Those Who Claim to Belong to Jesus Act the Least Like HIm

Heather Brown
Summerdale, AL
United States

I have not had health insurance in 12 years. It’s been a rough 12 years. My husband was declared disabled in 2004, and I lost my coverage as did he. At the time it was more important my husband had coverage than myself. He is diabetic with sugar running 1000 mg/dl(normal range is 80-120 mg/dl) at the time of his diagnosis. He has diabetic neuropathy, high blood pressure, thyroid issues, he’s had laser surgery on his eyes for diabetic retinopathy and is currently in end stage 3 kidney disease. This doesn’t include all the wound care I do at home as he can’t feel when he injures himself and most times he has no idea it’s not “feeling” right. Within two years he was collecting Social Security and qualified for Medicare, which he has to pay around $300 a month to have. Our three children were able to use Medicaid. Fast forward a few years and our oldest child aged out of Medicaid, but I thought ACA would be the hope we needed.

Instead, we have been told we qualify for no subsidies and the rates we are quoted are well out of affordable range for my family. We make $1,500 a month roughly; some months it’s more if my self-published novels sell well on Amazon. But $500 a month premium for my daughter and I is just not feasible. It’s frustrating not to qualify. Of course, I do not pay the tax penalty either because shocker ... I don’t make enough money.

I have not had a gynecological exam in 12 years, knowing that I have uterine fibroids, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Adenomyosis (this makes for a painful monthly cycle every month because of incomplete shedding of the uterine lining, so it builds up on the back side of my uterus) and have medically needed a hysterectomy since I was 24 but was told by my doctor she wouldn’t touch me until I was 30 for a hysterectomy. By age 30 I no longer had health coverage and was unable to have a much-needed hysterectomy.

I have metal screws in my jaw from an orthodontic surgery at age 15. In the last two years, they have caused a massive infection and deformity on my outer jaw and eventually a metal screw worked it’s way out through the gum inside my mouth. I need this checked and fixed as well, but I can’t afford the fees the original surgeon is charging for a consultation.

The state of Alabama is one of the poorest in our country, and yet it has the least affordable health care options, and you can forget Medicaid; you literally have to make nothing to qualify in the state of Alabama. So, here I am, in desperate need of medical care that I cannot receive because I don’t have insurance and can’t qualify for affordable insurance.

Our 20-year-old daughter goes to school full time and has work study through school. She doesn’t get benefits nor could she afford them if she did. Oh, and let’s not forget the government still considers her our full-time dependent. She has severe allergies and asthma, which is being left untreated. Thankfully we have only had one major flare up in the year and a half she has not been covered by Medicaid.

ACA helps millions of Americans, and although I’m frustrated it did not help our family, I viewed it as a stepping stone to one day eventually finding a health care solution inclusive of all Americans.

Insurance companies and their greed have caused the monthly premiums and deductibles to sky rocket. Even when I have attempted to get insurance without using the ACA website, I can’t afford the quoted premiums and deductibles. Our healthcare system is weak when compared to many other nations who offer a single payer option or equivalent. I have a friend in Australia who is horrified when I explain how our system works she told me she was thankful she lived in Australia when her daughter at age one was diagnosed with cancer. Her daughter’s treatment was covered under the national healthcare plan at no cost to the family.

ACA may not work for everyone, but the fact more people had insurance was a positive step forward. The solution for an inclusive healthcare system is not in repealing ACA, but rather in fixing the deficits of ACA. It’s time those of us living in poverty, through no choice of our own, are not treated like we are less human by our government.

Recently, I shared a photo on my Facebook profile, and it was a bit of a social experiment in itself. I know I have a lot of Trump supporters and right-wing Christian people as friends and family — I am in the South after all. But you know who showed kindness, compassion, and offered their assistance? A woman I haven’t met, wanting to help set up a go fund me once I found a surgeon willing to help me: The “liberal left wing nut jobs,”as they are so rudely called. They are the ones who stepped up and offered advice (sound advice), had compassion, and a number of them are Christians, but a number are also an atheist. It’s left me completely perplexed that those who claim to belong to Jesus act the least like him when it comes to compassion and kindness.

I pray daily that God will help me discern the solution to my family’s healthcare needs. I know he will not forsake me. However, I don’t trust my government is working for me or the rest of the American people anymore.