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Knock-knock: Who’s there? A health crisis

BY Kayleigh Ray

Kayleigh Ray, pictured with her cat, has closely followed policy discussions around the Affordable Care Act and other healthcare policies as she is dependent on insulin for survival like many other Americans.

Knock-knock: Who’s there? A health crisis

By Kayleigh Ray
December 4, 2020

I had just finished my freshman year at DePauw University when America’s healthcare system came barging on my door, demanding my freedom, and occupying my time and thoughts.

You see, my laptop fell and shattered during finals, which was something expensive but fixable. I had spent the previous summer working double shifts at a local Steak ’n Shake and managed to save $2,000 before heading off to school. Thankfully, I earned just enough for a new laptop at the beginning of the school year.

Suddenly, everything changed.

I received a letter in the mail from my insurance company, MDwise. I had been dropped from my health insurance because I made too much money as a waitress who lived on her own and had no living parents for additional income.

On top of this, I now had limited access life-saving medication: insulin.

Despite recent claims about the price of insulin from President Donald J. Trump, I quickly found out insulin wasn’t cheap “like water.” Instead, the two different types of insulin I was on would cost me over $1,000 month without my health insurance.

Like many other diabetics throughout the country, I suddenly had to start rationing my insulin because I couldn’t afford to buy more while being a full-time student.

This isn’t only a problem for people with diabetes but a much larger one in America’s healthcare system.

Over 44 million Americans don’t have healthcare, which leaves them vulnerable to ridiculously high medical bills or price tags on indispensable medications, like insulin.

Trump also added insult to injury after repeatedly trying to take the Affordable Care Act (ACA) down.

The law, which was put into effect during former President-elect Joe Biden’s term as vice president, makes it illegal for any health insurance company to deny an individual coverage based on pre-existing conditions, such as (but not limited to) diabetes.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 50 million to 129 million of non-elderly Americans have some type of pre-existing health condition.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard a case that could destroy the healthcare law, also known as Obamacare, though some justices posed queries suggesting they were open to keeping the law. If the ACA stays intact, there are many changes that obviously need to be made to transform America’s healthcare system into something more accessible, especially for those who don’t qualify for Medicare.

Biden continues to promote a plan to build on the Affordable Care Act by giving Americans more choice, reducing health care costs, and making our health care system less complex to navigate.

But, even with these promises, changing the Affordable Care Act will take more push and pull when it comes to getting bills passed through the House and Senate.

At the end of the day, all Americans shouldn’t have to worry about their access to needed medications and medical assistance. We shouldn’t have to worry if our health will be jeopardized based on bills being passed or held due to political party differences, or in my case by a simple letter arriving in the mail.

There are many countries that offer universal healthcare to every citizen, as it should be in the United States. We need fewer promises and promotions, and more delivery of better healthcare access.