On January 5, 2006, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of eight. T1D is an autoimmune disorder that affects the body’s production of the hormone insulin, a hormone necessary for the processing of carbohydrates into sugar so it can be used by the body for energy.
Diabetes did not take over my body due to any of my wrong doing, but because I have predisposed genetic coding that caused my white blood cells to attack my pancreas, ceasing the function of the organ.
But that doesn’t matter to Republican law makers, apparently.
In 2010, President Barack Obama signed in the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obama Care, as a first step towards nationalized health care for all. This decision was met with pushback and had unforeseen repercussions, however, those who had never had health insurance before had the opportunity to get the care they needed.
Then came Trump.
As a part of his presidential promises, besides deporting 11 million people and potentially getting us nuked, he is undoing everything Obama was able to accomplish, including taking away health care from an approximated 6.4 million people, according to cnn.com.
I have a chronic disease. Without external insulin, I will die.
With consideration to the premium rates Senators Graham and Cassidy are putting forth under their amendment to the ACA, I will definitely die.
“Trumpcare” was effectively struck down months ago, but the president has urged his party to revisit the removal of Obamacare. Senators Graham and Cassidy have attached their amendment, hoping the “compromises” will help the bill be accepted.
Amongst other things, such as cutting funding to MedicAid and Planned Parenthood, the most disturbing line in the amendment comes along with the increased premium rates for those with preexisting conditions.
According to the balance.com, states will have the power to determine “what counts as an essential health benefit”. Patients will be able to receive coverage for pregnancy, mental health and medical equipment, however, these provisions come at a cost.
Calculations made by the Center for American Progress project that someone like me-diabetic without complications-could be facing up to $5,600 per month in premium rates alone. This does not include the cost for prescriptions, medical supplies nor specialist visits.
So , I went to Medtronic.com, a company I’ve been using to purchase medical supplies from since 2010, to see how much my everyday goods would cost without coverage for just one month.
An insulin pump is the closest researches have gotten to mimicking the pancreas for a diabetic individual. It delivers insulin subcutaneously 24/7, just as the pancreas does, allowing the user more control and better results.
Usage of insulin pump requires approximately nine different pieces of equipment.
Along with taking insulin, a diabetic has to test their blood sugar at least four times a day, which requires a blood glucose meter and test strips to read the result.
For ideal care of diabetes, the usage of a Continual Glucose Monitor is needed, which tests your blood glucose every three minutes.
To be in the best control possible, out of pocket, it costs anywhere between $7,656 to $8,437 per month, depending on whether or not you want just enough supplies to barely make you to the month’s end, or if you would like extra supplies in case of complications or an emergency.
Diabetes is not just some sweet old man on a television commercial. It’s not not being able to eat any sugar or else “diabetic shock” will set in. It’s not being overweight and eating McDonalds every night.
I’ll tell you what it is though. It’s constantly feeling like the odd man out because you have an “Mp3” on your hip. It’s fearing being pulled over, not because you’re afraid of getting shot, which is a valid fear in this day in age, but because of a lawsuit you’ve been deemed as a “danger to public safety” and can have your license revoked at any moment. It’s visualizing your kidneys deteriorating inside of you because you miscalculated your insulin dosage. It’s the embarrassment of every time you go to Disneyland having to step out of line and have a metal detector wand run over you because your equipment will malfunction if it goes through a metal detector. It’s your mom checking on you in the middle of the night to make sure you haven’t seized and gone brain dead. And you know what else it is? Not my fault.
If “Trumpcare” is passed, with this amendment, I will be faced-along with millions of other Americans-to make the choice between treating myself properly and maintaining my health, paying my rent or eating.
Because I surely can’t do it all working a minimum wage job and going to school.
Although the amendment does remove the individual tax burden placed on those who did not have health insurance, a side effect of Obamacare, and allows children to stay on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26, the reality I am, as many others are, faced with is a scary one.
Preexisting medical conditions are more often than not chronic, ongoing battles that require 24/7 care and 110 percent of your energy to care for. Whether the condition was brought on due to someone’s life choices, or to no fault of their own at all, people in the “freest country in the world” should not have to consider giving up quality of life because of the quantity of their health insurance premium.