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Montana Politics US Politics

The Human Face of ACA Repeal: Chelsia

The cost of survival without insurance for one year with cancer:

98,000 in chemotherapy and hospital stays
20,000 for a first and second opinion
300,000 for surgery
418,000 to fight cancer

40,000 in donations from friends and family to make up my lost income plus some for lodging, food, rent, gas, travel.
45,000 My partner’s income then
My income: 0, I was sick
100,000 in charity care from a local hospital
290,000 from a far away hospital

Us: covered with some to spare so I could heal and be employed again


To survive with the ACA while I recovered:

3900 year or 325.00/mo for insurance – top notch marketplace plan with no gov stipends
3000 out of pocket for necessary medical equipment annually
5000 in check ups twice a year
$240 or $20 mo for medications
21,140 in out of pocket expenses to stay healthy annually.

We aren’t even talking about the expenses to have my spouse be seen regularly for her mental health issues that were revealed because of my cancer.

Just for me. To survive cancer and live.

Tell me, which part of my regular care should be forfeited? Which of us should just die? What life-saving medical devices should I give up? Catheters?

And you won’t hold the industrial polluters responsible for my illness either? You’ll just let them continue to poison our water and air.

I’m one of millions.
You will see my fury. I will not just die, I will go down fighting. But I don’t expect to survive this.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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