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I'm sitting alone at a Williamsburg's bar miffed at my boyfriend. He isn't communicating the way we talked about. It has me thinking about other serious issues we could face come November. Our domestic problems will be nothing compared to what will happen if Mitt Romney is elected president.


I guess our problems were a bit more serious for him—I got a break up e-mail. Lousy move on his part but a motivation to really see the magnitude of this coming election and how it will affect people like me, living with HIV.


My history with Insurance companies and Social Security Disability is long, so I'll start from the beginning. I found out I had blood disorder called Hereditary Coproporphyria in 2001, shortly after my mother was diagnosed. When your body produces red blood cells it creates neurotoxins and enzymes to kill those toxins off, with Porphyria your missing the enzymes, which basically means you body is constantly poisoning itself.

Although it's not curable, there is a treatment called Hemetin, which cost nearly $2000 a vial. A normal round of treatment consists a week to (in some cases) months, of three to four day infusions. You are also given a shit ton of expensive medications to treat the related symptoms.

Before my mom passed away in 2003 from complications of disease, her medical expenses were a bit over $1.5 million dollars, reaching past the cap insurance company would pay. Nearly half of her life insurance money that came after she died went to pay off those expenses.

After her death, my dad paid my insurance for a few years. When I turned twenty I applied for, and was awarded, Social Security Disability and have continued to rely on that “safety net” for the last seven years. In 2009, I found out I was HIV positive. The already ridiculously expensive medical bills became three times worse with the addition of antivirals and other new medications having to do with the combination of diseases.

I'm lucky to have the coverage I do--I don't have to pay that much in insurance premiums but only receive about $500 a month cash assistance and can only make an additional $220 a month before I am at risk of loosing/having benefits reduced or have to start paying more. Which isn't really an option, seeing that your not permitted to have more than something like $1000 in saving at any given time. It's a trap. And a necessity for millions of Americans like me.

Nearly 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV; 40% of HIV positive people receive their HIV medication through Medicaid. You cannot be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition and the cap on how much an insurance company has to pay towards your medical expenses is gone.

So what would a Romney/Ryan administration mean? It would devastate Medicare and Medicaid. A study released on Tuesday reports that Paul Ryan’s budget plan would end up cutting $1.7 billion from Medicaid, dropping enrollments by nearly 50%.

I talked with my Dad about this and what it was like to be a caretaker for a spouse with a serious, chronic disease. “There's sadness,” he said, “ in part just because you're exhausted. Sadness at the current state of life. Sadness just that a lot of the happiness seems gone, not permanently gone, but somewhere else far off. Maybe you'll be back there one day. And of course there's fear. Fear that all this chaos and exhaustion will never end. And fear that it will.”

I guess what frightens me most is the possibility of being alone and sick, being my mother and father—the sick and the caretaker.


Like the email I got from my ex, the Romney campaign is blurring their true intentions. But unlike with my relationship, I know what’s coming. If don’t to be without insurance-less I have to vote for President Obama.

Brad Crelia is a writer and editor. He is a founder of hivster.com

image: "Flags," 1986, Brian Buczak