The Supreme Court has spoken, and I want to tell you what it means to me as a cancer survivor.
I’m not afraid to admit that I was opposed to the Affordable Care Act, what some people refer to as Obamacare, when it passed.
But there was something that concerned me more, and that was having no insurance at all. Because in the minds of the health insurance companies, I’m not a cancer survivor — I’m someone who had the audacity to survive cancer. And the consequence of survival was that they refused to insure me. I own a small business and work hard, so I need to buy my own health care.
However, I did qualify for a new program included in the health care law — the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Program (PCIP). It was designed for people like me and maybe for someone like you or someone you care about who are cancer survivors and aren’t able to get insurance coverage due to a pre-existing condition like cancer.
When I went to the hospital in March with a life-threatening bacterial infection, I was admitted to the intensive care unit, where I spent five days recovering. Without PCIP, I would not have been placed in intensive care and, quite simply, I would have died.
And that brings me to today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.
I almost cried when I heard the Supreme Court had upheld the law. These were not tears of sadness, but tears of relief. I won’t be losing my insurance coverage. I know that if I get sick again, it won’t mean possibly losing everything I have, including my life. And I know there are millions of cancer survivors like me who feel the same way.
Yes, the law was controversial. And it’s a shame it became so partisan. But there is one thing I know for sure — we can never go back to how it was before the Affordable Care Act was passed.
Cancer survivors cannot again be left to just hoping we won’t get sick. Bankruptcy and a greater likelihood of death shouldn’t be accepted as the outcome of a serious illness.
Despite my early concerns and reservations, I believe in the importance of this law. I believe in its crucial protections for cancer patients and cancer survivors. It protected me. And for those like me, it saved our lives.
Thank you ACS CAN for fighting for the parts of the law that saved my life.
Cancer Survivor – Lake City, FL
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network http://bit.ly/MYowHY