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Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

Real Voices: Your Weekly Dose from the HCFA Helpline

Real Voices: Your Weekly Dose from the HCFA Helpline

October 2, 2008

Every week we highlight the voices of real people that contact our Helpline every day. Once a week you will be introduced to a family whose life has changed for the better due to health reform. If you or anyone you know needs assistance applying for free or low-cost health care coverage, please contact our Helpline online, or call 1-800-272-4232. Here’s this week’s story:

About two years ago Mario contacted the Helpline looking for help filling out the state’s application for health insurance help. The state had just started a new subsidized health insurance program called Commonwealth Care, and he was looking for some guidance on how to proceed in order to be eligible for the new program. He and his wife had been uninsured and not getting proper medical treatment for many years because they just couldn’t afford to buy a private health insurance plan.

Right after Mario and his wife, Eva, enrolled into a health insurance plan, she had an emergency, and almost died. After some exams, the doctors diagnosed her with a heart condition and she had to have a pacemaker placed in her heart. She says that for years she felt tired and lacked of energy, but didn’t see a doctor because she didn’t have health insurance. The family just didn’t have an affordable option available to them until Commonwealth Care.

Mario also has health conditions that used to affect him daily because he was unable to get proper treatment. For several years, he used to be in pain constantly, sometimes it would hurt so much that he couldn’t walk. Once he secured Commonwealth Care coverage, his new doctor gave him an exam, and his pain was diagnosed as a prostrate cancer. Luckily Mario had his prostate cancer removed in time to prevent any future problems. He also once had to quit his job as a butcher because of a serious bout of pneumonia. Instead of getting regular care for sicknesses that could be easily treated, Mario waited until the illness got so bad that it turned into pneumonia.

Mario is so thankful for all of the help he found at the Health Care for All’s Helpline and especially for the subsidized, quality and affordable health insurance that his family can count on today. Here is what he has to say:

“Today I feel great! If it wasn’t for health reform and the Helpline, my wife and I would be uninsured and helpless. We wouldn’t bet getting treatment for our medical conditions because we wouldn’t be able to afford private insurance. Everything related to my surgery was wonderful. The doctor said that the surgery takes a year for full recuperation, but I can already tell that I’m very much better. We are very happy also about my wife’s heart treatment. We are all amazed about it because she was almost dead, and it all brought her back to life.”

Monika Lira Malhoit
Helpline Counselor