Social Justice

Our experience with Obamacare

The following is a letter sent to Representative Rodney Davis, Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk, and President Obama, as well as to the editorial section of the News Gazette.


This past Monday while driving his motorcycle back to Champaign from Makanda, IL, our 23-year-old son, Eric, was hit by a minivan. His left femur was broken and the ankle and foot were shattered. But he had no trauma to his head, spine, or other appendages. He remained alert as he was moved to an ambulance, and subsequently to a helicopter. He was flown from Effingham, where the accident happened, to St. John’s hospital in Springfield. His femur has been repaired and will recover, but he will loose his lower leg below his knee. With prosthesis, he will likely be able to do almost everything he had been doing as an active young man.

While in the emergency room awaiting the surgery to repair the femur and assess the rest of the leg, he asked how much this all would cost. Fortunately, this accident happened after the portion of Obamacare took effect that allows children to remain on their parent’s plan until they are 26. I grew up rural poor and did not have insurance. But I’ve been fortunate to be part of the upwardly mobile in the U.S. and now have good insurance through my position as a senior research scientist at the University of Illinois. When I cut my finger to the bone in an accident as a child, I had my uncle, who had been a medic in Korea, wrap it at home. Now, my son can receive world-class care from the doctors, nurses, and therapists here at St. John’s without having the stress of long-term financial debt looming.

My work through the University has brought me into engagement with many community members who will be benefiting from Obamacare. This week, our family personally saw benefits of the plan. The traumatic event of the accident will be life changing but ultimately will not keep our son from achieving his dreams of becoming a leader within a community helping to build a more sustainable approach to agriculture. Trying to piecemeal together funds to cover the costs of the hospital stay, surgeries, prosthesis, and extended therapy from his vehicle insurance, federal programs, and bank loans, would have been crippling. Obamacare is not perfect and needs modifications to become better. It needs participants from both sides of the isle to come together with a critical eye to strengthen good components, add missing aspects, and remove unworkable pieces. What it does not need is to be defunded. All of us benefit when people, not just vehicles and homes, have quality insurance.

Martin and Angie Wolske

Update 10/3: Eric wanted to add his personal thanks to this message…

2013-10-03 14.04.43

Update 10/5:

* our response to Representative Davis
* An article mentioning our experience that ran in the Independent
* Eric’s I am Obamacare picture in the Huffington Post

9 thoughts on “Our experience with Obamacare

  1. Thanks you for sharing your heartache and your gratitude. It will no doubt help some people understand what good can come from the
    Affordable Care Act.

  2. Hear here! Well said. I am thankful for people like you who continue to share your stories. No, Obamacare isn’t perfect (partly because rather than work on its real issues, a certain group of lawmakers did and continue to do everything they can to kill it altogether), but it’s a start, and about darned time, too.

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