Pre-existing Condition, 2: Now With a Face: May 5, 2017

Dear Mr. VP,

This is Luke.

Luke is a few months older than G. They like a lot of the same things: Paw Patrol, Cars, firetrucks, pizza. 

Luke was also born with gastroschisis, which means he had a hole in his abdominal wall. His small intestine formed outside his body, and very little blood flowed to the tissue, so it didn’t work.

Guess what else this means?

Luke has a pre-existing condition

This cute kiddo, who had his first surgery at just two hours old, is protected under the ACA. Insurers have to allow him (and his parents) to purchase insurance at the same rate — he can’t be penalized because of his medical condition.

As you can imagine, Luke’s medical care is expensive. He spent 131 days in the NICU. He’s had at-home nursing care. He received intravenous nutrition for much of his life. Because he had a central line, he was a huge risk for infection, which has put him in the hospital numerous times.

Without insurance, my friend Amy, his mom, would. be. fucked. They’d be millions of dollars in the hole. They would have had to make decisions about their child’s life based on what they could afford.

And if insurers can penalize based on pre-existing conditions, Luke is in some trouble. He’s in the highest of high risk pools. Insurance could actually be out of his reach.

So while your colleagues are celebrating, let’s take a minute to remember that the ACA keeps kids from dying because their parents aren’t wealthy. Anyone who celebrates that as a victory is inhuman. They are celebrating keeping this little boy from health care that keeps him alive.


P.S. You can read Amy’s blog about Luke’s medical journey here

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