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Sierria C.'s Story of Why She's IN

Sierria C. and Mom

I didn’t believe people actually entered bankruptcy due to medical bills until it happened to us. In 2007, my mother Regina worked for Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. She often began to state to me that she felt run down, always having a thirst that couldn't be quenched, and that maybe she was becoming diabetic. Within two weeks my mom was diagnosed as having type 2 non-insulin dependent diabetes AND thyroid cancer that came with 5 tumors, the largest of which rested on her vocal chords. I remember feeling this was the end and I had to prepare myself for the worst. I just wanted my mom to see me graduate from college. My mom beat cancer and she survived, so here is where our story should end and life should get better. But this is when our fight began with insurance companies. While she defeated cancer she now had more hospital bills. Going to the doctor to receive weekly shots meant compounded co-pays, expensive hormone medicine because her thyroid glands were removed, calcium supplements, special mouth washes for her ulcerated mouth, and the list of medical expenses went on and on. In 2009 she moved back to our hometown in Arkansas. She got a job but soon discovered that open enrollment into her new job’s health insurance plan was not immediately available, and the plan’s benefits didn’t justify its price tag. She was forced to spend her retirement savings to purchase her prescriptions. My mom - a cancer survivor - has now gone without health insurance since 2009. Often she went without medication in order to pay for essentials, like food and utilities. Even though she had spent her retirement savings and worked daily, the debt piled up and she continued to get further in the hole. Eventually, she filed for bankruptcy due to her mounting hospital and lab bills. I am now a graduate of college with no health insurance. With the Affordable Care Act, I’ll be able to enroll in my mother's new health insurance policy on April 1st, even though I’m 23 years old. She’ll be able to receive healthcare coverage for individuals like herself who are in a higher risk pool. No longer will insurance companies be able to drop her whenever they'd like. Finally, we have a law that will help protect Americans from unfair practices. Thank you for allowing me to share our story. I’m a Summer Organizer because I want all Americans to understand the realities of our nation’s healthcare issues and because President Obama is fighting for families like ours everyday!
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