Today was a great day for me. I wanted to share the good news with all of you—after two months in plaster casts, I am now in a walking boot and transitioning to bearing weight on my right leg!
Many of you have seen me these past four months in open-back shoes—with my right ankle swollen to the size of a grapefruit—and then in a pink, orange, and green plaster cast. You’ve seen me at meet and greets across the district, using a kneeling trolley (handed down from a friend), as I was unable to put any weight on my right leg. Some of you have heard my story. For those of you who have not I want to share it with you.
The past two years I have had direct experience with our health care system through the Affordable Care Act, also known as the ACA, or Obamacare. It began when I injured my Achilles tendon during training for my third half-marathon in January of 2015. The doctors told me that for this type of injury, it was typically 2 years from injury to surgery and that recovery would be approximately 24 weeks. The orthopedists that I saw recommended physical therapy. I worked with two therapists over several months. During this time I changed insurance companies and discovered there was a major difference in coverage. Many things that were covered by one company were not covered by the other. Once it was determined that physical therapy would no longer help, it became a waiting game. I did not plan on having surgery until absolutely necessary. Instead, I continued with my exercises, trying to heal the injury as much as I could.
Then the House and Senate began pushing hard to repeal the ACA. I was worried. I now had a pre-existing condition, which would not be covered if the GOP had its way. Waiting was no longer an option. I needed to get the surgery done immediately.
But I still had to wait. As we worked our way through figuring out which surgery center would cover this or that surgery or procedure, my surgery was scheduled and then rescheduled and then rescheduled again. Finally, it was settled, and I was scheduled to surgery at a hospital where a special anchor could be used to repair the Achilles tendon. I had the surgery on September 25, 2017.
Overall, my experience with the ACA was positive, as my insurance company had everything spelled out on how much was covered and what I would owe. I was lucky to have good insurance through my work. This insurance is available to me because the ACA requires my employer to provide it.
Despite the ordeal, I feel lucky. Yet, looking to the future of our health care in America, I wonder if this will continue to be the norm, or if the current administration will be successful in their efforts to take away affordable, accessible health care.
Currently the House and Senate are trying to defund the ACA through a revision of the budget. If they are successful, money that should be used to pay subsidies purchased on the health care exchange will be lost. This will drive the cost of insurance higher, making it unaffordable for many. If that happens, what will people do to access the care they need when they are sick or injured? Should we just shrug it off as families are forced into poverty over the illness or injury of a loved one? I can’t accept that, and neither should you.
As your Congresswoman, I promise to defend the ACA, while working with my colleagues to put into place a national single-payer healthcare system.
Please join me in the fight to keep affordable, accessible health care for our nation. Follow my campaign on FB, Twitter and at www.JennieLouLeeder.com
Let’s elect a Leeder to the House in 2018!