Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Broken Hearted Health Care Bill: When 2009 was coming to a close my hopes were high for health care reform, so high that it was almost toxic. I rang in the new year with a kiss from my boyfriend and a dream that when I went back to college in 2010 I would be able to have my driver's license back. But I was wrong. Let me explain.

I don't have a drivers license because I don't have health insurance. In the seventh grade I was diagnosed with a childhood seizure disorder. I take medications to control the seizures, a medication that is supplied to me by a prescription assistance program that I financially qualify for. The state of North Carolina requires a neurologist's clearance for me to obtain my driver's license. The paperwork has to be renewed every two years and when my paperwork came up for renewal two years ago I was without health insurance, so my license was revoked. Attempting to fix the solution I tried to purchase the most basic health insurance coverage but because I have a pre-existing condition my premiums were outrageous. A monthly payment over $300 is not in my budget. It is just not possible. So when there was talk that the reform would mandate insurance companies to extend the age limit for students from 24 or 25 to 27 and only require half-time enrollment, instead of the full-time requirement, I thought this would be my answer. I was returning to NC State as a part-time student working on my second degree.

As March comes to a close and my 26th birthday approaches in April I will keep my head buried in my chemistry books because the health care bill that passed has left me with a broken heart. NPR reports that the bill extends the age to 26, one year less than the predicted age of 27, and the earliest reported date that the reform will come into effect is September, five months after my birthday. So for me it's back to saving money. The lowest quote for a neurologist appointment starts at $150 and can easily cost twice that. The necessary EEG, a routine test used to asses epilepsy, starts at $850 and can shoot upwards of $2,000.

Back to the music, cue "What Becomes of The Broken Hearted," by Jimmy Ruffin