So, today I listened to almost all of the Health Care Reform summit. When it was all over, I kept thinking that there are things I don't think these people get. So, rather than just getting on the internet and bitching about it, I wrote to my statesmen, Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain. This is what I sent them. (note: some things have been removed for protection of privacy)
It is with respect that I send you this email. I have spent much of the day listening to the Health Care Reform summit and I can't help but feel that many of our public servants don't understand what it means to be an American living in this economy.
I am Jamie Wyman.
I have a 4 year old daughter that is beyond precocious, hyper-lexic and looking forward to kindergarten. Next month, her father and I are getting married. Since our daughter, K, was born in 2005, I have been a stay-at-home parent. When I willingly quit my job to take care of my child, I purchased individual health care for her and myself through Aetna. This is more economically sound than adding one or both of us to my fiance's employer-provided insurance, and more responsible than applying for public aid.
When people hear stay-at-home-mom, they often assume that I am living in the lap of luxury and that we have more than enough disposable income to live this lifestyle. I resent that idea, frankly. I work hard at home educating my daughter, taking care of her, working at making the family that those in Washington say is in peril. We are a single-car family and it goes to work with my fiance. Yes, I stay home with my child to be a responsible parent and because the rewards outweigh the risks. However, this is another decision we have made because it is more economically sound for our situation. If I were to go back to work, my salary would wholly go toward child care. I don't see it to be efficient to work so that someone ELSE can take care of my child.
So, this is our living situation. Planning a wedding, tightening belts and trying to keep afloat in this trying economic time.
In the past 6 months alone, Aetna has raised our premiums two times, each an increase of $30. While a $60/month increase to our monthly payments may not seem like much to you or others in Washington, I can assure you that it IS significant.
Allow me to put this into scale.
That $60/month is the same amount we had originally been paying for my healthy daughter. Our premiums are now as if we had another child.
As I say, two increases in 6 months...for the first increase we were given no reason other than it was a statewide hike. This month, the reason is that I am aging from 29 to 30. (Oh the horror!)
Our economic situation still does not give us the ability to put me (or our daughter) on my soon-to-be-husband's insurance plan, however, we cannot jump ship from Aetna no matter how appealing the idea may be.
Because I have not one but two pre-existing conditions. In 2008 I was diagnosed with PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) and have been on medication since. In the summer of 2008 I could barely walk due to a pinched nerve. A battery of tests, doctors visits, spinal injections, multiple medications that rendered me useless to my child and rounds of physical therapy put us into debt. (Aetna didn't cover much at all as our deductible is $5000.) We are still paying off these bills, one bit at a time. At one point, my medications ALONE cost $200/month.
This has all been out of pocket. We received no financial aid from the government, no tax refunds or bailouts. And certainly no help from Aetna. (Our doctors were able to help some, God bless them.)
So, as of next month, our premiums will rise again. And we will find a way to pay it because other companies find my back to be uninsurable.
This is where you come in.
Senator, we NEED health care reform. Our family is a splash in the pan, but we are no different than millions of others. We need help.
You have the opportunity to make that help possible.
Please, reform our health care system NOW.
Thank you for your time.
Jamie Wyman Mesa, AZ
I don't mention anywhere my religious views, my political leanings, my sexual preference or anything else that our society likes to label.
Labels are not what we need right now. We need answers, and we need answers that work for people. Period.
(And yes, I hate Aetna.)