Cancer Patient to Obama: What Happened to Obamacare Promises?

Monday, 04 Nov 2013 04:41 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Edie Littlefield Sundby, who has been battling a virulent form of cancer since 2007, writes as a direct result of the president's signature healthcare plan, the team that has kept her alive — primary doctors, oncologists, hospitals, and a sympathetic insurance firm — has been torn asunder.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed implicitly aimed at President Barack Obama, Sundby says that against all odds her oncologists, primary physicians, and insurance company, have enabled her to survive even as her disease morphed and returned time and again.  

Describing herself as "one of the losers" in the Obamacare saga, Sundby writes her singular passion is staying alive not making political points: "For almost seven years I have fought and survived stage-4 gallbladder cancer, with a five-year survival rate of less than 2 percent after diagnosis."

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"I am a determined fighter and extremely lucky," Sundby writes. "But this luck may have just run out: My affordable, lifesaving medical insurance policy has been canceled effective Dec. 31."

Her insurance company has paid $1.2 million for her treatment never second guessing her doctors. Now, it is pulling out of the individual California market.

The California exchange insists she choose between either keeping her primary oncologist at Stanford University or her primary care doctors at the University of California, San Diego.
 
Sundby must either obtain coverage through the exchange — which would cut her off from her team — or pay 40 percent to 50 percent more for a plan with an unfamiliar insurance company, and probably inferior benefits, just to keep her medical team intact.

With time running on making a fateful decision, Sundby writes that she and her broker "still don't have a clue how to best proceed."

The president promised Americans like her they could keep their plans and doctors. Yet "I have been forced to give up a world-class health plan. The exchange would force me to give up a world-class physician."

Taking away a person's "ability to control their medical coverage" may be an "effective" way to manage costs, but it makes it harder for them to stay alive.
 
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"Perhaps that's the point," she concludes.

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