sentinel-stories

Sentinel Story: Michelle, Living With Kidney Failure Under the Shadow of Obamacare

Living With An Illness and the Hazard of Obamacare

For the past three years, Michelle Moore has been on a waiting list for a kidney transplant.  She undergoes dialysis on a regular basis, just to stay alive in the interim.  Waking up, she often wonders how she’ll feel that day.  Some days, she doesn’t feel as well as she’d like.  But she keeps on going, living her life, and waiting patiently.

Michelle Moore_Headshot

Michelle Moore

But her patience is being tested by Obamacare.  She told me:

I have the option of hopefully not dying.  Think about the people who are in the middle of cancer treatment or those who need a heart transplant.  What about them?  Obamacare adds onto the stress they’re already having.

It’s frustrating and terrifying enough having an illness like Michelle’s.  Many Americans can identify with her, while some are blessed with near perfect health.  But illness is part of the human existence.  Accordingly, quality health care is important to every American.

Every one of us can agree that health care is important, but we greatly diverge on the question of how best to achieve that.

Many liberals think a government takeover of health care is the best solution – sadly, that’s why we’re living with Obamacare.  Conservatives know there are better solutions to health care reform, and Michelle knows firsthand why it matters.

Michelle expressed a great degree of dissatisfaction with Washington – with both political parties.  Washington politicians and bureaucrats have proven themselves woefully inadequate to fulfill their most fundamental constitutional duties, evinced by the nearly $17 trillion debt, so one has to wonder why we should trust them to run health care.

Michelle has a doctor, a nephrologist, she likes, and more importantly, over the years she’s suffered from kidney disease, she’s built a relationship of trust with her physician.

That’s where Obamacare comes in and makes things dicey.

Michelle uses the BJC Health Care in Missouri through her husband’s insurance.  She hasn’t lost insurance yet, but this is happening more and more frequently throughout the country.  Think of the 15,000 spouses of UPS employees who will lose their coverage because of Obamacare.

Michelle is concerned she’ll be next.

Unfortunately, BJC Health Care, which is comprised of 13 hospitals and is one of Missouri’s top hospital systems, has been excluded from policies offered by the region’s biggest insurer under the Affordable Care Act, Anthem BlueCross BlueShield.  The network for the Anthem BlueCross BlueShield plans will be sold through Missouri’s Obamacare marketplace.

If Michelle loses her coverage from her husband’s insurance, she could be stuck with Obamacare like millions of other Americans. If she buys an exchange plan, she may have to pay much more to keep her current doctor and hospital.  Kaiser Health news recently reported that many others have similar concerns to Michelle.

Among BJC’s 13 hospitals is Barnes-Jewish Hospital, the area’s premier academic medical center, and it’s the hospital of Michelle’s choice.  She said:

I picked the hospital because of proximity to my home, and the doctor who cares for me on a monthly basis, she recommended Barnes to me, and I want to go with the hospital that she likes because she’s my doctor and I trust her.  Obama said I could keep my doctors and keep my care.  I’m going to be angry if I have to start all over.

Michelle fears what could happen if high co-payments force her to change her hospital and doctor:

If I get off the waiting list at Wash U though BJC, I will have to start over, at the bottom of the list for transplant. And I have already waited almost three years. If I — and possibly thousands of others — have to move to the St. Louis University Hospital list, what does that not only do to my wait time and my care, but what does that do to my health? I will most likely wait over 8 years to get a transplant if that happens.  

She is truly frustrated, like so many others across the country who are coming to find that they can’t keep their doctor.

The biggest frustration is no matter how you slice it with Obamacare, you cannot keep the insurance you have, you cannot keep your doctor, you cannot keep the care you previously received, or your insurance didn’t go down, it went up. 

Refusing to Be Passive About Washington’s Incompetence

Michelle sees that one way or another, almost every American is going to eventually be adversely affected by Obamacare, and that with Obamacare, things haven’t stayed the same or gotten better – they’ve gotten worse.

But she isn’t standing by to watch it happen.  She’s a Heritage Action Sentinel and the Executive Director of the St. Louis Tea Party.  She’s taking a leadership role to help change what she sees as the major problem in Washington:

The majority of Democrats and Republicans are not making decisions that are benefitting Americans.  They all seem to be beholden to big business or special interests.  Even those that give me a glimmer of hope, I worry that they’re going to betray me at some point.

She added:

If Republicans don’t stick to the morals and principles that they claim their party has, what’s the point?  They constantly give it up. We should have never been in this position with Obamacare.  Limiting care is not real reform.  There were real things that could have been done.

It’s so difficult to trust Washington today.  Sadly, with Obamacare, now many of us cannot even keep the doctor we trust.  Michelle’s story demonstrates just how badly Obamacare needs to be stopped and replaced with free market solutions that connect doctors with their patients.

Updated 10/4/13.

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Please Share Your Thoughts
  • The Curmudgeon

    This is a sad reflection of the potential future under this abysmal law. Too bad this isn’t Michael Moore, the irony would be delicious.

  • donaldeljohnson

    As a long-time blogger and opponent of ObamaCare and as someone who has covered hospitals and health insurers since 1976, I can relate to Michelle’s concerns.

    But the author of this piece leaves out important information. Is the lady insured by a big company that will be exempted by ObamaCare for a year? Will that company continue to insure her family directly or have them buy insurance on a private or state exchange?

    Or is her husband’s employer a small company that will be forced to buy health insurance that complies with ObamaCare’s expensive mandated mandates? If so, Michelle has some reasons to be concerned if she can’t afford a more expensive insurance policy. If her family can afford more expensive insurance, that should be their priority.

    Also, is the local Blue Cross plan that excludes her provider the only insurer offered on the Missouri state exchange? Doubt it in St. Louis. There probably are plenty of other insurers her husband can select other than Anthem Blue Cross.

    I tweet daily against ObamaCare and the shutdown. I also tweet and blog against biased reporting and Obama’s efforts to panic the markets, voters and Republicans.

    To be consistent, I have to say this kind of incomplete, scary and politically-motivated story telling only undermines Heritage Action and those of us who are demanding ObamaCare reforms.

    Fight hard. Fight smart. Be responsible. Don’t scare the vulnerable the way Obama does just to win his way. Don’t be a bully.

    • Tanya

      They also forget to mention that kidney failure and dialysis are the ONE disease that instantly qualifies one to be on Medicare, regardless of age, income, etc… So that puts a little different spin on things too. This woman will not go without care.

  • Fedup NH

    Interesting. Imagine if Michelles husband loses his job and they can’t afford the COBRA payments. Once Michelle is dropped from the insurance rosters, will she be accepted by a new company with her pre existing condition? Only with the ACA.

    • wrapture

      Bingo.

  • Henry Walker

    Stop all of the lies about Obamacare, it is helping people. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean that we don’t

  • Z engineer

    The survey isn’t working correctly, If I say No to have I lost my insurance it asks me to describe the plan I’ve lost. If I say yes to have I lost my insurance, it asks me to describe how much my premiums have increased and what reason I was given for why they are increasing. And why is the last question check boxes instead of radio buttons?

  • Atomblasta

    How is the free market solution you are proposing any different than what we have been using as healthcare for decades and decades? If that system has been so great, than why are we having this debate? I’m sorry for all the people in this country who feel that healthcare is a commodity. It isn’t. It is a responsibility. We can’t stand tall and proud in this world as a country and continually throw our citizens health to the corporate wolves who care more about profit than human life. The sad part of all this hate towards Obamacare is that Obamacare doesn’t even go far enough. It is still healthcare run by private insurance companies and treated like a commodity and bought and sold on a marketplace.

    • MotherScones

      We are having this debate because there is a large swath of people who want something paid for by others that they are unable to purchase for themselves. Their inability to purchase medical care, or medical insurance, may be through no fault of their own but that makes it no less true that they want it despite the fact that it will become the financial burden of someone else.

      Medical care usually means that a medical professional is exchanging his/her time to perform a desired service for payment. Since it is a service provided by one person to another it cannot be a right. Declaring a service to be a “right” makes the provider the slave of the recipient.

      “[S]ince the concept of medical care as the right of the patient entails the use or threat of violence against physicians, that concept is anti-mind – therefore, anti-life, and, therefore, immoral.” — Robert Sade, M.D.

  • Tweedy

    I’m sorry, but I’m missing the point. So “fear” of what might happen is her issue? What about the millions of people that have actual damages? What about people that have diseases and have no healthcare? What about the people who don’t go to the doctor because they have no coverage only to find out they have a disease or illness too late? I am truely sorry she has health issues, but we need to look at the big picture. If getting millions of people proper healthcare means some people may have to see a different doctor or wait a little longer, then I say so be it. When did America become a country where only if you have money do you deserve to be healthy?

    • Gary

      I completely agree. The “story” fails to mention that UPS Spouses who don’t have access to employer-based coverage elsewhere will continue to be covered. Fear mongering is a terrible thing

  • Lisa E

    I certainly have sympathy for Michelle’s situation in dealing with kidney disease and dialysis treatment. But t I think this is just another story blaming Obamacare and it is completely…….MISLEADING AND HYPOCRITICAL. First of all, Michelle has to be on MEDICARE—-”A FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PROGRAM CREATED TO TREAT PEOPLE WITH KIDNEY DISEASE.” AND, YES, I have to reiterate a “FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SOCIALISTIC PROGRAM, PEOPLE!!” I can guarantee you that if she did not have this “SOCIALISTIC PROGRAM” (as this article alludes… is so bad) HER DISEASE AND TREATMENT WOULD EVENTUALLY BANKRUPT HER AND HER FAMILY. Do you honestly think ANY Healthcare Organization would want to cover her, ABSOLUTELY NOT. Dialysis is very expensive, thousands of dollars a months to treat one person. So, I don’t think Michelle should blame and criticize FEDERAL GOVERNMENT RAN HEALTHCARE PROGRAMS such as this one that is paying for her treatment and keeping her alive.

  • Jericho7

    Call Medicare what you want, but we the people pay for Medicare every time our paychecks are debited, as well as paying into Social Security every paycheck. If the government had not been stealing from the Social Security fund over these MANY years, the program would NOT be in trouble. If you want to turn your noses up at anything, turn them up at Medicaid, foreign aid, and free EVERYTHING for illegal aliens!