I got this email from a friend who also works in the health policy arena. I thought is particularly poignant, and obtained his permission to post it here. It is sometimes easy to get lost in the data and statistics, and forget, that there are REAL people out there, and this will have REAL effects.
I turned on the television tonight and saw a newsflash that the last vote had been taken on health care reform. For some reason it hit me – the sheer magnitude of the events of the last week, the last few months, and the last few years.
It made me think of my dad. Born in 1952, he has lived his life with a form of muscular dystrophy that has deteriorated the muscles in his legs. He has lived his life as a hard working farmer, as the sole owner/operator of an auto body shop, and as the best role model I’ve ever known. Considering his medical condition and his line of work, he has always had to purchase his own insurance – and has never been able to afford it.
No insurance plan would ever cover my dad’s condition and he has never received the kind of therapy that he truly needs.
He has now applied for disability as he is no longer able to work, an incredibly difficult decision for a proud, hardworking man. He is only months away from spending the rest of his life in a wheel chair, and this would have been preventable if he only had access to medical care.
The work that we have done, and the work that we will continue to do, is important as it truly impacts people’s lives.
With the new health care reform legislation, my dad now qualifies for the immediate high risk insurance pool until he is eligible for Medicaid, and is approaching Medicare eligibility. But, more importantly, millions of individuals like my dad will now be able to afford insurance and seek high quality health care from the finest medical institutions in our great country, and never reach the point where they are on disability and have to give up their livelihood.
My sister, born in 1981, has the same muscular dystrophy as my dad, and is currently uninsured. She will now be able to afford insurance through the exchange and receive the type of therapy early in her life that my dad was never able to afford.
My family owes each of you a debt of gratitude, individuals and families across this country owe each of you a debt of gratitude, and I am proud of what this team has accomplished.
I am going to celebrate. You should celebrate. And we should celebrate this historic accomplishment together.
I honestly believe that every day of our lives is a momentous day, and considering how many individuals like my dad and sister who will truly benefit from this health care reform, this is especially true of our collective days over the last few years.
Thank you for all you’ve done and all you continue to do. And thank you for the continued dedication we will all carry with us as we enter a new era of health care reform.