2:58 PM Eastern - Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Member voices: With healthcare reform, a child can't be denied care due to a pre-existing condition #the-healthcare-law

Stories from the Frontlines: SEIU healthcare workers share how the Affordable Care Act gives their patients greater personal freedom, greater control of their own healthcare.

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PHOTO: Rebecca King Morrow is a registered nurse and member of SEIU Local 1021 in San Francisco, CA.


As a registered nurse for the last 35 years, I have seen healthcare policies and healthcare technologies come and go. As my career made a progression from bedside nursing to case management, I became more interested in promoting justice and access to state of the art healthcare for our tiniest, most vulnerable patients.

The fight for healthcare reform was arduous. However, when I think about the possible repeal of this long overdue reform, special patients keep coming to mind.

I remember the call from a panicked mom of an infant who, at 25 weeks gestation, was extremely premature. I will call her little baby "Mary." Her birth weight was about one pound. Mary's mother called me, after she had been summoned into the business office at the university hospital. Mary was just two months old when her mother was presented with a ten million dollar hospital bill. Mind you, Mary still had a long way to go and many more hospital days and charges before she was ready for discharge.

The great news is that this tiny little fighter did survive and did go home in remarkably good shape, with the exception of chronic lung disease. I think now that if healthcare reform is repealed, that this growing child could be forever denied future insurance because of a pre-existing condition. This baby fought incredibly hard to survive from the moment she was born. It doesn't seem fair that she would be destined to a lifelong fight for health insurance.

With the Affordable Care Act, Mary's pre-existing condition would no longer deny her insurance. With the Affordable Care Act, she and many others would not drop off insurance and out of healthcare in the vulnerable adolescent to adulthood age of 26.

We need to fight as hard for the Affordable Care Act as Mary fought for her life. It is past time, for our healthcare humanity to catch up with our healthcare technology.

Find out how the healthcare law is helping you and your family at SEIU's online healthcare law hub: http://www.seiu.org/the-healthcare-law

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