A New Jersey mom says she posted her three-year-old son's heart surgery bill online to show how potential changes in the health care law could drastically increase out-of-pocket costs for those with life-threatening conditions.
Ali Chandra's son, Ethan, was born with a congenital heart defect known as heterotaxy. He's already had multiple surgeries which have been covered by health insurance.
Chandra is concerned that the existing ban on lifetime benefits caps — meaning insurers can stop paying expenses once medical bills reach a specified limit — may be eliminated as part of the ongoing health care law overhaul.
Chandra posted the staggering $231,115 healthcare bill for Ethan's open heart surgery, and recovery in the cardiac intensive care unit and on the cardiac floor
Chandra (pictured with Ethan) a registered nurse and mom-of-two, fears that if the caps are allowed to return, her three-year-old's life could be at stake
Chandra wrote that her son (pictured in hospital) had undergone four of these heart surgeries - and would require more going forward
Ali Chandra with her son Ethan, and her Canadian husband as well as their daughter
Chandra said her son 'blew past the million dollar mark' for his medical treatments a long time ago - unsurprising when the latest bill shows almost a quarter of a million dollars for one surgery and recovery
She is hoping to remind the Senate that the bill they are voting on has life or death consequences for real people - people like her young son (pictured showing one of the scars from a former surgery)
'The statistics you read aren't just numbers,' Chandra said, 'They're names and faces and little boys who stay up late catching lightning bugs'
"A lifetime cap on benefits is the same as saying, 'Sorry, you're not worth keeping alive anymore. You're just too expensive," she wrote in a Twitter post.
Chandra, a married registered nurse who also has a young daughter, recently posted the bill for Ethan's most recent open heart surgery. The family's share was $500, but she said it would have cost them $231,115 if they didn't have insurance.
Chandra wrote that her son has undergone four heart surgeries overall and will need more going forward. They also make regular visits to numerous doctors and must make emergency room visits trips for sepsis workups if his temperature rises above 100.4 degrees.
Ethan also takes five different prescription medications multiple times a day.
"None of this would be possible without insurance," she wrote in a Twitter post. "He blew past the million dollar mark long ago."