As a mom to four kids, health care is an important factor when it comes to deciding who is in the White House. In our house, there always seems to be a runny nose or a fever and it’s never just one kid who’s sick. There are the countless prescriptions and what seems like annual visits to the ER.
Fortunately, I’ve never had to think twice about whether we can take a child to the doctor or hospital. We are blessed with excellent health insurance through my husband’s employer. We understand that this is a luxury that many Americans don’t currently have. One of those Americans is my dad.
After my grandmother married a Marine, she brought my dad to the United States from Okinawa when he was just 12 years old.
Now 56, he has spent the last 44 years acclimating himself to the American way and finding his American dream by starting his own business. Being self-employed, the health insurance plan that he is able to afford offers him minimal benefits. He is consistently told that either his health insurance does not cover the procedure he needs, or that he would be better off paying cash. He ends up paying cash most of the time. This is cash that he needs to save for retirement, not health-related expenses.
A few weeks ago, my father headed into the hospital to have exploratory heart surgery. He has a weak heart, and with a history of heart disease in our family, the doctors needed to see what was going on. When he checked in at the hospital registration desk, he was informed that his bill would be $45,000.
While the hospital did negotiate a $25,000 cash discount, this is just the start of the bills for this procedure. The bills for doctor’s visits and prescriptions will soon be coming in—bills that my dad will be paying for years to come.
As my dad laid in the hospital bed, I figured now was the time to speak the typically unspeakable. We talked religion and politics, two subjects that I avoid at all costs when talking to my father, due to our differing opinions. I figured, what better time to tell my dad about God and Obama than when he is facing the uncertain in regards to health. Maybe it was because he was hooked up to an IV and a nervous wreck—but he listened and for the first time I think he actually understood why I believe in Obama. I’m still working on the God thing—baby steps.
While my father’s heart has more testing to endure, I am comforted knowing that he will have access to the health care he needs.
Through President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, my dad will have affordable health insurance. He won’t have to worry about pre-existing conditions nor will he have to pay a co-pay or deductible for certain preventive care services. He will be able to set aside money for retirement.
I tell you about my dad’s situation to help bring light to the positive change President Obama is bringing to America. This isn’t just my Dad’s story—this is the story of thousands of people who will now have access to the health care they need, and a brighter future, thanks to the President.