My Letter to Sen. David Perdue
Dear Senator Perdue:
On a Sunday afternoon in May of 2015, my wife’s water broke. Though most expecting couples are excited by the imminent arrival of their child, we were terrified. She was only 30 weeks pregnant with another 10 to go. We raced to the hospital, where she was admitted and stayed for three weeks on bed rest until our son arrived on May 20, weighing only four pounds.
Luckily for us, our son’s birth, despite coming seven weeks early, was relatively free of complications. His oxygen tube was removed the morning after he was born, and he breathed well on his own. But before he could come home, he had to gain weight and meet several other benchmarks. For the next month, he remained in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, under the watchful and expert care of a team of nurses and doctors.
Fortunately, all of us had health insurance. My wife was a teacher and I was a school administrator. When we were finally allowed to bring Asher home on June 16, we had amassed more than $500,000 in medical bills. (Please bear in mind, this was an uncomplicated premature birth. Newborns with more complications, such as the boy described here, cost much more.) Our insurance covered every last penny. Free of the need to worry about medical bills that easily spiraled well beyond our ability to pay, we were able to focus on the most important thing: helping our son grow stronger and healthier.
Before the Affordable Care Act, our insurance might have placed lifetime and annual limits on care. Imagine for a moment the confusion, stress, and pain it would cause frightened parents of a premature baby to learn that they had “hit” their insurance coverage limits before they even come home from the hospital. Do you believe it is right for families to face financial ruin because their children needed urgent medical attention? How are parents to provide for a loving, stable family life if they are bankrupted by out-of-control medical bills before they even get home? How are children to grow into productive members of our society if their parents must choose between care for conditions like asthma and paying their mortgage?
I cannot understand the considerations by which you have determined this legislation to be something you can “live with” according to the AJC. Millions of people will lose their Medicaid coverage. Those on the individual market will face higher premiums, receive less support, and shoulder higher deductibles. Even those on employer-based insurance like us will grapple with the possibility the care we need is deemed no longer “essential” and subject to limits designed to maximize insurance company profits. Meanwhile, those companies get to write off executive salaries, and tanning salons get a tax break.
You were sent by Georgians to represent their interests in the United States Senate, not industry or ideology. Please consider the human toll your “yes” vote will have on real families and vote no on the Senate healthcare bill.