A San Diego woman says she has been kicked off her insurance plan due to Obamacare while battling Stage 4 gallbladder cancer.
“I had great cancer doctors and health insurance,” Edie Littlefield Sundby wrote in a Sunday Wall Street Journal op-ed. “My plan was canceled. Now I worry how long I'll live."
“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,” she said.
Her op-ed, which received significant attention from conservatives online, comes as millions of Americans are being dropped from their health insurance plans because of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s signature health care law.
Sundby will be released from her current plan effective Dec. 31. She said her only options going forward are to either enroll in Obamacare and lose her cancer doctors, or to start her treatment all over again with a new provider at rates that are approximately 40 to 50 percent more expensive.
Worse than just losing her doctors through Obamacare, Sundby said, is that nothing available through the government-run program comes even close to comparing with what she had through her private insurer.
And on top of that, Covered California, the Golden State’s Obamacare insurance exchange, is nearly inoperable.
“After four weeks of researching plans on the website, talking directly to government exchange counselors, insurance companies and medical providers, my insurance broker and I are as confused as ever. Time is running out and we still don't have a clue how to best proceed,” she wrote.
The Obama administration and supporters of the president’s health care law have urged consumers to be patient as officials address the many errors with the Obamacare websites.
Sundby explained her soon-to-be-lost plan: “Since March 2007 United Healthcare has paid $1.2 million to help keep me alive, and it has never once questioned any treatment or procedure recommended by my medical team.”
“The company pays a fair price to the doctors and hospitals, on time, and is responsive to the emergency treatment requirements of late-stage cancer. Its caring people in the claims office have been readily available to talk to me and my providers,” she said.
But, she said, she was informed in January that United would be dropping her from her current plan because of the impending health care law and it was suggested she enroll in the state’s online exchange. But Obamacare just doesn’t offer her the same options as her previous plan, forcing her to choose between Stanford University, which has “kept (her) alive,” and the University of California, San Diego, where her primary-care doctors are located.
“What happened to the president's promise, ‘You can keep your health plan’? Or to the promise that ‘You can keep your doctor’?” she asked. “Thanks to the law, I have been forced to give up a world-class health plan. The exchange would force me to give up a world-class physician.”
“For a cancer patient, medical coverage is a matter of life and death,” she said. “Take away people's ability to control their medical-coverage choices and they may die. I guess that's a highly effective way to control medical costs. Perhaps that's the point.”
Click here to read full Sundby’s op-ed.
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This post has been updated.