Use My Voice

Speaking up about the issues I can't get out of my head or heart.

More Than A Sound Bite

on June 28, 2012

I started this blog as a way to speak up on issues I care about.  Not in hopes of changing people’s minds if they disagree with me but more just to give them another point of view from someone they know. I know that my political view often differ from a lot of my Christian friends and I’m ok with that. My views are just that mine. They have been shaped through my life experience, my understanding of scripture, and what my own research and study shows me.  I don’t think we all have to agree with each other but I do think it’s important that we listen to each other.

All of that being said, one of the issues I care most about will be front and center today and I assume for many days to follow, healthcare.  I have avoided this topic here because I know how fired up we all get about it. I know it is a very personal topic for many of us on both sides. I feel like it’s important today to share my family’s journey with healthcare.

For the first several years of our marriage healthcare was something we rarely thought about. My husband worked for a large company and we had excellent healthcare. We paid very little for it and it covered a lot. We paid (and still do) a lot for medicine but we rarely needed it (my how times change) so that wasn’t a big deal.  Our first child had a lot of ear infections and required two set of ear tubes and countless antibiotics but that didn’t really phase us. It wasn’t until our second child was born that healthcare became what we thought about first in our lives when making a lot of decisions.

Two weeks after of second child was born we ended up in the ER at our local children’s hospital for 12 hours as they tried to figure out what was wrong with him.  He was lethargic, wouldn’t nurse and had a body temperature of 96. Finally someone realized that the heart monitor wasn’t working.  Well, it wasn’t that the monitor wasn’t working, his heart was beating so fast it could not keep up. You see a pediatric heart monitor shuts off at 300 beats per minute. Yes, my child’s heart was beating faster than that. Well, our 12 hours in the ER was followed by 5 days in the cardiac care unit. We learned a lot. We learned how to listen through a stethoscope, we learned how to try to convert an SVT attack at home, we learned that most likely we had a very long road ahead of us. I remember them telling me to plan at being at the cardiologist office at least once a month for the next year (at that point I had no idea how much a visit to the cardiologist would cost).

I remember getting our bill from the hospital. Our portion 10% of the total for our 5 day stay was $5,000. I can remember crying and thanking God for our health insurance. I remember our first visit to the cardiologist a couple of weeks later (into January) met his $250 deductible for the year. Once again I thanked God for our insurance.

Six weeks after he was born my husband was called into a meeting. His position at work was being eliminated and he had two choices, leave or take a new job with a $20,000 a year pay cut. So here we were with a new-born with a heart condition and were learning the very definition of being stuck between a rock and a hard place. really though we knew we had no choice. We had a child with a preexisting condition. We were screwed. We took the pay cut. We could not lose the insurance.

My husband still works for that company and 5  1/2 years later still works more hours for less more hours for less money, but we have health insurance. We pay more for it and our coverage is less (this happened long before the affordable care act was passed), but we have health insurance. During that time our oldest child required lots of therapy for his special needs. We were very fortunate that our insurance covered between 80-90% of it. That only left us paying between $100-$300 a month depending on which therapies he was receiving. He also takes two medicines for his ADHD with our insurance we only have to pay $60 a month for these. We also have a daughter with asthma  now. I never realized how expensive asthma can be. If she’s in a rough patch it can easily be $30 a week to treat it (not counting doctor visits or chest x-rays) I can tell you that between our three children our $2,000 we put into a flex spending account was gone by May of this year.

I don’t write this for you to feel sorry for my family. We are one of the ones that are blessed beyond measure. We have insurance, pretty good insurance at that. I have never had to decide between feeding my children and getting them medical care. However, we do live with the very real knowledge that if my husband was to lose his job we would be in a world of trouble. If we ever had self insure our selves, well I really don’t think anyone would take us. Not if the affordable care act is stuck down anyways. You see I have not one, not two, but three children with preexisting conditions.  Guess what, I’m not the only one. There are parents out there today who will choose between feeding their children and getting them medical care.

You can say government has overstepped its bounds. You can say the affordable care act isn’t good enough (which I would be inclined to agree with you on). You can say you don’t want socialized medicine (which the affordable care act is far from). Just remember that this is an issue much bigger than sound bites. This is an issue that strikes at the heart of millions of Americans.  For many people this is the issue that determines what they will able to do with the rest of their lives.




One response to “More Than A Sound Bite

  1. […] the conversations always turned to two things insurance and money. As I have written about before my family has always been blessed with very good insurance. Therapy is very expensive. When our […]

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