Public Comment

Celebrate and Give Thanks

Janine Kovac
Thursday April 01, 2010 - 04:51:00 PM

On December 30, 2009, my little boys landed on the planet with pre-existing conditions. They were born at twenty-five weeks of gestation — three months early. They have been in the hospital for the last eighty-two days, racking up a combined sub-total of two million dollars in hospital bills. And that’s just for the first forty-five days. 

We’re not out of the woods yet, and won’t be even after the boys are discharged. There will be monthly assessments and physical therapy appointments. It is expected that the boys won’t sit up until they are about seven-months old, crawl at a year, and maybe not even speak until the age of three. For the next two years we will have to get inoculations for a respiratory virus each month – from November to April. We will be tracked closely by the medical establishment for the next two years, and intermittently for the two years after that 

That’s a lot of doctors’ bills 

Luckily, we’re covered. My husband has excellent health insurance through his work. Of course, we are still getting calls from healthcare providers because my insurance company isn’t paying its negotiated share. We still get loads of bills everyday. I’m still confused by all the fine print. 

Up until the day President Obama signed the healthcare bill, I worried. Worried that we would suddenly get dropped. Worried that my husband might get laid off and we wouldn’t be able to afford the $3000 monthly COBRA coverage. Or that he might become chained to his job just because of the health benefits. I worried that the benefits package could disappear. 

But now, in light of this historic event, I am relieved. Now I know that for the rest of their lives, no one will deny my little boys healthcare coverage just because God brought them into the world a little early. Now I know that no matter what happens with my husband’s job or our fickle insurance company, we will not go bankrupt just because we choose to keep our family healthy. It’s a huge relief. 

However, I’m not just relieved, I’m flooded with gratitude. For years my husband and I have been the über-healthy ones, paying into a system month after month, year after year and never drawing on it. We were the ones the insurance companies cherry-pick and love to cover –young folks who never need to see a doctor. ;Of course the twins changed all that. Now we will never pay into the system what we get out of it. And the only reason their security—their health—will even be possible will be because of you. All of you. Every person in this country. Our twins can be covered no matter what because now their risk can be balanced by your health. Oh, I am grateful. So grateful. Thank you, Representative Pelosi. A special thanks to my representative, Barbara Lee. Thanks to all of you--from those to who voted for healthcare reform to those who will make it possible for the system to work. 

My sons are alive because of the wonderful healthcare they received. They will continue to be able to get care and coverage because of the new legislation that will pass. And while we, the Kovacs, might never pay enough into the system with hard dollars, there are other ways we can repay our debt. My sons have their entire lives in front of them. You can be sure that we will raise them so they know that they owe you. Maybe they will be scientists who discover cures. Maybe they will be doctors who help heal the sick. Maybe they will be judges who will fight for justice. Maybe they will be artists who inspire others. Maybe they will be loving husbands and fathers who will raise scientists, doctors, judges, or artists. 

Whatever vocation they will follow, know that they will do it with compassion and empathy. They will know that we are stronger as a whole than we are as individuals. They will teach others that the strong always help the weak. They will be generous in spirit and always, always, grateful. 

It’s a good day. A good day indeed. And thanks again, everybody.