Support the news

Universal Coverage Helped Save Her Life

This article is more than 9 years old.

I was moved by this personal story by Washington Post Staff Writer Ibby Caputo about how Massachusetts' health reform law allowed her to get excellent medical care and ultimately saved her life after she was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia and told that without treatment she would live for six weeks. The diagnosis came when she was 26. Caputo writes:

But perhaps the greatest miracle of all was that shortly before I found out I was sick, I had moved to Cape Cod, Mass., to intern at a radio station and work as a coffee shop barista. I had no medical insurance when I received my diagnosis, but miraculously the state's watershed universal health-care law had recently gone into effect. And since I was not making much money, I qualified for the state's public option.

I remember sitting alone in a room at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston, shell-shocked. In 36 hours I had absorbed a nightmare's worth of disturbing information about my bones, my blood and my future. And I was unnerved by the lack of privacy. Doctors, nurses and technicians would rotate through the door and either take something from me, like a blood sample, or throw something at me, like more information about myself.

Then, a woman walked in. She put a paper in front of me, had me sign in three places, asked for a few months' worth of paycheck stubs, and I was insured. A miracle.

Some $913,425.15 later, I am alive.

This program aired on October 13, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

+Join the discussion
TwitterfacebookEmail

Support the news