In the emergency room six months ago, my husband and I learned he had suffered an "R-Triple A": Ruptured Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. His first response: "I want a second opinion." The surgeon shook his head. "Buddy, you don't have time for a second opinion. You're going to die in thirty minutes. If you have surgery you might survive, but there's only a 5% chance."
I'm writing this today for three reasons:1 -- The insidious debate about health care in the United States. What Speaker of the House Paul Ryan proposes is scurrilous. Millions of Americans will be forced to chose between seeing a doctor and putting food on the table. People will die.
2 -- In the ER that dreadful night, my husband asked for a second opinion because he worried this medical emergency would bankrupt our family. I foolishly had driven him to the hospital instead of calling 911. Ambulances are expensive.
3 -- I recently found my ER notes, jotted in between calls and texts with our sons, and questions to the medical staff. I'd begun a list of stuff used, to double-check against our future bill, having experienced double charges in past care: "...nausea meds, painkillers, IV, barf bag, cotton swabs, urine container, "robe", blood tests..."
Looking back I see a frantic couple married 35 years, terrified of losing each other but more so, terrified of the financial hit. We are fortunate and grateful. A skilled surgeon, Dr. Christopher Alessi, saved my husband's life.
Short of having a single-payer health care system, we need the ACA to be improved and expanded, not repealed.