Doctor: Dena, you have a heart blockage. None of your blood will flow to the Left.
Me: Of course not, I am conservative. I don’t like the Left.
On November 9, 2012, I walked into Dr. Shamsa’s office. I was a 42-year-old single mother just starting UCLA to receive her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. I had just received my Associate’s from Los Angeles City College. I was having breathing problems and the doctors I went to weren’t doing anything about it. In fact, one of them to told me I had “allergies.”
Going to class was becoming an ordeal. What should have been a
ten minute walk from one part of the UCLA campus to the other was taking me an hour. So I decided since I was paying for UCLA Insurance I might as well use it. So I went to the Arthur Ashe Wellness Center. That is where I met Fara Anzures, who saw something was clearly wrong. Starting with fluid on my lungs, that is when she sent me next door to get further help and that is when I met the Great and Wonderful as I like to call him. To the rest of the world, he is simply Dr. Kamran Shamsa.
During this time, Obamacare was in the works and was about to become a law. I had three insurances, Medi-Cal, Medi-Care and the UCLA Student Insurance. The doctor who told me I had “allergies” I saw using my Medicare HMO and Medi-Cal HMO. As such, I was given subpar care. This had been par for the course since HMOs took over Medicaid and Medicare. Prior to that, they were pretty good. You were able to see any doctor that took Medicaid/Medicare and referrals to see additional doctors were unnecessary, ah such was the life.
It was during this time I started reading up on Obamacare. I mean under the HMOs I had I already was not getting the best care, I wanted to know if Obamacare would screw that up even more. So I was in the library reading about Obamacare and I came across a frightening scenario. I wish I would have saved it via screenshot but I didn’t However, it was stated at one point in Obamacare that if a hospital readmitted a patient within one month after their discharge the hospital would be fined. I didn’t think much about it and went on my way.
The day I met Dr. Shamsa my life changed. He could see something was wrong and he told me “I will be your advocate.” Being that most of my doctors didn’t care one way or another about me, I wasn’t really buying it. He proved me wrong. Two weeks before finals Dr. Shamsa told me my heart was in seriously bad shape. I was going to need to be hospitalized. He left the decision up to me but as I looked into his eyes, I knew. I knew 1) I wasn’t crazy and 2) I needed to listen to him. So I checked myself in the hospital.
I got out just before Thanksgiving. They said I needed my aortic valve replaced. So they made a date for me to come back in the hospital in December to have my surgery. The date was in a couple weeks of my discharge. Now had that 30-day clause been in effect, I would not have been allowed back in the hospital. Had they gone in just to fix my aortic valve, they would have also found that I needed a triple bypass and my mitral valve wasn’t too hot either. Being unprepared to handle all that I would have been up opened up and closed without fixing all the problems. Of course, that only would have put me in more jeopardy. However, since that wasn’t the case, I went back in the hospital.
December rolls around and I am back in the hospital. Dr. Shamsa told me he didn’t feel comfortable with the testing. He felt they hadn’t explored my whole heart. I thought he was certifiably insane. Alien abductees went through less probing and prodding than I had at the time. But I trusted him. So I submitted to more testing. Fixing me was not going be easy, though. It wasn’t just the heart that was an issue. I was epileptic, morbidly obese, borderline diabetic and when I was 22 I had cancer (Hodgkin’s Disease) which led to the heart damage I had today. Taking all that into account, they held a conference to see what should be done about my heart. They talked about everything including transplant but decided on the bypass surgery. I would have my surgery in January.
Again, another 30 days since I left the hospital and I was right back there. However, before going back in I had to figure a few things out. Like how I was going to get back in. Since UCLA was not part of my network so I couldn’t make an appointment. I had to go in through the emergency room. But I just couldn’t walk in, the insurance company could say if I was healthy enough to walk in, I didn’t need the surgery. I needed to go by ambulance. But no ambulance was going to take me from my house to UCLA. UCLA was a good 40 minutes from me. And there were plenty of other places they could’ve taken me if it was truly an “emergency.” My only hope was to go to UCLA, activate my congestive heart failure by walking and call an ambulance. So that is what I did.
That would not be the only thing to go wrong insurance wise. A few days before I was to
have my surgery I received a letter in the mail saying that my HMO wasn’t going to cover my hospital stays. I went out of my mind with panic. First of all, I thought my UCLA had been paying for this. Second of all, the cost for a week in the cardio unit was 100,000 dollars. Third, I didn’t have enough time to figure out who was going to pay for my surgery. What if it got canceled? Prior to all of this, I had talked to Dr. Shamsa, I wanted to know could I do my surgery in June after I finished school. He told me it wasn’t a good idea. As it stood at that point, I had between six months and a year to live without it. I started calling everyone and telling them what was going on. I even paged Dr. Shamsa. He called me from his home and when I saw his number I thought it was a friend of mine returning my call. Imagine my surprise when I called and his wife picked up the phone. I wanted to crawl in a hole and die but since I had him I told him what is going on .
“Don’t worry you cannot have the surgery anywhere else but UCLA. You have too complicated a case (which would soon become my nickname between us-Complicated Case). No one else can do it. Just talk to a social worker at UCLA on Monday and they will work it all out.” he told me. I calmed down. If he said it would be alright, it would be alright. A day or two before my surgery, while I laid in a hospital bed, I received a call from Dr. Shamsa. “Don’t worry about it, I have taken care of everything. Your prior hospital bills and the surgery, it is all good to go.” I screamed like I won the lottery and told him I love you over and over again into the phone. He had spent the entire day making calls, sending emails until he reached the President of my insurance company and had him okay the whole thing. I had my surgery.
That is my story. I am one of the lucky ones. Obamacare is a very poorly written a very poorly written piece of legislation. Just because I escaped being done in by that one little paragraph doesn’t mean it is good law or that people haven’t been hurt by this law. It is absolutely ridiculous to force people to buy a product that they cannot afford and then to penalize them for not buying that product. Not only is that robbery, it is unconstitutional. Of course, neither SCOTUS or Congress cares about the Constitution (especially with Scalia’s recent death).
SCOTUS and Congress have betrayed the American people. They have traded political correctness for the Constitution. They have traded free enterprise for governmental extortion. They have elevated liberalism over individual choice. In closing, America lost a piece of themselves once Obamacare went into effect. I shudder to think what would’ve happened had that little sentence when I was undergoing my heart ordeal. I survived Obamacare but will the rest of America?