Dr. Laura Chalfin, Delhi, NY: A young female patient was working with her husband who had started a new business but was unable to afford medical insurance. She found a lump on her neck, and spent six months hoping it would go away. By the time I saw her, you could see it from across the room. She had Hodgkins disease.
Dr. Robert Luedecke, Helotes, TX: I am a self-employed physician who has some medical problems and so I am aware first-hand of the need for major insurance reform for the uninsured, but also for self-employed people.
Doctors see patients who are self-employed struggle to afford health insurance, but doctors can be self-employed workers themselves. In 2001 there were 3.3 million uninsured self-employed workers in America.
When a business’s success depends on one person, there are no sick days. There’s no wiggle room for getting treatment for a preventable disease. If a controllable disease like diabetes is allowed to spin out of control due to a lack of insurance, work days are missed, profits are lost, income is lost, the possibility of expanding your business is lost, your business can falter, and—most importantly—you risk being one of the 26,100 Americans who die prematurely every year.
Fortunately, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we are working to reduce the number of uninsured self-employed workers in America:
- Depending on your state, you may be eligible to buy small employer health insurance. You can find out if your state qualifies here.
- Not eligible? Don’t worry, you can still benefit from the Affordable Care Act as an individual or family. This means you might qualify for tax subsidies to help pay for a private health insurance plan through your state-exchange, you will receive more benefits and services without co-pay under your new insurance plan, and your insurance company must spend at least 80-85% of premiums on actual health care services, or else you will receive a check in the mail.
- If you have already purchased insurance, you might be able to deduct the cost from your federal taxes. You can find out more here.
We want our self-employed business owners to focus on their business, not whether or not they can afford to go see a doctor. With the Affordable Care Act, our doctors and patients can do just that.
Sign our declaration of support demanding politicians put patients and self-employed workers over politics: www.PatientsOverPolitics.org
Because every 20 minutes, we want a new business, not the premature death of another American.
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