Health

This Comic Nails Misconceptions About People With Pre-Existing Conditions

On Tuesday, the Senate voted in favor of a “motion to proceed” with the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The next step is to debate and amended the bill on the Senate floor.

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While the GOP’s road to ridding America of Obamacare is still filled with obstacles, it’s far from dead in the water. That has many Americans losing sleep over whether or not they’ll lose their healthcare.

Among the Affordable Care Act provisions on the chopping block are protections for people with pre-existing conditions. 

The House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act back in May, which allows insurers to hike prices for people with pre-existing conditions if they have a lapse in coverage. While healthy individuals may think this is no big deal, cartoonist Nomi Kane created an easy to understand comic that highlights the gravity of this potential change.

Kane’s comic “My Life With a Pre-Existing Condition” details her lifelong battle with type 1 diabetes, how the Affordable Care Act changed her life, and her fears of healthcare reform under the Trump administration.

 

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Type 1 diabetes is typically developed during childhood or adolescence. It’s an autoimmune disease, which stops the body from producing insulin. People with type 1 diabetes are dependent on insulin injections, and are forced to constantly monitor their blood glucose levels, something most people’s bodies do all on their own. The cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown, although family history and genetics may play some role.

About 30 million people in the U.S. have diabetes but just 5 percent have type 1 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Because the vast majority of people with diabetes have type 2, which can be caused by poor diets, obesity or lack of exercise, many believe that those with type 1 are somehow at fault for their illness.

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That thinking extends to those with other pre-existing conditions.

“Hundreds of factors determine a person’s health; and a great many of them are outside of anyone’s control,” Kane wrote in the comic. She goes on to list a few other pre-existing conditions like lupus, epilepsy, and asthma.

About 27 percent of Americans under the age of 65 have a pre-existing condition, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

That means one-quarter of Americans are at risk of inflated healthcare premiums for conditions that are already costly. The cost of having type 1 diabetes is high. People with type 1 diabetes test their blood sugar several times a day, and inject themselves with insulin multiple times. They need blood sugar monitors, test strips, syringes, and multiple types of insulin (rapid-acting or long-acting). Having diabetes can also cause heart, eye, and kidney problems, making regular doctor check-ups a must.

Kane knows that some people may think that this isn’t their problem—they’re part of the 73 percent of Americans that don’t have a pre-existing condition.

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But Kane warns that everyone’s health is fragile, and pre-existing conditions like high-blood pressure, cancer, or arthritis could be just around the corner. 

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