This is part of an ongoing series that gives Bronx writers a chance to share their personal stories on the state of healthcare in America.
By Alessandra Biaggi
September 4, 2018
I’m Alessandra Biaggi and I support universal healthcare in New York State as well as the NY Health Act. I’m sending my story to thisistheBronX because my family is typical of many of the people in district 34 whose vote I seek.
I have many healthcare stories but the one I want to share with you today is about my father who has Parkinson’s disease.
In 2012 my Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and so, from that point forward, the number of pills that he’s had to take has increased and decreased depending upon how well he’s doing each month. My dad is on my mom’s health insurance plan. My mom’s health insurance, which is actually through a public hospital, does not have a rider because it’s very expensive to add prescription drugs.
So my dad is over the age of 65 and can include Medicare Part D which is for prescription drugs. Even including that, with his health insurance, there are still costs my parents have to bear as a result of my dad’s medicine. And so it’s been really interesting to watch as, each month, pills are changed. And sometimes a pill that was $500 one month, the next month $1400, and the next month maybe it’s $2000.
Because my dad has noticed this —and has paid very close attention to the amount that its been going up and down — he’s gotten on the phone to his insurance companies to try to make sure that the pill is actually being priced properly. So what we’re noticing is that one month it could be Schedule 1, the second month it could be Schedule 2, and what that really does is make it a different cost share.
So here we have two people, my mom who is working in a public hospital in my district and my dad who is a lawyer, two very smart individuals, who are having a very difficult time navigating through the healthcare system when it comes to prescription drugs.
And of course, as time goes on, this is a progressive disease and they’re going to have to understand additional things like long-term care and what they can afford there. So I’m just watching both of them really struggle, honestly, to figure out what the best alternative or method is to make sure that my dad’s needs are met at a very basic level. It is not only disappointing but I know it we can do so much better.
The NY Health Act will not only relieve stress for so many families across the state, but it will give people peace of mind and let everyone age with dignity — which we should be doing no matter what, but especially in a state like NY, that is not only predominantly Democratic but because it has progressive values. We should be taking care of every New Yorker in this state.
A lifelong district 34 resident, Alessandra Biaggi is running for State Senate.
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