The Affordable Care Act has been upheld by the Supreme Court, even though there was considerable media confusion about that at first. When the first reports came out when the decision was handed down, emotions ran high all across the country — both for those who were praying for it to remain law and for those who had their fingers crossed the conservative court would strike it down. One mom who wasn’t sure what to think, at first. That mother, Sue Wagner, was kind enough to share her thoughts on what this means for her family.
When I first heard the news, I was driving. Diane Rehm was just about to start her morning radio show on Mexican politics when she paused and announced that the decision was out and the Supreme Court had struck down the individual mandate of the Health Care Reform Act.
I was surprised by the tears that sprung into my eyes.
I switched stations and heard that the individual mandate was upheld.
At the next red light, I grabbed my phone and pulled up CNN.com. Overturned.
I wiped my eyes as I drove the few blocks home. When I came in the door, my six-year old daughter happened to be standing right there – the kid who makes this all so very important to me.
I sat down at the computer and pulled up every news and social media site I could think of and quickly learned that the Supreme Court had not overturned the very crucial part of the Health Care Reform Act – the individual mandate. My tears flowed again, this time from relief.
I have been worrying about health insurance for seven years. That is when I learned that the baby girl I was expecting had various chronic and congenital health problems. Since then, I’ve had many sleepless nights fretting first over an employer’s self-paid plan that excluded most of the expensive treatments she needed. Later, I rejoiced when we were offered a new PPO plan that covered the expensive treatments, until I discovered that plan has very limited coverage for most of her basic care and the many doctors she sees on a regular basis. I have worried over every co-pay and medical bill. This year, our share of the premium for that plan nearly tripled.
We pay a lot of money in out-of-pocket medical expenses. It makes things very tight, but I feel fortunate that we have, so far, been able to afford it. We have forgone vacations, flute lessons, ballet class, new clothes and other extras, but we’ve managed.
My biggest fears have been for the future. My daughter will eventually need heart surgery. What happens if she reaches her lifetime maximum benefit? What about when she’s an adult? What if she can’t work full-time? What if she wants to be an artist or a writer? What if she doesn’t marry into good health insurance? How will she be able to afford the medications and preventative care she needs to keep her healthy? The Health Care Affordability Act, thankfully, miraculously answers all those questions for us. It may not make anything more affordable for us in the short term. We will still be scrimping to cover our premiums, co-pays, and out-of-network deductibles. But for the long term? The Health Care Affordability Act may mean the difference between life and death for my daughter, something I have been worrying about since before she was born.
Sue Wagner is a native of the DC area. She went to college in Ohio, but came back after graduating, followed by the boy who would become her husband. She lives inside the Beltway, just down the road from the University of Maryland, and can’t picture ever living outside the bounds of 495.In her former life, she was Metro-riding law librarian. Currently, she is a minivan driving, stay-at-home mom to four kids, two boys and two girls, who keep her on the road, on her toes and, more often than she would like, in the laundry room. In her free time, Sue enjoys drinking margaritas and thinking up ways to stay in shape without actually exercising. She blogs about life and parenthood at Laundry for Six.