My kid has cancer and ObamaCare is making everything worse

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‘Before ObamaCare went into effect, the private marketplace offered us a wide range of relatively inexpensive plans.’

Joe Biden has been running an ad in which he says he can’t imagine what it would be like to have a child with cancer and no health coverage. I don’t have to imagine. Under the health “reform” championed by Biden when he served as President Barack Obama’s vice president, I live that reality every day.

Twice over the past three years, ObamaCare has had no plans to sell us that covers little girls ravaged by cancer or recovering from that ordeal — and it might leave us floundering again.

In November 2015, my wife got the most dreadful call a parent can get. The doctor knew why our daughter Colette, then 2 ½ years old, hadn’t been feeling well: Blood work had revealed leukemia.

Thanks to ObamaCare, we were already in financial straits. In 2014, the law had eliminated a great plan we had had for years. Before ObamaCare went into effect, the private marketplace offered us a wide menu of relatively inexpensive plans that covered specialist care, even out of state.

Afterward, however, all that was left were increasingly costly plans with fewer benefits. Premiums swelled. In 2017, I took my family into the ObamaCare marketplace to escape at least the crushing premiums.

But things were about to get much worse than expensive. In mid-2017, President Trump merely suggested scrapping massive ObamaCare subsidies to ­insurance giants that only delivered lousy care at ever-greater cost. In response, every insurer in northern Virginia with a family plan pulled out for the following year.

That is, except one. But Cigna Connect wouldn’t cover Colette at ­Inova Fairfax, the one hospital in the region with a pediatric cancer ward. Under ObamaCare, our daughter was effectively without coverage for cancer.

Panicked, we called the politicians, the media and Cigna. We retained an attorney. Nothing changed. No full policy coverage from Cigna. Without options, I shut down part of my consulting business and started work at a friend’s organization for its group insurance — and got saddled with monthly premiums far in excess of what we could afford.

Thanks to the publicity and some strong-arming by Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), Cigna agreed to cover the hospital — but it was too late for us. Then, for 2020, we purchased a better plan from ­Anthem, newly returned to the ObamaCare marketplace. We thought we might be done with insurance crises.

How naïve. In mid-March, with the novel coronavirus sweeping the country, Colette’s cancer doctors told us Anthem had decided that, in two weeks, it would no longer cover her clinic. Once again, thanks to ObamaCare, we were left without coverage for our daughter recovering from cancer.

Perhaps the marketplace would grant us a waiver to buy the Cigna plan still for sale in our ZIP code? Nope. So, like in 2017, we were forced to turn to Warner, to bully Anthem into its covering the clinic — at least through April 1, 2021.

After that? Who knows.

Open enrollment for next year starts Nov. 1. I could beg Warner to gear up for another round of veiled threats to a private company, to force one to cover us. Perhaps President Trump could issue an executive order prohibiting the insurance companies from pulling out of the market midyear, leaving children stranded.

But none of these is the right long-term answer. We must repeal ObamaCare and put into the hands of Americans real, automatically renewable insurance products curated to individual needs. Too many Colettes will suffer, and possibly die, waiting for the personal carve-outs only a few of us can ever get anyway.

To solve the inherent instability of ObamaCare, the state could just take over all medical facilities. It’s called single-payer. But then we would all be at the mercy of the same government bureaucracy that has been working for years to slowly kill my daughter.

And that has taught us a lesson. Turns out there is a nightmare worse than one’s watching cancer brutalize one’s little girl. It’s having Obama’s law — which his vice president rightly claims as his own — collude with the disease against her.

Mr. Biden, you might try imagining what that feels like.

Christopher B. Briggs is public-affairs counsel with the Independent Institute in Oakland, Calif.

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