The Girl Who Lived
I still remember the visit to the hospital that should have chilled me to my core. I weighed so little that I was in danger of dying in my sleep. My pulse was weak enough that my heart could just stop when it slowed during slumber.
Tomorrow, the U.S. Supreme Court will extend a ruling on the Affordable Care Act that could potentially have huge implications for people like me. In most states, conditions such as asthma, cancer, eating disorders, and anything chronic of that nature are considered “pre-existing conditions,” which, before the Act, meant that insurance companies could partially or entirely refuse to cover those affected by them. The Affordable Care Act could change that and make it impossible to discriminate against people for being ill.
Instead of fear or any other logical emotion, I felt angry at the nurse for telling my father, angry at her for making me get on the scale with my back to it and forcing me to talk about my eating habits (which, I believe, I lied about). Eventually, I was referred to an eating disorder-specific hospital and spent about two months in treatment.
I’ve been fortunate. In two days (come at me, June 29th!) I hit the two year mark of being discharged from the hospital. But breaking free of the hospital and staying free isn’t generally what happens. Most of the friends I made at the hospital have had to be readmitted, often within months of being discharged. I’m not saying this to scare anyone, I’m not saying this to dishearten anyone, and I’m definitely not saying this to brag. I’m saying it because the possibility of this Act not being upheld…Well, it has very real and terrifying repercussions for young people across America, many of whom suffer from invisible illnesses like asthma and eating disorders. Most of them can’t afford the care they need on their own, and being cut off and left without insurance can be almost a death sentence.
There shouldn’t be such a thing as not being able to finance a person’s life. Money is money. Once lost, it can be gained again. But once a life is lost it is gone forever. Think about how hard we all sobbed as Sirius fell in a graceful arch through that veil as well as all the loss and pain caused by Harry’s deceased parents, Fred’s death, and the many others. Except, in real life there is no Resurrection Stone that would allow us one last word with a loved one.
There will always be many sides to any Act of this scale that affects so many people, but here’s hoping for humanity for the win.