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Pre-existing conditions

West Virginia reports more than 15,000 COVID-19 cases and adds another thousand a week. The number of deaths exceeds 350. After only six months of experience, COVID-19 long-haulers report 10 percent “recovered” may have long-term effects. These include fatigue and heart and lung problems.

The COVID-19 pandemic shows uncanny similarities to the polio epidemics of the mid-20th Century. Most people who contract either disease have no symptoms, some suffer long-term effects, and a small percentage die. With polio, nerves in the spinal column are attacked and denervated muscles are paralyzed. If the chest muscles are paralyzed, patients are put in an iron lung. With COVID-19 multiple organs may be attacked. If the lungs are attacked supplemental oxygen and a respirator are used. With each disease, an individual develops a unique set of conditions, and doctors have no “wonder cure.” They treat symptoms and then must rely on rehabilitation and natural recovery.

COVID-19 is too new to understand its late effects. The late effects of polio were diagnosed as Post Polio Syndrome in the ’80s. PPS develops only after many years of “clinical stability” when new pain, weakness, and fatigue appear. The cause is still not understood. As with PPS in the ’80s, COVID-19 long-haulers are being met with: “This is new. It’s all in the head. We don’t know how to handle your case.”

Both polio and COVID-19 must be listed as pre-existing conditions, and pre-existing conditions affect nearly every aspect of life. Where will I work? Will anyone hire me? Will I have a family? Pre-existing conditions are also expensive. How much money is needed? When? Can I get insurance?

What is our government doing?

Our U.S. senators have delayed passing any COVID-19 aid and are instead rushing to name a new justice to the Supreme Court. This new justice is expected to join in overturning the Affordable Care Act, which requires medical insurance to cover pre-existing conditions.

The West Virginia Attorney General has signed onto this suit against the ADA. The suit is scheduled in the Supreme Court right after the November election.

If this suit is successful, pre-existing conditions will no longer be covered by insurance.

Everyone in West Virginia with a pre-existing condition, even the rapidly increasing 15,000 newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases, is in danger of losing medical insurance!

Warren Peascoe

Vienna

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