My Uncle was a good man. He was loyal to his wife and patiently cared for her quadriplegic son. He was Christian in the old fashioned sense of being kind and generous. He worked hard as a appliance repair man, and his customers trusted him. He was quiet and gentle and loving. And he died six months ago.
My uncle never thought to take care of himself. He had been in pain for years, but didn't bother to have it checked out. When it became too much to bear, his wife took him to the emergency room. They told him he had cancer. That it filled his entire abdomen. That he had less than a month to live.
And then they told him they could not help him, that he should just go home and wait to die. You see, my uncle's insurance, which he had paid into for decades, saw no point in paying for care for a man who could not be saved. And he was a bit too young for Medicare. The hospital wouldn't be paid, so there was nothing they were willing to do. He went to a second hospital, and was told the same thing. He wasn't offered any additional effort, any hospice, any real help at all.
His wife was heartbroken and terrified. She had NO idea how to take care of him. What would he need? How would they deal with the pain? Was there absolutely nothing that could be done? Panicked, she got on the phone and called the local teaching hospital, and they, thank the gods, knew what to do.
They put her in touch with a patient advocate, who convinced the insurance company that they damn well were going to pay for whatever he needed. The advocate arranged to have him admitted to the teaching hospital and to have appropriate tests done. When their last ditch efforts were clearly failing, she arranged for him to have the equipment and medication he needed at home. She educated his caregivers. She let them know they were not alone.
My aunt was told that this advocate position was created by Obamacare. Most of my family is conservative, but not at all politically aware. They had thought that Obamacare was something to fear. Now they know better.
My Uncle died at home, with his family, in no pain, with no fear. His last actions were to give a thumbs up to his brother and say, "I'm good". That wouldn't have happened without that advocate's loving work. And that is now what Obamacare means to my family.
Mark E. Anderson wrote a diary today about his first experience with Obamacare being a free physical. When I read it, I knew I had to share my experience. I hope others will continue the trend. This program is about to change our lives. We should document the experience.
No matter what else the President does or does not do, I will always be grateful for this.