I Had to Return Home from the Mission Field for Surgery. I Don't Know What to Do I Can't Access ACA.

Rev. Debbie Blane
Issaquah, WA
United States

I am a Presbyterian minister (PC(USA)). I was a missionary in China, Sudan, and South Sudan for nine years until August of 2015 when I had to return to the United States from Juba, South Sudan to have a hip replacement surgery.

Six weeks after my hip replacement surgery I stumbled and fell. The fall ripped the hip replacement as it had not fully healed yet and my femur bone was broken. I have been on disability for the past year.

I have a number of pre-existing conditions. I have had cataract surgery, I have high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I have obstructive sleep apnea and I now have the aftermath of two surgeries within six weeks of each other to deal with.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has paid for my medical coverage while I have been on disability. I am working with a primary care doctor on regaining health and working towards strength and well being.

When I am removed from disability in the foreseeable future, I will have to provide for my own health care. I live in the Seattle area and do not foresee finding a “call” (employment) in my field that would provide health care. I will become a low-income person. This was fine when Hillary was going to win the election and I was going to be able to be on the Affordable Care Act. Having returned from the mission field because my body is no longer capable of living in the primitive circumstances of South Sudan, I choose to live now near my daughter, son-in-law and baby granddaughter so that I have support; as well as within the church community.

I do not qualify for subsidized senior housing while I am on disability because I have two small sources of income that will continue, thankfully, when the disability is gone. At that point I believe that I will qualify for the senior housing. I am facing a scary scenario at this point. If the ACA is repealed and pre-existing conditions are no longer covered, unless through employer insurance, then I will likely be forced to purchase PC(USA) insurance for about $900 a month, until I qualify for Medicare, if that still exists in four years.

IF we Democrats are somehow able to defeat the Republican desire to strip citizens of an ability to afford health care, one of the further things I have noticed as I listen to political points of view is a desire to keep people on ACA that are currently on it. NOTHING has been mentioned about people that may need to go on it in the future. At this point Macy’s is laying off about 10,000 workers and Sears is laying off as well. This isn’t just about me; what is going to happen to all of us? 

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