Thanks guys, I'm really excited.
My AS has definitely progressed over the last 6 years (diagnosed in 2004). I've lost some range of motion in my SI joints and my neck, my shoulders, ribs and probably a lot more. I've been able to work a bit, but have been a stay-at-home dad for the last 11 years. So, in the end, I'm not sure how much I can work and what kind of work I can do.
I've been able to be a part-time valet which includes lots of walking and getting in and out of cars, and while I do have bad days, my body is performing remarkably well (although I haven't flared since taking the job in Jan). But I had to leave the retail work I had been doing because I cannot stand in one place for very long at all. As long as I keep moving, I can get by okay.
I've applied to a school to become a radiologist with a goal to eventually be a Cat Scan Technician. It's a two-year program. I'm not sure if my body will hold out or if I'll be physically able to perform the work, but the survivor benefits from my wife's passing in 1998 run out in a few years, so I need to find something. If I cannot do the work, I fear I'll be in a position where I'll have to apply for disability, but I fear even more so that I'll be denied. First thing's first though; let's see if I can get into the school, and then let's see if I can do the work day in and day out.
As for the initial benefits of the new law as they apply to me, I'm not sure how the risk pool (the one that kicks in in 180 days)for those with pre-existing conditions will work, but I'm guessing it'll be similar to what will be in place once everything takes effect in 2014. At that point, those who cannot afford the insurance will get subsidies so that they can. But I'm not looking for subsidies, I'll be willing to pay; it's just that up until now, nobody would cover me because of my AS -- that is no longer an issue! But as to cost for the coverage and the details, I don't know yet. I imagine they'll send out an information sheet to everyone indicating the benefits and when they'll begin and how to take advantage of it. It takes time to put this kind of reform in place (hell, it took over 40 years to get here, and then over a year of debate under this president to get the law passed; now we have to implement it!).
As for cost containment, there are definitely provisions in the law to protect against that, after all, that's the whole point of the reform, lol. I'm sure the insurance companies will still try to jack up costs, but the law is designed to prevent the kind of dramatic increases we've seen here in the states for a long, long time.
Sadly it's not a Canadian style plan, but we'll leave that for the next big push whenever that can come (had Clinton been able to pass what Obama passed, Obama might have been able to get us all the way to single payer or at least a public option, but the nature of politics is what it is, so I feel lucky to have what we ended up with...so are 32 million other people!).
But thanks again. This is going to help so many people, both short term and long term (even those who opposed it).