If Freddie Effinger had been allowed to stay on his parents' health insurance policy, he wouldn't have had to beg for his life when cancer struck him at the age of 23 in 2007.
In six months, the new health care reform law will require insurance companies to permit parents to keep their kids on the family plan until they turn 26. It's one of the easiest-to-explain reforms and Senate Democrats are promoting it with a new video starring Effinger.
"I'm terrified that this thing is going to kill me and I can't afford to be treated," Effinger recalls telling the hospital that diagnosed his cancer. "I begged them, literally begged them for my life."
The hospital declared Effinger indigent -- as a law student at the University of Alabama, he had no assets, no income -- and treated him for free.
"After begging, the hospital said yes and I'm alive today," he recounted. "I have bills, I have debt, but I'm alive. But there are individuals that the hospitals would have told them no. What would have happened to me had the hospital told me no is the frightening question I think about all the time. And the answer is, I wouldn't have survived."
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