Three weeks ago, I left work in an ambulance and a great deal of pain. In the night that followed, doctors determined that I had a bowel rupture leaking digestive fluid into my abdominal cavity, and a truly outstanding surgeon removed about 8 inches of my small intestine. A few days later, my doctors told me I have Crohn’s disease, a chronic condition in which my immune system sometimes decides to go rogue and attack my own digestive tract.
The upshot of this is that, in one night, I transformed from the kind of patient health insurers drool over — a young, healthy man whose biggest medical expense in the last ten years was a broken toe incurred during a kung fu class — to what those same insurers deem a “high risk” patient. If I lost my job tomorrow, or if I left CAP and ThinkProgress to start my own business, it is very unlikely I would be able to afford health insurance once my current plan runs out. Indeed, without Obamacare, it is reasonably likely that I would not be able to obtain insurance at any price.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, however, the insurance industry’s practice of denying care to high risk patients like myself will soon be illegal.