The health care debate in D.C. isn’t a distant issue for me. I was diagnosed with bladder cancer at six years old. I am a childhood cancer survivor and Ph.D. student in health services and policy at the University of Iowa.
I try my best to take care of myself and keep my follow-up appointments, but there’s nothing I can do about the word cancer in my medical record.
I’m worried about my ability to get insurance at an affordable price and a good level of coverage in the future. Currently, plans cannot be sold if they do not cover certain basic benefits, called Essential Health Benefits (EHB). The current Senate bill would allow plans to be offered that don’t cover EHBs at a reasonable price, meaning I could not rest assured that I would receive basic services, much less the required follow-up for my cancer.
Furthermore, if plans are allowed to vary in their basic provisions, myself and others like me with a pre-existing condition could end up grouped into plans together — this could result in premiums spiraling upward. Plans need a mix of different types of patients with different levels of need to provide for everyone’s care at an affordable price.
I’m asking Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst to consider my situation, and the situation of other cancer survivors, as they make their decisions going forward. I’m counting on them to vote “no” on any legislation that would hurt cancer patients, survivors and others with pre-existing conditions.