Nathan’s Story – Healthcare Repeal Threatens People Living with HIV

Personal Tenacity and Gratitude:
my perspective of the medical care currently available in Minnesota.

By: Nathan Aaron Place

Time guarantees change but basic human necessities like access to health care should not be determined or calculated by your socio-economic standing. Health care is a basic human right. A right for everyone. The pending changes and laws regarding health insurance are myopic at best and greatly skewed in favor of the young and adult populations with no pre-existing conditions. The Senate bill also hands a major tax cut to the wealthy.

I am a middle-age gay white male who also has HIV. I have also survived cancer and have suffered two traumatic brain injuries. In the past, I was more than able to afford market-rate insurance, but physical ailments and poor life choices forced me to file bankruptcy several years back; with that economic reality weighing on me I decided to relocate here in 2013 from San Francisco, California. This move was done unawares of the health care available to medical indigents and others who have fallen through the slippery net we call ‘capitalism.’ Over the last four years I have needed access to a multitude of services ranging from chemical dependency treatment, mental health services, infectious disease consultations, and of course medications. I also benefit greatly from several caseworkers who work for two notable state agencies. On another note, I routinely advocate for the Minnesota Aids Project as a Positive Leader.

Life is good here and through this care, I can restart my life and initiate a mid-life career change. If the proposed health care bills pass I fear for my health, wellbeing, and for the loss of services I have grown to depend on. The proposed legislation not only decimates Medicaid, which supports me directly through MinnesotaCare but gives insurance companies the opportunity to charge individuals who can be classified as middle age five times the normal insurance premium rate.

If other first-world nations can offer universal health care, why can’t we?

California has put it on the table, why can’t we nationally?

Tenacity has been a dear companion for me over the last four years and gratitude is its handmaiden. I am thankful for the services offered here and it encouraged me to step back up to the stage we call life. If the health care reality was deficient when I arrived I know my story would be sharply different.