The latest Quinnipiac Poll indicates that 52% of those polled want the Affordable Health Care Act to be repealed:
46. Do you think Congress should try to repeal the health care law, or should they let it stand?
Tot Rep Dem Ind Men Wom Wht Blk His
Should repeal it 52% 88% 19% 50% 58% 46% 58% 24% 44%
Should let it stand 39 8 71 38 36 41 34 68 42
DK/NA 10 5 11 12 6 13 9 8 14
To me, these are not just poll numbers. They represent a threat to my life--and although you may not yet know it--perhaps you or your loved ones. Let me explain.
Last fall, I went in for a routine colonoscopy at a small local gastro-intestinal clinic. After the procedure, the doctor excused himself and came back a few minutes later to ask that my wife come into the examination room to join us. He informed us that I had an unusual number of polyps in my colon and rectum, that it might be necessary for me to have a total proctocolectomy, and that he also recommended that I get a genetic test to determine whether I had a type of familial polyposis that had a near 100% risk for cancer. He then told me, "Two years ago I would not have advised you to get a genetic test. But with ObamaCare, now you can't be denied coverage if you change jobs. Otherwise, I would have been afraid to even suggest this."
I decided to go get the genetic testing at a major cancer center with a very distinguished medical school. The doctors there advised a second colonoscopy--and this time, they detected a cancerous polyp in the middle of my rectum. The genetic test uncovered that I had a relatively rare condition called MYH Associated Polyposis, confirming the hypothesis of my local gastroenterologist. The pathway was clear--radiation, chemotherapy and then proctocolectomy--removal of my entire colon and rectum. I will have this procedure next Friday.
If I had not had this second set of tests, I would have definitely delayed any surgery, as I was feeling fine. But thanks to ObamaCare, I got the additional tests that I would have never known about. Like many thousands of men who die from colon cancer, I would have likely avoided getting treatment for what seemed to be a minor problem.
So for me, seeing this Quinnipiac Poll is not just another set of numbers I can choose to accept or reject on an intellectual basis. It makes me wonder how many other men and women out there in our nation unknowingly suffer from what I have and how many would become victims of the knee-jerk radical Republican ideology should President Obama be defeated this fall. We have work to do--even 19% of Democrats want this health care law to be repealed, if Quinnipiac is to be believed.
ObamaCare saved my life. And I hope it will continue to save the lives of millions in the years to come.
Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 5:47 PM PT: UPDATE: It's nine days after surgery for me, and although I am still in the hospital, I am making steady progress. I am getting the best care in the world--so I will do fine--but I worry about all those millions who still can't get this same quality, depth and caring. I will not rest until we reach that day. The question is not simply access to the care itself--I see many low-income patients here at this incredible health care center. Another major question is how do we ensure that the level of quality at other places is just as good. This means investing billions in health care training, research, equipment and infrastructure. This is critical and it is one big reason why the GOP tax cut disciples are so bloody wrong. We need to create a mass movement around issues of health care quality like we have never seen before.