Eugene man: Obamacare could have saved my life

      EUGENE, Ore. Critics of the Affordable Care Act are plentiful, but one Eugene man says if the program was implemented earlier, it would have saved his life.

      Richard Streeter, 47, worked in the RV industry for most of his career.

      While health care coverage used to be standard, his employer stopped offering it in 2008.

      He looked at several plans, but his age and medical history prevented him from gaining access to affordable insurance.

      So Streeter went without, often putting off going to the doctor.

      In September, blood in his stools forced him to a Eugene clinic.

      The doctor told him he needed a colonoscopy, but the $1,300 price tag was too much for Streeter to afford.

      He found an empathetic doctor in McMinnville who offered the procedure for much less.

      But the diagnosis was worse than anybody could have imagined.

      Streeter has terminal colon cancer.

      He said his condition could have been prevented - and his life saved - if only affordable care was available sooner.

      He worries that if Cover Oregon's problems with enrolling residents for health insurance continue, many more may be at risk. Many more people may put off visiting their doctors. Many more may face a bleak diagnosis.

      According to a report released Wednesday, out of 48 states, Oregon was in last place.

      And while Cover Oregon has set up 6 statewide "application fairs," nobody has yet been fully enrolled in the program.

      Approximately 145,000 Oregonians health care would have been canceled at the end of the year because of failing to meet federal standards.

      However, President Obama announced Thursday that individuals could keep their plans for one year, as long as they were made aware of exactly what their coverage included.