Karmel Allison has used her blog “Where is My Robot Pancreas?” to highlight her experiences living with Type 1 diabetes.
One post in particular, “What Obamacare Feels Like to a Diabetic,” caught the eye of the Obama administration and landed Allison, who is 20 weeks pregnant, a place behind the podium as the president again made his pitch for the Affordable Care Act.
While the focus of Monday’s event in the Rose Garden was supposed to be on Obama and the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, it was Allison who gained media attention – and went viral – after she nearly fainted during Obama’s speech.
The president was self-deprecating after Allison nearly took a spill on the Rose Garden.
“This is what happens when I talk too long,” Obama said.
The Southern California native spoke to CNN’s Piers Morgan about what went through her mind at that moment.
“Mostly, ‘Oh, no. Don’t faint.’ And then the next thing I knew I was being caught by the president and thinking, ‘Wow, that just happened.’ It was an incredible honor to be there and I’m really happy to have been there [Monday] to support the president as he takes a stand and reinforces the importance of the ACA and the act and how important health care is for all of us,” she said. “I’m extremely embarrassed that I fainted, but honored still to have been there and happy that he caught me.”
Morgan joked how Obama assisting Allison was “Obamacare at its finest.”
“It’s a fun metaphor, I suppose,” said Allison, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at a young age. “I think that as the president was saying today, Obamacare at its finest is my experience earlier. The reason I was there – I wrote a blog post about the fact that I am a Type 1 diabetic since I was 9, and since that time I’ve been lucky enough to be covered because I was covered before I was diagnosed but have never been able to switch coverage and have always lived with the fear that if something happens – if I want to move out of California, if I needed a job that was somewhere else – that might not be possible because it’s too expensive or I won’t be able to get coverage if I leave my current coverage.”
What did Obama say afterward?
“He asked how I was doing, made sure I was OK. I was extremely appreciative of that,” Allison told Morgan.
In her blog post about the Affordable Care Act, Allison said she had been with the same health insurance company, Kaiser Permanente, since before she was diagnosed with diabetes.
“I have therefore felt married to Kaiser; in Kaiser’s eyes, I do not have a pre-existing condition, whereas switching health insurance companies might expose me to being labeled with the big scarlet D for diabetic. Kaiser is pretty good as a health provider so long as you can find good doctors, and I am lucky enough to have lived in big cities with big hospitals where I have lots of choice. I am also lucky enough to have wanted to stay in California all this time, and to have a husband who is very good at talking his way through pharmacies and bureaucracies when I am busy weeping with frustration that they won’t give me the medication I have been prescribed. (That’s a story for another time, though,)” she wrote. “All that said, Kaiser raises its rates by 10 – 15% every year, and I don’t like the feeling that if I wanted to change, or needed to move to the East Coast, I would be in a very precarious position.”
Allison said she went to check out California’s health care exchanges on Oct. 1 out of curiousity but came out of the experienced impressed with her options.
“It’s an amazing feeling. After almost two decades of feeling tied to a single option– an option I like and am extremely grateful for, but still a single option — I felt liberated,” she wrote. “Even now, I get chills just thinking about that feeling of, ‘Hey, you’re just one of us now.’ It’s incredible. It’s profoundly American, to feel like I have choices and the freedom to move.”
Check out Piers Morgan's interview with Karmel Allison below: