Without Obamacare, this North Carolinian would be dead

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When illness caused David Tedrow to quit his job, he needed healthcare but didn’t know how he could pay for it. Fortunately due to the Obamacare subsidies, he pays only $126 a month for a plan that would have cost over $500, something he couldn’t afford. His insurance paid for the entire cost of the liver transplant that saved his life. 

Now the Supreme Court is threatening to strike down all subsidies to people who are using the Federal Healthcare Exchange. Since Governor McCrory refused to create our own marketplace, North Carolinians like David are forced to go to the Federal Exchange. From the Washington Post article about David's story,

The Obamacare subsidies saved my life. Now, I’m scared the Supreme Court is going to gut them.

In 2010, at 54, I was diagnosed with non-alcoholic cirrhosis (end-stage liver disease). It’s debilitating, and a transplant is the only cure.

At that time, I owned a jewelry store with my wife in Pawleys Island, S.C. On weekends we would meet friends, walk on the beach and join in community events.  My wife and I would travel regularly to see our daughters and take annual vacations.  We enjoyed a rich and full life.

The disease quickly robbed me off all that. One of my first symptoms was an accumulation of ammonia in the brain. I became highly forgetful — I forgot how to get out of a car and how to answer the phone. I couldn’t remember how to make change for customers. One day, I tried to go home from work and got lost.

As the disease worsened, I tried to make the best of it. My wife and I were lucky to have private insurance for high-risk patients. It cost $2,000 a month with a $5,500 deductible. That cost was high, but we didn’t have any other choice. My liver ailment and diabetes were pre-existing conditions that would have made it impossible to find a new plan.

I stopped working at the store in November 2012. My life was a roller-coaster ride of monthly blood transfusions, hospital admissions, severe memory loss and the loss of my ability to drive. I slept most of the time and depended on my wife for all of my care. We would drive 3.5 hours to Duke Medical Center several times a month for transfusions.

Treating my condition eventually took up so much time that we closed our store. In June 2013, we sold our home in Pawleys Island and moved to Durham, N.C.

In October 2013I got a letter from my insurance company telling me that my existing high-risk insurance would be ending effective Dec. 31, 2013.  I was told that if I wanted continued medical insurance, I would have to find another provider.

I was terrified. At this point, I was so ill that my wife had to be a full-time caregiver for me. We were living on my Social Security Disability check, a drastic change in income for both of us. We could not afford the hundreds of thousands of dollars a liver transplant would have cost. And without insurance, I would have been dropped from the transplant list. I would have died.

My old insurer suggested we sign up for the Affordable Care Act exchange. So I called. The process was messy and frustrating. The Web site crashed; it took days to sign up, and countless phone calls. But eventually, I managed to enroll.

On Jan. 1 this year, I started on the Obamacare insurance. I now pay just $126 a month for insurance; a federal government subsidy covers the rest. If we had to cover the full cost of our health care, we would have just $574 left each month for all of our other expenses, including food and medicines.

At the same time, my conditioned quickly worsened. I was in constant pain, had no energy due to blood loss, had no appetite, couldn’t hold any food down, developed stomach swelling and was hospitalized twice for peritonitis. I was unable to walk unassisted and suffered from extreme confusion.

By April, I was dying. Then, miraculously, on April 3, a liver became available. I was given a second chance. I had the liver transplant, and my insurance covered the entire cost of the procedure.

Comments

  1. JC's avatar
    JC
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    I'm a self-employed Type 1 Diabetic with some neurological issues (which is why I am self-employed -- hard to find a full-time job when you have to lay down occasionally throughout the day). I've lived in Raleigh for 8 years. Before ACA, I spent nearly $800 a month on premiums for my BCBS policy. It had a cap of $2,000 for prescription coverage. I met that most years in July and then, after that, had to pay out of pocket for 100% of my insulin and blood test supplies. That's more than $500 a month.<br /> <br /> Due to ACA, my old plan was cancelled. Good news for me. My new plan, also through BCBS, is MUCH BETTER. Same doctors, better coverage. When July came around this year and I went to refill my prescription for insulin... the charge was $ZERO. Has been each month since.<br /> <br /> ACA will save me about $8,000 this year. To me, that's life-saving.<br /> Like · Reply · 9 · Yesterday at 12:04pm<br /> John Blake They do and there will be HELL to pay<br /> Like · Reply · 2 · Yesterday at 11:47am<br /> Wayne Harp These Republicans really don't care about anything or anyone. They only want to discredit Obama any way they can.<br /> Like · Reply · 1 · 20 hours ago<br /> Bev Veals I know the feeling. I am a 3x, two type of advanced cancer survivor. For the last 16 years, medical debt has drained us. I went 3 years with no insurance and no doctor visits. Even when bitten by a black widow during the uninsured period. I endured. Soon after getting covered through the federal option, I was diagnosed with Stage IIIc colon cancer after had survived stage IV breast cancer. My premiums pre Obamacare, and why I "lost" it were $1,700/month with a $5,000 deductible. We were in Colorado by that time and when we moved back to NC after losing our home, BCBS wanted $2,200/month to insure me. Laughable! My husband and I do not qualify for subsidies and premium was $450/month and my deductibles and out of pocket were $9,000 last year because McCrory didn't continue with the federal option and now, $7,000 with a $1,100/month premium for our family of four. For the 1st time in YEARS, we were able to get my kids insurance. I feel blessed to be able to do this. And to have it available. I sucks getting sick in America. It really does. I have a good friend I just ended the relationship with because she voted for the ones wanting to end affordable care. I think it's worth it. To me, she is cheering on people being loaded into box cars to head to uncertainty. No different in my opinion.<br /> Like · Reply · 3 · Yesterday at 12:49pm<br /> Jon Popowski ACA has really helped my daughters who had BS "pre-existing conditions"<br /> Like · Reply · 14 hours ago<br /> Dan Mackey will save Republicans from trying to suppress his vote next election<br /> Like · Reply · 16 hours ago
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