A hospital bill showcases just how essential good health insurance is
Healthcare is expensive, even when you’re healthy. When you’re not? You’d better hope you have good insurance. And if Trumpcare passes, you’d better hope you get better quick.
Based on one woman’s example, you can’t afford to be sick in Trump’s America.
The mother of a boy with a complicated healthcare history shared an image of one of his hospital bills, and if not for the last few lines that show what her existing insurance covers, she probably would have had to add heart attack treatment for herself to the list.
It seems fitting that, with the #TrumpCare debate raging, I got this bill in the mail today from Ethan's most recent open heart surgery. pic.twitter.com/pyUE2UxbWW
— Ali (@aliranger29) June 24, 2017
Ali Chandra’s Twitter bio describes her son as “medically complex” with “heterotaxy.” And in a series of tweets following the image of the bill, she lays out some of the challenges with his care.
First, she does some math for us.
I'll save you some math; without insurance we would owe $231,115 for 10 hours in the OR, 1 week in the CICU and 1 week on the cardiac floor. pic.twitter.com/CQ9OjOsFX8— Ali (@aliranger29) June 24, 2017
Then she details her son’s history.
He's had four of these surgeries, some more involved than others. The one before this had him in the CICU for three weeks.— Ali (@aliranger29) June 24, 2017
We're hopeful that going forwards he'll need fewer and smaller surgeries, but this was not the last time they'll open his chest.— Ali (@aliranger29) June 24, 2017
We also regularly see a local cardiologist, and electrophysiologist for his pacemaker, a pediatrician, & immunology for his polysplenia.— Ali (@aliranger29) June 24, 2017
We're going to be adding pulmonology to his team after we give him a summer break. The longest he's ever gone between appointments: 5 weeks.— Ali (@aliranger29) June 24, 2017
He takes 5 different prescription medications multiple times a day. All of this adds up. None of this would be possible without insurance.— Ali (@aliranger29) June 24, 2017
And then she gets into exactly what the new AHCA bill could do, what with the proposal to bring back lifetime caps on insurance.
And I want you to go look at that number again. Nearly a quarter million dollars for one surgery. Reinstate lifetime caps and he's out.— Ali (@aliranger29) June 24, 2017
An article in Think Progress discusses the ramifications of those lifetime limits being reinstated. Under Obamacare, such limits were not allowed on “essential” benefits, but the new bill allows for a redefinition of what is “essential.”
“If they’re suddenly redefined in a way that isn’t comprehensive anymore, then any benefits left out or any changes made would affect the protections of annual lifetime limits,” said Sarah Lueck, senior policy analyst on issues of health care reform for the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.
Ali runs both a blog and a Facebook page that chronicle her son’s illness, and her story is a stark reminder of what’s at stake with the new healthcare bill.
The images of her adorable, embattled son she shared in her tweet thread make his situation even more poignant.
Look my son in the eyes and tell him that he's fought so hard to be here but sorry, you're just not worth it anymore. I dare you. pic.twitter.com/IgdQOounyB— Ali (@aliranger29) June 24, 2017
We've had two of those already this year. pic.twitter.com/zKhw4StSBx— Ali (@aliranger29) June 24, 2017
Tell that to the boy who picks me bouquets of sticks instead of flowers because he loves them better so he's sure I will too. pic.twitter.com/Zu987SCGTK— Ali (@aliranger29) June 24, 2017
Tell that to the boy who wraps his warm arms around my neck and snuggles close after a nap. pic.twitter.com/zznY4S7QtM— Ali (@aliranger29) June 24, 2017
Ali, a registered nurse, has plenty of experience with the challenges, costs, and bureaucracy of the healthcare system, both as a practitioner and a patient. She knows full well how devastating the proposed changes to our existing laws will be to families like hers, and others with pre-existing conditions and limited means (limited in this case being anyone who doesn’t make at least $200,000 a year).
Scary Mommy caught up with Ali and chatted about the response she’s received since sharing her son’s story. “I’m honestly just overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support for our brave boy. Heterotaxy is a rare syndrome, and it’s easy to feel alone along this journey, so seeing so many people rallying around us is incredibly encouraging.”
Ali closed her Twitter thread with a message for those who would so strongly defend this bill despite how blatantly it contradicts their supposed beliefs.
If you call yourselves pro-life, you need to fight for life from beginning to end. That's what Ethan's doing, what we're doing. Join us.— Ali (@aliranger29) June 24, 2017