February is American Heart Month, which my family celebrates to rejoice in my triumph over heart disease, a journey that was made even more difficult due to lack of health insurance.
In 2006, I underwent a triple coronary artery bypass operation. I was laid off from my company just 11 days before the procedure. Afterward, I had to pay full price for my medicines, my doctors’ visits, and my surgery bills. This strapped my family financially and was a stressful time for us. I hurried to mend so that I could obtain employment. I needed not only wages – I needed health insurance. Once I was employed several months later, to cut my family’s financial burdens, I skipped days of medications, quit taking several altogether, and prayed that these actions had no adverse implications to my health.
I was lucky, as I eventually obtained insurance coverage – many can’t. It is past time that our state legislature address expanding health insurance coverage for low-income individuals and families.
Let’s show North Carolina love, and close the health insurance coverage gap.