UPDATE: Yesterday, Tami G. was asked to introduce the President before his remarks in Denver. If you haven't seen it yet, check out Tami's story about finding health care through the Affordable Care Act and this photo of her hugging the President.
In "Health Care at Home", we explore how Coloradans across the state have benefited from reforms set in place by the Affordable Care Act. Tami G., an independent mediator in Mancos, shares her story about how getting insurance through a high-risk pool established by the Affordable Care Act saved her time, money and stress.
Tami G. wasn't supposed to get sick. A resident of Mancos, a small town in Southwest Colorado with a population of under 2000, she was an independent event producer and mediator in good health. She was physically fit and made sure to eat carefully. But in December of 2011, her doctor told her she had uterine cancer, a rare form of cancer for her age and profile.
"Uterine cancer was the last thing I expected to deal with in my life. When I was diagnosed, I didn't have health insurance because I worked for myself and couldn't afford it. I knew I immediately had to start finding a solution."
It was clear from her doctors that treating her cancer without health insurance would be extremely stressful and expensive. With pre-treatment visits, surgery and radiation, they estimated the costs of her care at $80,000 to $100,000.
"I seriously considered delaying my treatment and trying non-medical remedies because of the cost. There was no way I could incur that debt and the stress would be terrible."Finding Treatment through Health Care Reform
That's when someone mentioned the high-risk pools established by the Affordable Care Act. She immediately went to healthcare.gov, where she was able to find GettingUSCovered, a health insurance plan for uninsured Coloradans with medical conditions. Such high-risk pools help people across the country get affordable care despite having illnesses or pre-existing conditions.
"The process was completely straight forward and easy. I applied and was accepted, and my coverage started in October. Everything I had to do to get better was covered. I was really able to focus on getting better without worrying about bills or spending hours on the phone with a company."
Fortunately, Tami is better now and has returned to her normal way of life. She insists that without the Affordable Care Act, her illness would have been devastating to both her health and finances. Simply put, Tami believes health care is a right that should be afforded to all Americans.
"We need to protect this reform because everyone gets sick, whether you're a Republican or Democrat, Independent or don't care about politics. Access to good and affordable care is a human right."
If you want to protect health care reform, get involved in the campaign today by signing up for an event in your community or sharing your story about how you or someone you know has benefited from the Affordable Care Act with OFA Colorado.