money, dying young and leaving what I have left to my grandchildren whom I care for. So I chose keeping my money for my grandkids.
For the past 19 years I worried. Then along came the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare. I was able to seek coverage. I found a great doctor and he helped me get the Harvoni. He also told me I was in stage 4 liver fibrosis and that I’d soon start getting ill and could possibly survive another five to ten years without treatment.
In March I sought treatment. In November I was approved. I started it on November 26, 2016. The cost was $63,000 for eight weeks of daily medication, not counting tests and doctor’s visits. I paid zero out of pocket other than my premium and deductible.
The irony of this story is that January 20, 2017 was my last dose of Harvoni. It was the same day the repeal of the Affordable Care Act was signed by our new President and the day I had my blood drawn to see if the Harvoni worked. On January 24, 2017, I got my results. I am undetectable. For me, Harvoni was a miracle drug. It’s a drug that is unaffordable to most without proper coverage. Almost $32,000 for 28 pills. That is JUST CRAZY. We have millions of people infected with this who like me have no idea how they got it.
There has to be a better way. We must have universal coverage for all Americans. We pay taxes for it not for more military jets that don’t fly.
I can now live longer. I can now take care of these two innocent children that need me and will continue to need me for many more years. I can live longer to pay taxes and be productive in society. I can now stop worrying. I now feel better and don’t have episodes of fatigue and depression.
Thank you, President Obama and congressional Democrats that fought tirelessly to make this a reality. If premiums are high it’s because the greed of the insurance companies has not been met. They always want more -- their bottom line is all that matters. Humanity does not exist on the bottom line.
For me the bottom line is I live longer and now these two children don’t have to nurse from the tit of the federal government. How much is that worth?
How much am I worth? I can assure you, I’ve paid way more than $63,000 in taxes over the years.