Fighting cancer, being pregnant, suffering from Crohn’s disease - before the Affordable Care Act, these conditions often meant you couldn’t get health insurance. Obama care was a lifeline for people with pre-existing medical conditions, a life line they feared they were about to lose.
Laura Waite was denied health care insurance not once, but twice. Waite was born with psoriasis so severe, it made her an outcast growing up.
“People don’t want to touch the sick girl, don’t want you in the same pool, at the slumber party, they don’t want to be around you,” she said.
Waite spent her lonely adolescence tinkering on cars with her dad, so it’s not surprising she and her husband wound up owning an auto repair shop in Renton.
“We’ve been in business 16 years now,” she said. “It was our dream from the time we got married.”
But in 2010, Waite got a shock—Regence denied her application for health insurance. Her psoriasis and arthritis tipped the scales.
“That was one of the worst days of my life. As I recall, I actually cried,” she said.
“I was certain we were going to have to shut down the business and go get corporate jobs where we get group coverage and they don’t scrutinize you so much,” she said.
But timing was on her side. The Affordable Care Act had just been enacted. She was invited to apply for a pre-existing condition insurance plan through the state and was accepted.
“It means I don’t have to face whatever is going on in my body with fear,” she said.
Waite says she’s been terrified the Supreme Court would throw out the Affordable Care Act, just as a new disease was surfacing.
“I’ve had eight seizures altogether in the past six weeks - had MRI, EEG, CAT scan,” she said.
Waite doesn’t know what’s wrong. She does know that she can keep seeing the doctors who will help her find out, because her health insurance isn’t going away.
“Major day in my life - major day,” said Waite. “I’m just thrilled.”
KING 5's Linda Byron and Liza Javier contributed to this report.