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Tuesday, March 26 , 2019, 2:41 am | Fair 48º


Capps Visits Jodi House Brain Injury Support Center

Congresswoman talks with members and staff about the health insurance reform law

In recognition of Brain Injury Awareness Month, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, visited the Jodi House Brain Injury Support Center in Santa Barbara on Friday to highlight the center’s service to brain injury survivors.

Capps spoke to about 50 Jodi House members and staff.

“It was a great experience to visit Jodi House and see firsthand the incredible support and services the dedicated staff provides to neighbors in our Santa Barbara community who have suffered brain injury,” Capps said. “Congratulations to Jodi House on its 30th anniversary.”

Capps also highlighted how the health insurance reform law benefits Jodi House members and brain injury survivors. The law bans insurance companies from imposing annual and lifetime benefit limits that can be reached in the event of a catastrophic injury or illness.

“The members of Jodi House also benefit tremendously from health insurance reform,” she said. “No one should go bankrupt because they get sick. The members of Jodi House are a prime example of persons who experience a catastrophic illness who will no longer be subject to annual or lifetime benefit caps on their coverage.”

Jodi House members spoke about their experiences and the impact of traumatic brain injury on their lives and how the reforms enacted by health insurance reform would benefit them. Cheryl Hermann, Jodi House program director, shared her story.

“As I was driving to pick up my son at school, I was involved in a car accident. I was stopped for a car that was making a lefthand turn and a young driver ran into my car. Following the accident, my left eye turned inwards, half of my vision was lost, my speech and thinking skills were scrambled and I had incoordination on my right side.

“When my medical bills exceeded our coverage, I could no longer afford rehabilitation. As we pressed for the care I needed, our insurance company dropped us. I was unable to work, so our family income was reduced by over half. We used all of our savings, and chose to sell our home to pay for my remaining medical bills — about a quarter of a million dollars. Now we rent. All in all, my recovery took more than eight years, but I am one of the fortunate ones who have recovered.

“If health insurance reforms had been in place after my traumatic brain injury, we might still have our home and the savings we had for retirement. Unfortunately, this is the norm for people recovering from brain injury. It is simply unaffordable. I am fortunate I can start over. But no family should have to sacrifice everything for basic care.”

— Ashley Schapitl is press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

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