Plane crash survivor grateful healthcare repeal failed
When the twin-engine Piper PA 30 Chan Valentine was a passenger on went down, people who happened to be in the remote area near Haines quickly jumped into action, using ropes, chains and a backhoe to pull the wreckage closer to the shore as a rising tide threatened Valentine's life.
“Oddly enough, it's weird to say but, I was fortunate that on May 27 I was in a plane crash,” Valentine said.
Looking back, everything about that day was lucky for Valentine-- the nearby good Samaritans, the backhoe and even the crash itself.
“When [doctors] were checking to see what all was wrong with me, there was [an] incidental finding of a brain tumor that I didn't know I had,” explained Valentine.
He had no symptoms before the crash. Now, he’s had the tumor removed, one of multiple surgeries since the crash, and plans to start chemo and radiation soon.
“My insurance is through the Affordable Care Act so, that's the only way I would be able to afford insurance and, if the law got changed, I have a million preexisting conditions now,” said Valentine.
Even once Valentine is cancer free, he'll need MRIs every three to six months for the rest of his life. The average cost of one MRI scan is $2,000 to $3,000 or more.
Before the crash, he had been covered by the ACA for years, paying premiums but never needing to go to the doctor. Now, that’s all changed and watching Washington D.C. from hospital rooms this summer has been a worrisome distraction.
“It's been weird the last week that my biggest concern with a ‘C’ was congress and not cancer,” said Valentine.
He’s done what he can, calling his lawmakers repeatedly to push them to reject the latest repeals and urging others to do the same through posts on Facebook.
“Part of it is probably an attempt to do anything they can to discredit anything President Obama did, as well as fulfill some campaign promises and things like that, and save their rich buddies some money,” said Valentine, of the GOP’s numerous failed repeal efforts.
He says he’s grateful for the handful of senators who have stood in the way of numerous repeal options that would put him at risk of losing coverage, including Senator Lisa Murkowski during a previous effort, and Senators Susan Collins, Rand Paul and John McCain this week.
“I think it would be hard to go through a health issue and then vote to prevent people from being able to deal with the same thing,” said Valentine, of McCain’s recently announced brain cancer diagnosis.
With healthcare tabled for now and the GOP setting sights on tax reform, Valentine can now focus on his personal health battle.
You can follow or contribute to his journey here.