The conservatives who want to repeal healthcare for 30 million Americans want us to only think about the issue in abstract terms and generalizations. It’s time to stop letting them get away with that and to listen to the stories of people whose very lives depend on access to health care they can afford. This post is the kind of story we simply cannot ignore and one of the many reasons we need to fight back.
Three years ago, I was diagnosed with rectal cancer which was most likely caused by asbestos from the Libby mine. Surgery to remove the cancer resulted in the removal of my rectum and the installation of a colostomy. As a result of the surgery, I live with chronic pain which prevents me from being able to work.
Because I live in Lincoln County, I qualify for Medicare coverage under a special provision of the ACA that covers victims of asbestos related diseases. Medicare covers the costs of ongoing monitoring for the return of the cancer as well as the costs of my ostomy supplies. Together these expenses total more than $1000 per month. If the ACA is repealed, not only will I become bankrupt due to these ongoing costs but I will also be uninsurable due to my pre-existing condition.
I am not unfamiliar with risks. The principal mechanism by which I was exposed to asbestos was during the years I worked in the woods of Lincoln County for the U.S. Forest Service. Airborne asbestos particulate coats the ground and the trees for many miles around the mine site. For 15 summers, I placed my life at risk protecting the people and property of Montana as a Forest Service fire fighter. Smoke from the fires carries asbestos particle with it into the lungs of firefighters. When not fighting fire, I worked in the woods laying out timber sales and breathing asbestos dust.
Now I am facing the risk of losing my health coverage. I would sooner die than impoverish my family so this is a real life or death situation for me. Please do whatever you can to help me and other Montanans facing equally dire situations by keeping the Affordable Care Act in place.
Please contact Senator Steve Daines and tell him repeal will endanger Montanans’ lives and he must vote to keep Montanans safe and the ACA in place.
His Helena office number is (406) 443-3189, please call today.
Lincoln County, Montana