Stories About the Value of Medicare
N.S., Arizona - Don't Change Medicare!
MY husband was diagnosed with 2 kinds of cancer. We had private insurance. We paid nearly $180,000 out of pocket between deductibles, not covered, premiums and travel over about 8 yrs until he went on Medicare which now pays everything. He still has cancer and is in a clinical and on a med that keeps his cancer from spreading. He will need it for the rest of his life. His quality of life is great!
Without Medicare we would be bankrupt in 4 yrs and he would still have cancer AND unable to get treatment. Thankfully President Obama prevented changes to Medicare.
C.C., Iowa - Medicare Saves Lives
In early 2000, Edward, who was then 60 years old, applied for Social Security Disability. Despite having suffered from bipolar disorder for nearly 40 years, Edward had earned a PhD, but was not able to hold a job. While the Social Security Disability was economically important, becoming eligible for Medicare allowed him to access what would become life-saving, preventive medical benefits. Although Edward’s father died as a result of metastatic colon cancer, Edward had not been able to afford a colonoscopy. He was not eligible for any state medical assistance. When Edward first became eligible for Medicare, he had his first colonoscopy which revealed a large polyp. According to Edward’s gastroenterologist, “that polyp would have been cancerous within a year.” Medicare kept Edward cancer free and likely saved his life.
J.D., Washington - Medicare Can Make Some of the Hardest Things a Little Easier
In 2005 my husband was diagnosed with ALS. ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease…or “the Ice Bucket Challenge” disease…remember last August when everyone was dumping ice over their heads? That was for ALS.
ALS is a horrible disease where the nerve cells that tell the muscles to move, stop working, resulting in complete paralysis. When my husband was no longer able to work due to his paralyzing ALS, he applied for his Social Security Disability and Medicare.
I was very leery about “entering the system” and having Medicare provide for my husband’s medical care needs. I’ll be totally honest here…we were both pleasantly surprised! Yes, there were wait times, and yes some denials, but we were also given great guidance on how to work through issues. Nine times out of ten, what we needed was delivered as expected.
One choice people living with ALS must make is deciding to go on an invasive ventilator. A vent is needed when the diaphragm muscle becomes too paralyzed for someone to breathe on their own, and the ventilator breathes for them.
My husband chose against the invasive ventilator, and opted for Hospice care. Upon entering Hospice care, that’s when we noticed the most benefit. We had care and medications coming to us. I didn’t need to spend my energy dealing with ordering meds, equipment, or coordinating care. That was all provided for us, through our Medicare benefits.
With a disease like ALS, everything about it is hard. Nothing is easy. But, Medicare helped make a horrible disease a bit easier.
D.C, California - Medicare to the Rescue
Last October I awoke early one morning with a severe pain radiating from my abdomen to my back. I had never had a pain quite like this before. I had recently moved, and my new primary care physician was not available. I had had a gastroenterology evaluation for acid reflux (negative) a few weeks before, so I went to that specialist for the pain and violent nausea. This physician/specialist immediately ordered me into Peninsula Hospital in Burlingame via the Emergency Room.
There I was diagnosed with a ruptured gall bladder, including infection in my pancreas and liver. I had no choice but to spend the next nine or ten days in Peninsula Hospital previous to abdominal surgery combatting the infections in the two vital organs, and post-operative. While there, I decided that I just could not worry about this major expense and prayed that Medicare and my private insurance would cover it. Medicare did come to the rescue and the private insurance did cover a lesser amount.
If Medicare had not been there, I would have been bankrupt in those 10 days of fine medical care. Many times since I have thanked God for Medicare, medical insurance and the many wonderful people who cared for me in this totally unexpected situation. My Medicare… saved my life, and saved me from financial ruin…
I would like to see Medicare for all US citizens, and an insurance program with single payer support. Yes, I would be more than willing to pay more taxes to do this for my fellow Americans.
Let’s support Medicare, not bash and cut it!