Letter: Medicare Advantage was vital in my case

February 2, 2023

Originally published in the Portland Tribune

Eight years ago, my life changed. Due to my diving accident, I went from enjoying a thriving, able-bodied career in real estate to facing an uncertain future as a quadriplegic. It was a moment that altered my physical, mental and emotional well-being, and unfortunately, it can happen to anyone.

As a result of this permanent disability, I found myself as the rare 32 year old eligible for Medicare. I’ve always been a self-reliant person and while I had to overcome some setbacks, I’m proud that I have been able to return to my career. A major factor in restoring my livelihood is being able to count on the high quality, integrated and cost effective care, I receive through my Medicare Advantage health insurance plan.

Through this process, I’ve learned a lot about health care and have started getting involved in legislative advocacy. Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with our new Congresswoman Lori Chavez-DeRemer to share my atypical, but unfortunately not rare, experience as a Medicare eligible quadriplegic. My health and future depends on continued coverage through Medicare Advantage and it was an honor to speak with Rep. Chavez-DeRemer. I was impressed with her interest in my case and knowledge of issues facing seniors and the disability community. I am excited for representation and look forward to working together to build support for vital programs like Medicare Advantage that allow people like me to thrive, work, and live as fully as possible.

James Lee, Colton