Why I need Obamacare

I'm sick, and I will be for the rest of my life. Knowing I won't be denied the insurance I need matters

Topics: Healthcare Reform, Supreme Court, ,

This originally appeared on Cedar Burnett's Open Salon blog. It was written in a response to a call for essays about people's personal experiences with the Affordable Care Act. Have an Obamacare story of your own? Blog about it on Open Salon.

Dear healthy people,

It’s great that you’re deriving intellectual pleasure from debating Obamacare. I love that this theoretical dance you’re engaged in has no repercussions to you, a healthy individual. I would love to join you some evening for a spirited discussion on the pros and cons of healthcare reform. Maybe over a glass of wine? Heck — over two or three glasses of wine. I’d love to lean forward, my arched brows furrowed, my full lips purple with the stain of a good Zinfandel, and throw out statistics and well-crafted one-liners about the plight of the uninsured, the underinsured, the sick. Those poor, poor sick.

But I can’t.

I can’t because it isn’t theoretical. I am sick. I’m so sick I can’t drink. I can’t drink and I can’t eat half the things a normal person eats and when I hear the word “Obamacare” hissed in snide derision I want to put a golf club through the windshield of the nearest Mercedes-Benz.

I’m 33 years old. I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called ulcerative colitis when I was 26.

Ulcerative colitis isn’t a disease people like to discuss. Most of what we experience is so embarrassing that many of us don’t tell people what we’re going through. We might tell you we’re “sick,” or “under the weather,” but we won’t tell you how bad it is. We won’t tell you we’ve had constant diarrhea for days, weeks, months on end, that we’ve been throwing up stomach acid, that we can’t eat anything but bagels, and that our joints ache so badly it’s hard to sleep. We won’t tell you how we’re wearing adult diapers under our clothes. We won’t tell you that getting in the car and driving three blocks away is the only activity we can do in an entire day.

But you know what we will tell you? We have to have insurance. We need healthcare and support because ulcerative colitis is a lifetime sentence. You know what else it is? A preexisting condition. Since receiving my diagnosis I have lived in fear of losing my insurance because if I let my insurance lapse, and Obamacare fails, I won’t be able to get it again. Ulcerative colitis and her sister, Crohn’s disease, are up there in the echelons of Scary Diseases Insurance Doesn’t Like to Cover.



I get it, I do. Some of our drugs cost a ton. It’s likely we’ll be hospitalized here and there. And many of us can look forward to bowel resection surgery or colon cancer. We’re expensive and we stay expensive for our entire lives. That’s the sticking point with chronic illness like Crohn’s and colitis: We’re sick but we just keep on living. We just don’t die fast enough.

If the health mandate stays, then the preexisting condition clause goes away. Insurance companies have to take everyone — even me. Lose the mandate and I’m right back to worrying about my care.

In truth, I think Obamacare doesn’t go far enough. My family is still coughing up $900 a month to insure the three of us, since my husband and I are self-employed. That’s pretty unsustainable. But at least the current plan includes a provision that insurance companies have to take me. I may have to pay ridiculous sums to keep my insurance, but I’m not going to live in fear of being dropped.

The last thing a sick person should have to worry about is how to pay for their care. The last thing the parent of a sick child or the child of a sick parent should have to worry about is how to pay for care. People should not have to choose between food and medicine, losing their house or losing their loved one. Let’s hold onto Obamacare as a stopgap, but let’s also work toward the goal of universal coverage.

For those of you who think of the healthcare reform debate in theoretical terms, I warn you: Your day is coming. Sure, you and your family are healthy now, but you might not be tomorrow. Sickness can come out of nowhere and knock your world upside down.

You’d better hope you have decent coverage. You’d better hope you’ve won the genetic lottery and you’ll never find yourself sitting in a flimsy hospital gown on a sheet of wax paper, staring down at your unshaven legs while a doctor tells you you have a golf ball-size tumor in your head or ulcers lining your intestines. You’d better hope Obamacare covers your theoretical ass.

Cedar Burnett is a freelance writer and toddler wrangler living in Seattle. She is currently working on a book about living with ulcerative colitis.

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 14
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

    One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

    In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

    Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

    We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

    On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

    Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

    The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

    Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

    While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

    As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

    Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

    Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

    There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>