I’m A Doctor. I Had A Sick Daughter Before Obamacare. It Was Very Scary

That’s why I can’t understand why the Trump Administration wants the Affordable Care Act struck down

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Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

The Affordable Care Act is not perfect. There are many things that can be made better. Personally, my health insurance premiums have more than tripled because of the ACA. With all that being said, I simply don’t understand why the Trump Administration wants to strike down the entire ACA:

I remember life before the ACA and its protections, especially those for people with pre-existing conditions. It was scary.

Our eldest daughter suffered from a crippling genetic disorder that rendered her unable to walk by age 10 and saddled her with immune deficiency and multiple infections. At the age of 12, she was diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. After six months of brutal chemotherapy, she lost her battle in June 2009.

Before she got cancer, I would be terrified of having even one hour of a gap in insurance coverage between jobs. That’s because, with any gap in coverage — even one hour — the next insurance company would deny care to my daughter because of her “pre-existing condition.” With all her doctor’s visits, physical therapy sessions, expensive medications and medical equipment she needed, it would have ruined me financially.

After she got cancer, those fears were raised to a whole new level.

She got her chemotherapy sessions in the hospital, in which she would stay for several days. I would get hospital bills well over $120,000 for each stay. That doesn’t include all her medications, doctor’s visits, and visits to the ER. Every few weeks or so, I would log into my insurance company’s website to make sure that we weren’t getting close to our “lifetime maximum benefit,” another thing the ACA eliminated. I would also log in every so often to make sure the insurance company didn’t suddenly kick my daughter off of our insurance plan, one other thing that the ACA made illegal.

So, I just don’t understand why the Justice Department is asking a Federal Appeals Court to strike down the entire ACA as unconstitutional. Do they not realize what kind of chaos that will cause? Do they not understand that such a drastic move could throw millions of people off of their insurance coverage?

Does the Trump Administration want insurance companies to once again deny care to those with “pre-existing conditions,” like my late daughter? Does the Trump Administration want to go back to the days when sick people can be suddenly be thrown off their insurance plan? Does the Trump Administration want more people — many of whom are his own political supporters — go without health insurance?

Again, the ACA is not perfect. It can be made better, and a more sensible approach would be to work — on a bipartisan basis — and come up with sensible solutions to the ACA’s problems to make the law better, to make it work better for more people.

Back before the ACA, I was blessed with a good profession and good health insurance, and I still had all these anxieties about health insurance and my sick daughter. I can’t even imagine the pain, stress, and strife of those who don’t have good health insurance (or any insurance at all). Striking down the ACA would only bring that pain, stress, and strife to more and more people. Why does the Trump Administration want to do such a thing?

Written by

NY Times featured Pulmonary and Critical Care Specialist | Physician Leader | Author and Blogger | His latest book is “Code Blue,” a medical thriller.

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