Some of Us are Terrified that SCOTUS Will Strike Down ‘Obamacare’

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Thirty-three days ago, my 22-year-old daughter had an eight-hour open heart surgery at one of the top cardiac care facilities in the world. On my employer’s health insurance.

Thank you, President Obama.

Her Pandora’s Box of problems began opening in September 2010. She worked full time, went to college part time. She was doing all the “get ahead” go-go-go moves conservatives love to laud—paying taxes, working, going to school—all the while keeping her regular cardiology check-ups. With a heart pumping in reverse, a pacemaker, strong beta-blockers, an internal cardio-defibrillator, and a terrific cardiologist specializing in adults with congenital heart defects, she was able to function at a level that made her indistinguishable on the surface from any other young adult.

But then a cascade began, a not uncommon one with her correction. Tachycardia, fibrillation, fatigue, dizziness. Treadmill tests, catheterizations, ablations, electo-physiological studies. A couple of months were spent trying to pin down what turned out to be two separate issues. Months and months ensued of failed mild interventions, further diagnostics, tweaks, all trying to avoid a risky open heart surgery that would remove all the device leads that had become embedded over the years in her heart wall tissue and her mitral valve, obstructing flow and triggering heart rhythms in excess of 250 beats per minute. Multiple firings of her ICD left her shaky and weak with one foot planted in the land of PTSD.

While she was insured as an adult through work, it was not an ideal plan for someone with her condition—high deductibles, high co-pays, high out-of-pocket on a salary set right at living wage. Her employer hires lots of young, healthy adults and for those workers, it serves. For my daughter, not so much. Until Obamacare, it was the best she could do. My employer, on the other hand, had a great insurance plan. The moment adult children under 26 became eligible, I moved her onto my insurance, and with zest and thankful prayers, I paid the extra premium. Just in time, as it turns out, for the downward spiral of hospitalizations.

You want to know what it’s like to hear your daughter is at high risk for something called sudden cardiac death syndrome? No, you don’t. Really.

Now send that article to everyone you know.

On a personal note, I’m truly terrified that SCOTUS will overturn ACA.  As some of you know, I have a pituitary adenoma (microprolactinoma, to be precise; I’ve written about it here.)  Why am I terrified?  Because I will have to get brain surgery this summer before my COBRA runs out because once it does, I will be uninsurable. I’m stockpiling what meds I can because I won’t be able to afford them once my COBRA runs out.  I obviously can’t stockpile my hormone therapy drugs, so after my COBRA runs out, it’s either surgery (which may or may not be necessary and may or may not work) or a life of mood swings and feeling like a shitty friend because I literally can’t be around people — even those I love — most days because this little fucker in my head has changed my personality and turned me into a hermit. I often joke to my mother that I’m the black female Ted Kaczynski.

This is not a joke for people like me. It’s not a joke for people like my uninsured friend Natalie who started radiation treatment for cervical cancer today, and has to fundraise to pay for it.

It’s not right.  It’s not fair.  This can’t be what we are as a country, because if it is?  That’s fucked up.

[via Daily Kos]

***You can help my friend Natalie pay for her treatment.  Any amount you can give is much appreciated, and will go a long way to helping her kick cancer in the face.  Have a dollar?  Donate a dollar.

Thank you.

[cross-posted at The Raw Story]

44 replies
  1. 1
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Some of us could do with some recent comments! just sayin!

  2. 2
    Baud says:


    Some of us could do with some recent comments! just sayin!

    SCOTUS struck down recent comments 5-4.

  3. 3
    piratedan says:

    @Baud: probably due to those notorious activist web designers

  4. 4
    Mary G says:

    I am thoroughly convinced that Republicans who develop chronic health conditions don’t remain Republicans, unless they have millions of dollars. No one who has been through this can want to keep the system we have now.

    This is just the 1001th thing that will push women voters into the Democratic columns in November.

  5. 5
    ABL says:

    @Baud: ::snort::

  6. 6
    whitney says:

    I am running against the tide. I actually think that SCOTUS will uphold it, and I think Roberts will write the favorable decision. It’s ultimately a pro-business decision.

    That being said, you and Natalie and all of the folks whose lives may hang in the balance remain in my prayers.

  7. 7
    rikyrah says:

    this diary touched me.

    this isn’t a game.

    in the least.

  8. 8
    PurpleGirl says:

    ABL — a small gift has been made to Natalie.

    I hope all goes well for you.

    (My own medical issues are chronic but nothing compared to your’s or Natalie’s.)

  9. 9
    Loneoak says:

    Oh, but all my healthy 28-year-old leftist purity troll friends on FB want the law struck down so we can get single payer. Because that’s how this whole thing works, right?

  10. 10
    Svensker says:

    Is there a paypal donate button for Natalie? Can’t do the credit card thing, but could do a little cash.

    How can our country be so dumb?

  11. 11
    ABL 2.0 says:

    @PurpleGirl: thank you, i saw! that’s very kind.

    @Svensker: i will ask her about that. thanks so much!

  12. 12
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    @whitney: I have a conservative friend who thinks it will be 6-3 with Roberts and Kennedy siding with the liberals. I guess some in the GOP fear if it is overturned GOP heads will be lopped off, or they feel Romney may save it be “reviving it.

  13. 13
    David Koch says:

    Kill da Bill!

    /True Progressive™’d

  14. 14
    Mart says:

    Do not know the particulars, and of course I wish best health and best coverage. In our case as one of my daughters was on our plan then had to get off when she worked a teaching job with coverage. We then juggled her back on after she was downsized and taught at a charter school where she was not eligible for coverage for a year. The reason for juggling is I was told if it is available where she works she must take that plan. Worry a bit that publishing that she went for her parent’s plan when she had an option (even if shitty) at work might end badly. I would have kept this outcome to myself ’cause you know for profit insurance companies love to deny coverage.

  15. 15
    debg says:

    That young woman’s story moved me to tears, and of course she’s not the only one. It hadn’t occurred to me that day that you too, ABL, would be affected. Weren’t there Tumblrs before the act was passed about people who could benefit? Can’t there be more now about what woud happen to the folks who did benefit and would now LOSE all that?

  16. 16

    @Loneoak: It’s a slam-dunk. Especially with reduced, or no, Democratic majority in the Senate.

    Early in my time in the Senate, [ed. 2008] single-payer proponents–led by organizers from the California Nurses Association–visited to seek Senator Kennedy’s support for single payer as the path to national reform. We asked them how many senators they knew supported their preference. “We haven’t done a head count,” they said, and they never provided one. Senator Kennedy’s health team had done one–the Medicare for All legislation he sponsored earlier in the decade had garnered zero cosponsors.

    Inside National Health Reform, by John E. McDonough, p.44.

  17. 17
    PhoenixRising says:

    For some of us who have already gotten some upside, but have ongoing health concerns and no employer sponsored group in sight, it’s pretty terrifying.

    I mean, I know it’s too much trouble for Fat Tony’s clerks to read 2700 whole pages of law to determine whether there is any constitutional cover for ending my access to health insurance. And believe me, with over 3 file boxes of crap from the weasels at my insurance company mailed to me since Sept. 12, 2011, I have all the sympathy in the world for how onerous a burden that would represent for federal employees who get a choice of 22 health plans. Not to mention the fact that I’m not in the health care regulating field, so all of this crap might as well be Greek to me.

    Yet somehow, I’m still wishing that they could be roused to understand that buying health insurance isn’t at all like buying vegetables. It’s more like buying a plane ticket and assessing the chances that this time thelane is going to crash–what seat do you want NOW, when there’s a fire on the runway?

  18. 18
    Gus says:

    @Mary G: Really? ‘Cause I think a lot of them are so full of bile, they’ll choose to die rather than give Obama credit for the ACA.

  19. 19
    kay says:

    Well, we’re going to have to get the word out, because there was absolutely no mention in the hearing of uninsured people, except when the esteemed justices were noting that they’re deadbeats.
    Justice Roberts spent way more time fretting over the health and continued survival of insurance companies than he did worrying about actual uninsured people.
    The advocate tried to bring it up towards the end there but they shut him down quick. Details! Don’t bother them with details!
    So. You-all were not heard from in that room.

  20. 20

    I do know about chronic disease and have written some about mine in the past here. It has turned me into something of a hermit, from once being a highly social person. Not to belabor details, but among other symptoms, it has left me deaf in one ear, and about half of the hearing in my other ear is gone. With increasing poor balance.

    If not for the VA, finally, after decades, making a provisional diagnoses and treatment that has helped my rare ailment, but not cured, I doubt I’d be above ground by now. But not before going first through years of a living of hell on earth, having a rare condition, no insurance, and at that time, not even the VA, until Clinton expanded the pool of vets to be covered.

    So it is all kinds of emo for me, this ACA law, not so much for myself, personally, getting decent health care from the VA now, but for those who are sick and left in the lurch to fend for themselves in the richest country in the world. It is why the anger at both the wingnuts and their law of the jungle bullshit, and some on the left bitching about making rich insurance companies richer and wanting the ACA to have not passed for that reason.

    The folks out there in need, don’t have the luxury of fine pol ideology, nor sacrificing the imperfect to wait for the ideal. It’s life and death struggle for too many, and it mostly is played out silently, suffered by those who fell through the cracks, and there are more than a few.

  21. 21
    JoyfulA says:

    It’s why I couldn’t wait (for years!) to turn 65. I can’t retire for another 10 years when my mortgage is paid off, but I got wonderful, wonderful Medicare and the surgery I’d put off for years. I wish everyone got Medicare.

  22. 22
    JoyfulA says:

    It’s why I couldn’t wait (for years!) to turn 65. I can’t retire for another 10 years when my mortgage is paid off, but I got wonderful, wonderful Medicare and the surgery I’d put off for years. I wish everyone got Medicare.

  23. 23
    FlipYrWhig says:

    I saw at Booman that Obama actually mentioned single-payer in his Q&A today. Someone please file that away for the negative nellies.

  24. 24
    Michael says:

    I thank sheer dumb luck every day that I was born in Canada.

  25. 25

    Granted, I’m no expert on human female reproductive physiology, beyond what they taught us in sex ed at Pat’s Pool Hall of my mispent youth, but this sounds more than a little kooky to me.

    Smuggled into an already-odious bill banning abortions at 20 weeks in Arizona is a provision requiring that “pregnancy” be counted from the first day of a woman’s menstrual period, making “pregnancy” begin legally two weeks before conception.

  26. 26
    Anonymous At Work says:

    Not directly related but Obama-care related. This is a funny example of a lifetime appointment judge having his fee-fees hurt.
    Federal Judge Demands Obama Explain ‘Obamacare’ Statements

  27. 27
    lacp says:

    I’m a lefty purist single-payer fan who isn’t crazy about ACA, but I sure as shit don’t want to see it overturned. If that happens, we’re not going to get single payer, or even a return to the status quo ante: we’re going to get a ‘system’ run by the same Wall Street pirates who created the economic disaster we’re struggling to get out of. Fuck that shit.

  28. 28
    lol says:


    Sorry, I’ve lost track of the thread, are you talking about Republicans who would rather die than give Obama credit for ACA or emoprogs who would rather other people die than give Obama credit for ACA?

  29. 29
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:


    This. I thought ACA was a hot mess, but the best that could’ve been done in such a fucking ridiculous political climate, and if it gets overturned, we end up with WORSE than the status quo, with zero indication it’ll lurch back toward sanity within the next few decades.

  30. 30
    pseudonymous in nc says:


    I got wonderful, wonderful Medicare and the surgery I’d put off for years.

    If everyone got Medicare, then Medicare itself would change in fairly drastic ways, because Medicare as it stands is the feast after the famine. That’s not a bad thing. If there were a viable way to get from this… thing that is American healthcare to something like the French or Australian models, then I’d probably be annoyed at the compromises of the ACA. I don’t think there is; I think something approaching the Swiss model is the best the US is going to get.

    And I too think that it’ll be 6-3 with Roberts writing the opinion.

  31. 31
    Stella Barbone says:

    Yep, I had a mom crying about this in my office yesterday. Her daughter was born with a severe congenital heart condition and had multiple surgeries as a baby. She may need another one in the future, but for now she’s doing fine. She’s in a top-notch doctoral program and covered on her mom’s insurance, but her mother is terrified that she’s going to lose this coverage.

    My nurse’s 22 year old is working in his dad’s small business. He got whacked in the eye two weeks ago playing basketball and injured a retina. No problem, though, he’s on his mom’s insurance.

    Don’t get me started on the American born, full time employed grandmother with an uninsurable condition who died of asthma because her employer dropped insurance and she didn’t want to go into debt to go to the emergency room. She knew that health care isn’t free in the ED, so she promised her daughters to see me in my office first thing in the morning. They found her dead in her bed the next day. That was 3 or 4 years ago and it still pisses me off.

  32. 32
    Anne says:

    I have a cousin whose health history is very similar to the young woman’s in the DKos diary. Fortunately he lives in that degenerate commie hellhole known as San Francisco, where all residents’ health insurance is covered by a city (sales?) tax. Last summer he had open-heart surgery to get a new heart valve, a long stay in the hospital with rehab, another long stay after he developed complications, and so on. Neither he nor his parents ever saw a bill. His folks are sure that had he not had city-sponsored health insurance, the bills would have bankrupted all three of them.

  33. 33
    pkdz says:

    ABL, I hope for you and so many others that Obamacare stands. My husband has a prolactinoma. The medications are so expensive. Good luck to you.

  34. 34
    Rheinhard says:

    Aha, you can’t fool me! Super-genius legal scholar Mark Levin explained on his radio show this evening that people making the “I’m afraid I won’t be insurable after my COBRA runs out!” arguments are either liars or idiots, because no hospital would stop critical treatments due to COBRA running out because they would be too terrified of all the malpractice lawsuits that would be filed by liberal ambulance chaser lawyers!

    Check AND mate, libtards! And he knows his stuff, because he worked for ED FUCKING MEESE!

  35. 35
    mazareth says:

    If the ACA is struck down, I’m stuck at my current company until I’m eligible for Medicare.

    I was diagnosed with, and treated for thyroid cancer in 2009. I’m fine now. But if the pre-ex ban goes away, I’ll be a victim of job-lock. Don’t get me wrong, my current company treats me well and I like my job. I hate the thought of having to pass up a future job opportunity to keep my current insurance coverage.

  36. 36
    Debbie(Aussie) says:

    I am so sorry for all of you. My son married a lovely young woman from Oregon and with all my blog reading my saying is ‘ you couldn’t pay me enough to live in the US’. Don’t give up, surely the rest of the developed world plus can’t all be wrong.
    Just as side note I have chronic health issues and would be totally stuffed but that I live in socia!ist Aus.

  37. 37
    bob h says:

    This lady will make a great 2012 campaign ad for Obama. We will find out whether the five shitheads on the Court are shameable at all.

  38. 38
    Honey Ryder says:

    Sent in a donation for Natalie. The Balloon Juice community is the best.

  39. 39
    MomSense says:

    @General Stuck #20

    The other problem with “some on the left” who were bashing the ACA because of the individual mandate is that they were so focused on people buying insurance that they refused to pay attention to the medical loss ratio provision in the PPACA.

    It is significant because it regulates what constitutes patient health care (lobbying, commissions, marketing, salaries, admin costs are NOT included) and says that insurance companies have to pay 80% (for a smaller insurance co.) or 85% (for a larger insurance co.) on actual medical care to patients. This is huge!! Insurance companies will not get rich in fact they are so inefficient that they will have a hard time meeting this requirement. If they do not comply with the medical loss ratio, they will have to issue rebate checks to their customers. This took effect on Jan 1 of this year. It is a big effing deal.

  40. 40
    Ruckus says:

    @General Stuck (on self glorifiication):
    There are indeed more than a few. Some of them didn’t make it. My sister is one. Unable to afford health insurance she was late diagnosed with breast cancer. She fought hard for almost six years before she passed away. Her mother has lived almost 50 years after being diagnosed, but she had health insurance and care. Mom got to see her daughter die on her 90th birthday.

  41. 41
    Older says:

    @Mary G: I talked to a woman recently whose daughter has some kind of dreadful but treatable condition and no insurance. I mentioned the new health care insurance law and she just about blew my ear off. She’s agin it. Sure, it covers pre-existing conditions. But her daughter can’t afford the premiums. And that is the President’s fault!!! Fortunately I was able to escape before getting involved in a no doubt lengthy discussion of whether the premiums would be more expensive than the treatment.

  42. 42
    ABL 2.0 says:

    @General Stuck (on self glorifiication):

    It has turned me into something of a hermit, from once being a highly social person.

    for me, this is the worst part. i used to be ridiculously social. now my friends are confused that i don’t seem to want to hang out with them as much anymore, and the old “it’s not you, it’s me” line seems so cliche.

    ah well. c’est la vie!

  43. 43
    ABL 2.0 says:

    @Honey Ryder: thank you so much.

  44. 44
    dcdl says:

    Good luck with your surgery and recovery.

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