Brain Patient's Obamacare Nightmare: No Meds, No Doctors

Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 08:36 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Brain disorder victim Margaret Figueroa is in the middle of an Obamacare nightmare – she can’t find a doctor to treat her condition and she can’t get the medication she needs to fight it.

"I’m frustrated with the system. I feel like I paid but I’m not getting what I paid for," said Figueroa, who has had four brain surgeries, according to the New York Post. "It’s scary because this is America. I didn’t expect to go through this."

Her troubles began when she enrolled in an EmblemHealth insurance plan as she was required to do under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

But when went to order her medications, she learned that her name was not connected to the healthcare insurers. Then she discovered that her doctors were not listed on her plan.

"They just don’t have enough doctors," said Figueroa, 49, of New York's Staten Island. "Two of them are full to capacity, and the others aren’t even in my radius. There at some who don’t even speak English.

"Now I have to find a whole new set of doctors. The doctors I had were familiar with my condition. I’ve had my neurologist for years. You want to stay with someone who’s been in your brain and knows what’s going on."

Figueroa, who suffers from the rare neurological diseases called Arnold Chiari Malformation and Syringomyelia, said only six doctors in the New York borough accept her new health plan, and she has yet to be able to get an appointment with one, according to the Staten Island Advocate.

"I’ve been sick, I’ve had chills, a lot of vomiting," said Figueroa, who must take five different medications a day, including morphine. "The pain is unbearable. I’ve had insomnia. I lost 23 pounds. Who’s going to write the scripts if I don’t have a primary-care doctor?"

Figueroa, who had been suffering withdrawal symptoms because she could not get her drugs, eventually turned to Republican Rep. Michael Grimm, who represents Staten Island, to help solve her crisis.

"This is now becoming very common," said Grimm, who voted against Obamacare. "This isn’t like someone who needs an aspirin here, this is her life."

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