In 2010, I had good union health insurance. Obamacare was the law of the land. In November that yr my 1yo son was struck by a careless driver in a crosswalk. After two surgeries and a night in intensive care, he died.
Before we knew the outcome, I sat at his bedside, his tiny stitched-together body hooked to a million incessantly beeping machines, straining to recall what our deductibles were. I worried I wouldn't be able to keep working during what could be a long hospital stay.
I googled FMLA and learned I wouldn't qualify b/c I hadn't been at my job for a year. If I lost my job we would both be without insurance. Without my income, there was no way we could afford $1K/month COBRA.
Within a week of his death, before we had even received a bill, the hospital put a lien on our house to make sure we wouldn't skip out on the PICU bill.
My husband who was also injured in the crash, was refused treatment by his primary care doc b/c she didn't accept payment from auto insurance and his health insurer wouldn't pay til we exhausted our auto insurance.
Have you ever had to call around to find a doctor that can handle your specific insurance situation? Have you done it in the days after your toddler has died, when you haven't even figured out a way to talk about it, when your husband is injured and urgently needs a Rx refill?
We ended up with around $5K in out-of-pocket expenses and our health insurer paid $175K. Eventually, we'd receive a settlement from the at-fault driver. For a minute, we thought we might be OK financially.
Then our health ins. co. came after our pain and suffering settlement. They demanded reimbursement for the $175K they were out. Turns out they were legally entitled to do that. In an instant, our modest settlement - meant to compensate for the loss of our son - was reduced to $0
(Side Note: It took me 8 yrs but in 2019 I initiated and passed a bill making this practice illegal in OR. It remains legal in many states.)
Through all this, my husband and I both were suffering from PTSD. We had jobs, a mortgage. All of it hung in the balance. In a humane system, we could grieve without having to navigate an insurance juggernaut, without worrying about being thrust into debt and poverty.
Despite Obamacare and "good" union insurance, we were nearly bankrupted by a 27-hour hospital stay.
Every one of us lives in a body that is going to fail. Sometimes it happens suddenly, catastrophically. Do you want to fight with insurers when this happens? Do you want to sort through a mountain of bills when you lose someone you love, when your grief is raw?
There is no compromise on healthcare that doesn't leave millions of people unacceptably vulnerable to corporations trying to profit from sick and injured people.
I believe change is coming. I am ready to fight for other families, for #MedicareForAll, and to elect @BernieSanders president. Sending solidarity and love to all who are suffering under this awful system. ❤️👊

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More from @DuBarryPie

9 Nov 20
My son Seamus died ten years ago today. This is the last photo of him - snapped on a flip phone by my husband at our neighborhood park, 2 hrs before they were struck by a careless driver in a crosswalk. He sent it w/ a text that said, "He knows 'uphill' and 'downhill' now!" 1/8
I got the call around 11am. I remember sprinting through the parking lot to the ER in a blind panic. Seeing people standing in line, calmly filling out paperwork, I burst through a set of double doors marked "do not enter" and a nurse said, "This must be mom." 2/8
A crowd of doctors and nurses gathered outside Seamus's room, watching whatever was happening inside, but they wouldn't let me see him. Eric was incoherent, wrapped in bloody bandages, deep in shock. A social worker kept telling me to sit down, drink water. 3/8
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