Doctors and medical students have unique stories to tell. Whether it’s stories about patients lacking adequate health coverage or how you helped create change in their own community—colleagues, elected officials, and the public need to hear these powerful stories. Please share your story with us!
Take a look at stories by other members of Doctors for America!
Dr. Ann's Story (Alabama)
I am a physician and the patient story I share is about myself. I have Common Variable Immune Deficiency and my IV's and meds cost more than $6000/month. I have a $200,000 lifetime maximum coverage which will soon run out. If that happens, I cannot possibly pay for the medication and will simply risk life-threatening infectious disease which will keep me from practicing anymore. With the health reform, my lifetime maximum will be eliminated and I will be able to continue to work in a medically underserved community.
Dr. Donald Steinmuller's Story (Illinois)
Let's tell our patients and friends and co workers and family how important this bill is to us and to everybody in this country.
My patient is on dialysis waiting for a kidney transplant for many years. He was generously approached by a friend who expressed a willingness to donate her kidney. The transplant center provided her with an informational consent brochure. One of the potential "complications" of donation is the inability to get insurance subsequent to donating her kidney (she would have the "pre-existing condition" of a nephrectomy - one kidney removal). The potential donor was very concerned about the ramifications to her of this policy.
My patient has been an outspoken critic of the health care bill on my weekly rounds and we often share respectfully our different opinions. When he told me this development in his quest for a successful kidney transplant and hopefully a return to a more normal lifestyle for him and his wife and young children, I realized my opportunity. "You know Jim the new health care bill eliminates this possibility by not allowing insurance carriers to use these pre existing conditions to affect insurability and your transplant center will tell your potential donor this and this provision is going into effect." He smiled and thoughtfully commented, "Maybe I need to reconsider my opinion of this bill." I nodded in agreement.
Dr. Peter McGough's Story (Washington)
I am a family physician at the Univ of Washington.
I have had several student patients who were able to get coverage through their parents plan because of the expansion to age 26. This has been an enormous relief/benefit both to the parents and the students.
This will also soon apply to our daughter, who is a senior in college.
Dr. Ryan Buchholz's Story (Virginia)
I am an internist and pediatrician who lives in Falls Church, Virginia, and I work in a community health center in Washington, DC.
My patient Joseph was suffering in his health in the midst of the economic downtown. In fact, he was working but poor -- lacking private insurance because he is self-employed as a mortgage broker, yet poor because business has been slow over the last two years. At the same time, his income was slightly too high for him to qualify for Medicaid.
All the while, he has been suffering from diabetes and hypertension. Indeed, for months Joseph has had significant difficulties obtaining his medications without either private insurance or Medicaid. As of July 1st, 2010 he was upgraded to Medicaid because of health reform, and he now has a much easier time obtaining his medications. No longer does he have to worry about where his next month's supply of medications will come from
Editor's Note: Most of the people who will be newly eligible for Medicaid due to health reform will need to wait until 2014, although states have the options to start the Medicaid expansion early. Health care advocates have also been working to ensure that there is adequate federal assistance for state Medicaid programs that are struggling in the current economy.
Dr. David D'Alessio's Story (Ohio)
I am a University professor and clinical endocrinologist.
A young patient, and new parent, has been followed in our clinic for a heritable syndrome of endocrine cancer for 8 years. There is active but stable disease. This patient recently lost their job . . . and insurance. Monitoring of patients with this condition is essential, but since losing insurance coverage some symptomatic treatment has been deferred. This person is now virtually uninsurable. At best their health care is now compromised because we can waive our clinic fees but laboratory and other diagnostic costs must be paid out of pocket.
Editor's Note: Starting in 2014, insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny people coverage for pre-existing conditions. In the meantine, people with pre-existing conditions like this woman can currently qualify for a high-risk insurance plan, although they have to wait until they have been without coverage for 6 months.
Dr. Thomas Connally's Story (Virginia)
I am a retired general internist, but am still active in patient care as a free clinic director and volunteer. I also have published a book on health care for seniors, and am currently teaching a course on health policy to a group of adults in our community.
I was at a meeting of a group of men at an investor's club, and one man said that his wife who suffers from lupus had an enormous rise in her health insurance premium, to slightly over $20,000. He said "the Obama health plan is doing nothing about things like that." I went to great length to correct him, in a courteous manner. I said that extreme cost increases or removal from insurance plans for people with pre-existing conditions was one of the major, and probably the most effective facets of the ACA. I said that it was his wife, and thousands of people, in the exact same situation as his wife that would benefit enormously from the legislation. As I went further into the details he seemed convinced, and backed off his criticism of the legislation.
Editor's Note: Confusion is the norm amongst our communities regarding health reform. The more we can educate ourselves and one another, the better chance we have of making sure we do the right thing.