Before health care reform, I worked as a graduate assistant and the university provided me with health insurance so I could go to the school clinic for free. However, the insurance did not cover vision or dental. One time I had a serious toothache and I went to the school clinic and the only thing they could do was give me some painkiller and refer me to the school dentist, whom I saw after a week of waiting. Then the school dentist took a $100 or so for X-ray and recommended a root-canal surgery, but again they could only refer me to a bigger clinic for the surgery. It was another dreadful 2 or 3 weeks of waiting so I could actually have the surgery and then another $500 for the procedure.
At that time, I was really frustrated because back in my country, people only have to pay one-tenth of the price compared to the U.S. even without the insurance and if you pay that much, you expect a speedier process. I literally lived in pain during that one month of waiting and this is something I don’t know before I came here.
Health care reform is important to me because now I have access to quality, affordable coverage with a minimum benefit package which includes doctor’s and hospital visits, prescription medication, and mental health.