This Is Not a Matter of Politics, It's a Matter of My Life and My Daughter's Life

Lauren Nelson
Wheaton, IL
United States

A few years ago, after a decade of struggle, I finally had the words to describe why I so often felt like a spectator in my tumultuous life: rapid cycling bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and symptoms of PTSD. Though the road to a workable solution was bumpy (to say the least), my healthcare team and I finally found the right combination of medication and therapy. As a single mom, that combination is crucial not only to me, but my young daughter.

This solution, however, is only possible because of the ACA. Without insurance, just one of my three daily medications costs $950 a month. With the ACA, it costs $60 a month. Huge difference, right?

Even with the ACA, my insurance as a single mother is three times the rate of my also single sister. The key difference is my diagnoses. Without the ACA, I might have lost my insurance by now and had a difficult time finding new coverage.

Much has been said about the fact that the recent replacement proposal from the GOP will preserve the current requirement that insurance companies not deny people coverage for preexisting conditions. They point to subsidized "high risk" pools in the bill that are supposed to help people who cost insurance companies more. I have no idea if that will include someone like me, but even if I'm allowed in those pools, it won't matter.

Why? Because the proposed subsidization is so low it won't make enough of a difference.

Under the proposed replacement, even in one of those pools, I'm likely to pay more than $700 a month for insurance. Remember: ONE of my medications is $950 a month without insurance. I can't afford that. But if my insurance, which is sure to be skimpy because I'm "high risk," is $700 a month, between that and my prescriptions and my therapy I'll be back at that unaffordable $950 a month healthcare bill.

Untreated mental illness too often becomes a terminal illness. This is not a matter of politics. This is a matter of my life, and my daughter's life.