Sunday, June 29, 2014

Norah's Story: The Reality of Obamacare

           Norah Lynn Fisher was born on August 14, 2013. From the beginning, Norah has been the sweetest, happiest, most content baby I’ve ever encountered. Everyone who spends time with her from her doctors and family to friends and strangers, talks about her amazing demeanor. She is truly a treasure. This made finding out about her heart conditions all the more devastating and shocking.
Our pediatrician recommended Dr. Farah Garmany, an award-winning pediatric cardiologist, when he heard an irregularity during her first check up.  There are pediatric cardiologists within the same practice, but our pediatrician knew Norah needed the best.  Dr. Garmany was serious, aggressive, and informative from the beginning.  She made no bones about what could happen to our baby.  She proved she was the best; relying on her instincts and then confirming her suspicions with various tests.  Norah was diagnosed with a hole in her heart and Wolff Parkinson White syndrome.  Norah’s heart has extra circuits and will randomly fire off at up to 300 beats per minute during one of her spells.  Dr. Garmany told us that it is not an extremely rare disorder; some people live their whole lives not knowing they have WPW and others die at age 8 leaving behind parents who had no idea. 
Norah was hooked up to monitors overnight and came back for test after test.  While the financial consequences of Norah’s medical issues are a tough burden, the emotional toll is much, much harder.  Every time she naps for more than an hour, every time she is in the middle of playing and suddenly starts screaming, when her feet turn blue or her face turns red; we are constantly panicked.  The silver lining is that our amazing pediatrician helped catch it early and we have (had) full faith in one of the best pediatric cardiologists in the country.
Over the last 6 months, tests and sonograms have confirmed that the hole has closed up on its own! It’s odd to say we were lucky that Norah had a hole in her heart, but that is what led to finding the WPW. She is thriving and has grown into a smart, funny ball of energy, earning her the nickname “Norah the Explorer.” She gives us hope while we await her next round of tests, which were originally scheduled for the first week of June.
In late May, we were notified that because of tripling premiums, my husband’s employer was dropping Cigna for a new insurance. This comes one year after they dropped United Healthcare because premiums were increasing drastically.  United and Cigna are very similar and adequate insurances, however we did lose coverage, options, and our deductible went from one thousand per family member to two thousand per family member.  Out of pocket for our family went from eight thousand to eighteen thousand. 
Last year we lost thousands in out of pocket expenses to keep premiums bearable, this year his employer changed to a policy with fewer doctors.  It should also be said that my husband’s employer is not the bad party here; they’ve increased their contributions every year to reduce premiums as well.  Most employers care deeply about their people, but the tide of Obamacare will be too big to be shielded from. We lost doctors. We lost our most important doctor; Norah lost Dr. Garmany.  We have to start all over; removed from the expert we fully trust. Obamacare has taken away the peace we had knowing our baby had the best care possible.
To Twitter trolls: we do not have Obamacare; we did, in fact, check the coverage; and we do, actually, care about our daughter’s well-being.  We are stuck with one plan, one option, and it is a company that nobody knows.  Even doctors in the network believe that they are not in the network.  We found out in the last week of May that open enrollment ends June 1st with Norah’s looming appointment June 6th.  We searched immediately for our doctors, spent every day writing appeals and trying to get Dr. Garmany and others in the network.  We are the third party, trying to match doctors who have never heard of a sketchy PPO to a PPO that has one person trying to answer the phone for the entire company.  A billing specialist at one of our doctors asked if we were insured with “Uncle Jerry’s Medical Insurance and Tackle Shop.”
Obamacare is the problem. Period. Insurances companies were providing a product that was voluntary to purchase and people bought it willingly and happily.  Some, like my husband, pick one job over another for medical benefits that the company provides.  Medical insurance is a benefit and was a good benefit for us.  Insurance companies must cover their asses because they are now being forced to sell a product they do not want to sell, many times to people who do not want to buy it.  Anyone who cannot find Obamacare at fault for the massive number of families who have lost coverage, doctors, or endured huge increases in premiums and deductibles is in denial or in need of strong medication. 
I want to shed light on my problem because there are millions of families that have similar issues and millions more to come.  This is only the beginning; as time ticks down to the new date of the employer mandate, millions more will have a story just like Norah’s.  Obamacare is a ruse, rammed through Congress in a disgusting fashion and shoved down the throats of good, tax-paying Americans.  The dirty trick of Obamacare is to destroy companies like Cigna and United, who cannot provide affordable insurance while covering people at forced rates that would otherwise cause them to lose billions, while insurance companies like First Health Network will pop up all over the place and provide insurance that nobody wants.  Obamacare is designed to destroy private insurance and force Americans into Uncle Sam’s loving arms.
            Blaming Obamacare brings out the trolls who I spoke of earlier, the ones that talk to purple unicorns about the meaning of life.  Those idiots have come after me in droves to defend their beloved king. I have heard the worst society has to offer and it does not bother me; these are worthless and miserable roaches, lurking in the dark to try to hurt people who haven’t gulped down Kool-Aid until they are void of rational reasoning.  They hide behind their keyboard; they are cowards who would never act so disgusting in the real world.
 I am not implying that the trolls who come after my family and me represent all democrats or progressives.  I would make the point that they are employing the same strategies that the left is famous for using time and again.  The left seeks to eliminate all conversation that defies their message.  It is a staple for the left to attack personally and lie to align the conversation to fit their message.  The left spawns the kind of vultures who go a step too far, the kind who attack my baby and me.

The good news is that my rant on Twitter has gained the attention of some remarkable people; followers who have offered support, doctors and insurance representatives who have offered advice, and pediatric cardiologists in our area, who have promised to try to work with our new insurance and get into the network.  Norah has a new appointment set for this summer; I am confident that our insurance issues will be resolved before then.  There is no limit to what we will endure for our baby.  I am not complaining about the extra effort involved in securing the doctor, I am simply pointing out that it is unnecessary and everyday Americans should not have to lose what they have worked for so that politicians can incentivize votes.  Liberals who have stumbled upon Norah’s story feel stung; their reaction is the real story.  Hard-line leftists would rather degrade a suffering family with a sick child than admit that the crown jewel they’ve been fighting to pass for so long is a complete failure.