Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My health care nightmare!

My name is Vicki Nicholls. I was born with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. I have lived through many physical and mental struggles because of this disease. I am now 35 and permanently disabled. I did well in school and became a CPA (certified public accountant). At the age of 27, I needed to have a bi-lateral hip replacement. I tried to keep working until my body succumbed to the inevitable result of this crippling disease stopping me from working. This disease is now attacking not only my joints, but my muscles, ligaments, bones and organs. Most Rheumatoid Arthritis patients are disabled within 10 years of their diagnosis. 2.1 million people have this disease in the US.

Rheumatoid Arhtritis patients have been increasingly discriminated against by private insurance companies. Many insurance policies have a waiver that Rheumatoid Arthritis treatments are not covered. I am now on Medicare and do not worry about being discriminated against because it is a government plan. The part D of Medicare, however, is actually a private component. I use Blue Cross Advantage for part D. All part D policies have a "donut hole" which means after they spend $2,300 on prescriptions they stop covering the patient until they reach $4,100 in prescription costs. So now, I have no drug coverage for brand name drugs. I am in the donut hole. All of the new Rheumatoid Arthritis drugs cost from $1,000 - $3,000 per month. This is not affordable for people who rely on disability income to survive. My disease is progressing faster and I am in need of treatment immediately. This is health care in America.

Without Health Care Reform I will soon need nursing care. This will cost the taxpayers much more than if my medication was covered. Without treatment, many surgeries are soon to come. I already need both my knees operated on as a direct result of me not being able to get the treatment I so desperately need. I live in extreme pain and exhaustion due to not having my treatments. This is my last hope. There are treatments. They are not available, however, for the disabled that need them.

My fellow Americans, please understand health care is a right, not a privilege.

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