The Idaho Health Care Plan

I spoke this morning on a bill that may help half of the affected Idahoans out of Idaho’s coverage gap. It was one of the scarier things I have had to do (including that one time that I self-admitted to the mental hospital, though that was due to confusion and delusion). I completely lost it when I was up there; the committee chair assured me mid-testimony that I was, indeed, alright.

The truth is that I had a major panic attack and felt like I was dying yesterday. The reason behind this is that I have been trying to wean myself off of medication because I am running out of it. So my moods have been flighty and unpredictable, among other things. The doctor is trying to help me the best she can, but as of yet, I haven’t heard whether she and the doctor I ended up seeing yesterday have come to a consensus as what my best option is.

I am in the midst of applying for sliding fee services. Here is my testimony in its entirety.

Thank you, Chairman Wood and members of the committee.

My name is Cheryl Slavin and I live here in Boise. I’m here to testify on House Bill 464 and ask that you pass this bill.

I had a severe anxiety attack yesterday. It began during my stop to get some gas on the way to work and continued until I got to my car to call the doctor at lunch. “I’m experiencing severe anxiety,” I said to the receptionist. Which is unsurprising since I have three anxiety disorders and a mood disorder. The lady on the phone attempted to pre-qualify me for the sliding scale fee at my clinic, since I was unable to pay for insurance after premiums skyrocketed this year.

I proceeded to go to the doctor anyway since I could not breathe well. I have no idea this point how much this latest visit will end up costing, as I need to get the doctor paperwork to confirm or deny my eligibility for sliding fee services.

I do not qualify for Medicaid because my income is too high yet not high enough to qualify for a premium tax credit. I need to stay out of the hospital, I work and would like to be able to keep doing so—but without my medications I am disabled. And a likely candidate for repeated hospitalization according to more than one mental health professional.

This is just one example of what it is like living in Idaho’s insurance gap. The Idaho Health Care Plan would help by making premiums stable and coverage affordable for those of us in the gap. As the primary caretaker of my daughter, I need to remain as stable as I can for as long as I can. It is a gross injustice to allow thousands of similar situations to go on in our state.

I need more than luck and well wishes to help me through this. That is why I ask that you pass House Bill 464. Thank you.

~~~~

My doctor’s note is still in my purse. I have no idea what they are going to charge me but it was certainly less than the cost of my last trip to the ER. Luckily then I had insurance, but it cost me $1400 out of pocket. I couldn’t see paying more for health insurance than I presently do for rent. And the cost of my medications would be thousands a month without insurance.

So I’m in a bit of a pickle, still. I can only hope that this bill or similar legislation passes our House and goes on to truly help those very much in need of assistance.

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