Now is the time for us to tell our stories about why health care reform matters

Though President Obama has signed health care reform into law, the battle in the court of public opinion rages on.   For all of us who will benefit from health care reform, or know people who will, now is the time to tell our stories.  We need to tell our stories over the breakfast table, in the grocery store lines, on our blogs, at church, where ever we hear someone say that health care reform was a huge mistake.

Here’s my story.

My dad passed away suddenly last year, leading to a very serious emotional and health crisis in my family.  I ended up quitting my job and moving back to my hometown to help.   I was eligible for COBRA coverage, but the pricetag of $500 a month was very steep for someone without a job.   So I called HealthNet, the insurance provider of my former employer, having seen on their web site that they offered high-deductible policies that were more affordable.  I thought they would be likely to insure me because they had access to my medical history and could see that I was in good health, had never been hospitalized, did not suffer from any chronic illness and wasn’t on any prescriptions.

The phone conversation was going along smoothly until I was asked:  “Have you sought psychological counseling in the last year?”  I responded truthfully, explaining that I had taken part in family grief counseling following my dad’s death.  Then I was asked:  “Did you go to more than four counseling sessions?”   Again, I was truthful and said yes.

Then HealthNet told me I was uninsurable, for the sole reason that I had seen a counselor more than four times in the last year.  I was deemed mentally unstable for seeking help when I needed it.

This is an outrage that will stop, thanks to the new health care reform legislation that will not keep people like me from obtaining affordable health insurance because of the “pre-existing condition” of having sought counseling when faced with a family trauma.

I am so grateful that this important legislation has passed, and if you are, too, then start spreading the good word.

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