Feathered Bastard

PACH Wants You to Help a Phoenix Woman Save Her Arm

PACH and videographer Dennis Gilman join forces to help save Maria's arm.

With Republicans in command of both houses of U.S. Congress determined to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and with the U.S. Supreme Court's recently taking a case that could send "participating insurers into an actuarial death-spiral," according to Fortune magazine, it's instructive to visit the Dickensian world many of us soon may be living in.

You know, the one where you may lose your arm because you do not have access to proper medical care.

According to a study released in July by the Commonwealth Fund, a private foundation dedicated to improving healthcare, there are about 10 million fewer uninsured adults in America because of Obamacare.

But if GOPers have their druthers, those 10 million folks could be in the predicament that Maria is in.

A local cleaning woman, Maria is undocumented, which means she is not eligible for Medicaid. Nor can she participate in the ACA.

According to healthcare workers at Phoenix Allies for Community Health, a 501(c)3 non-profit which operates a free clinic near downtown, Maria recently suffered a bad fall, breaking her elbow in the process.

If she does not get the operation she needs, she will not regain the use of the injured arm, a frightening prospect for someone who survives and feeds her three children by doing manual labor for a living.

PACH is soliciting donations for the operation through an online fundraising site.

Part of the appeal states:

"Maricopa Medical Center is willing to do this surgery for a steep discount -- only about $6,800, of which she only needs to pay $3,400 up front. But that's way beyond Maria's ability to pay [right now she can't even buy groceries]."

Tax-deductible contributions are being accepted at youcaring.com/nonprofits/save-maria-s-broken-arm/260510.

Or you can become a donor to PACH, itself is a worthy cause, at azpach.org/index.php/donate.

The exclusion of the undocumented from our healthcare system is an enormous problem on its own, of course.

Those lacking sympathy for Maria's predicament because of her immigration status, should take note: You could easily be in Maria's spot one of these days, if the GOPers or the Supreme Court dismantle Obamacare, leaving millions of American citizens uninsured.

For those who think they'll never be in such need, I suggest that they visit a local food bank, where they can chat with people who once said the same thing of themselves.

Update 11/11/14: PACH has received enough donations to meet Maria's up-front costs. It's extending the fundraising campaign in hopes of covering the full price of the surgery.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons