Guest editorial: A physician applauds McAleer’s stand on Obamacare |

Guest editorial: A physician applauds McAleer’s stand on Obamacare

Karen Halverson, M.D. Park CityOne month ago, I watched the debate between Donna McAleer and Rob Bishop, and since that time have been dismayed to see that she is consistently behind Mr. Bishop in polls.

Many issues were covered in the debate, but the one that I am intimately familiar with, as a physician specializing in oncology, a single mother of two children with "pre-existing conditions," and as a consumer of heath care myself, is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as "Obamacare."

If only for this one issue, I am appealing to the women of Utah’s 1st Congressional District to join me in sending Donna McAleer to the United States House of Representatives.

The incumbent, Rob Bishop, voted against the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 and has since voted countless times to repeal the bill.

Under the health system that existed prior to ACA, we were ALL one illness away from being uninsurable. Consider this: in the pre-ACA era, I saw patients who, because of their cancer or the side effects of treatment, were too ill to work. They lost their jobs or were unable to carry on as self-employed small business owners.

These patients had access to COBRA, which allowed one to continue with the same health coverage for a finite period of time, but was often found to be excessively expensive without the employer subsidy. Or in the case of the self-employed small business owner, the insurance was cancelled. Insurance companies are in business to make money … and someone with cancer is expensive.

I saw patients who had health insurance policies, which at the time of diagnosis were found to be completely inadequate, capping daily payments at very low levels in an era when some cancer drugs cost over $30,000 per injection. The ACA established minimum standards for health insurance policies.

In the pre-ACA era, the non-working spouse generally the wife who had given up her career to raise children, found herself or her children with pre-existing conditions uninsurable following divorce or the death of the working spouse.

In the pre-ACA era, persons with health issues or with children with health issues were forced to stay in jobs that were unfulfilling or in marriages that were abusive or emotionally draining, just to keep their employer based health insurance.

In the pre-ACA era, moving from one state to another had health insurance risks. Recently a friend informed me that only because of the ACA was she able to obtain health insurance in Utah, allowing her to move here from another state. When I moved in 2009, only one insurance company in Utah was willing to offer me health insurance because I was on ONE medication that I had been advised to take for one year by my physician in Missouri.

The ACA is not perfect and will need modification .. tough decisions will have to be made to control costs. We need someone like Ms. McAleer to tackle this. I have no confidence that Rob Bishop, who simplified gridlock in Washington to "I blame Harry Reid," is up to this challenge.

Perhaps to some, Mr. Bishop’s grandfatherly way of simplifying issues is appealing, however the problems facing our nation are complicated and will require study, working across party lines, and compromise.

I implore you, the women of Utah’s 1st Congressional District .the women who gave up their careers to raise their children, the women who care that their children and their neighbors’ children have health insurance join me in sending Donna McAleer to Congress to address the challenges that face this nation.

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