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Letter to the Editor: Universal health care

To the editor:

I recently read a commentary in the paper ("Obamacare doesn't work" by Kris Wilhelm) and I wanted to clear up a misconception the author and many people have about what can constitute a pre-existing condition to insurance companies.

When I was 21 I graduated from college and got my first "real job" with benefits including health insurance. After my probationary period I applied and was told by my boss and by the insurance agent that I would not be covered by the employer insurance plan. When I asked why, I was told that I had a "pre-existing condition.”

According to my doctor I was young and perfectly healthy so I was baffled. The insurance agent told me the pre-existing condition was that I was “too fat.” The insurance AGENT (mind you, not my doctor) told me how much weight I had to lose. I applied anyway and was denied by my employer insurance plan.

That was 25 years ago and, thanks to Obamacare and patient advocacy, there are some protections for people now. Over the years of being uninsured, self-insured, on the OHP, on OMIP, ensured by an employer, using COBRA, and now getting insurance under the ACA (Obamacare) I have decided that the only solution to the kind of discrimination and difficulty I have experienced in trying to be responsible and healthy and insured is a universal single payer system of basic health care for everybody, like Medicare for All.

It's 25 years later and I am still pretty healthy, no long-term illnesses, no prescriptions, still fat. The insurance company didn't know anything about me and my health but they used "pre-existing condition" to discriminate against me.

Serena Smith

The Dalles

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