Michael Riotto took a trip recently from his Doylestown home to Washington, D.C. It wasn’t a sightseeing excursion. He was there to advocate for healthcare affordability, an issue that resonates with him personally. Mike Black reported on the trip and its impact for WFMZ 69 News.
Riotto, diagnosed with a rare blood disease, was part of Patients Rising Now. It’s a D.C.–based advocacy group working to continually give voice to stories that speak to the crushing financial burdens of wellness in the U.S. The intent is to enact policy change to relieve the strain.
This particular event was named “We the Patients.” It was a gathering of 60 everyday people with medical issues, including Riotto, speaking passionately about the financial setbacks that accompany their physical ones.
“Everybody gets sick at some point in their lives, unfortunately. And healthcare needs to be equal and fair to everyone. And right now, it’s not,” Riotto said.
“There are people’s co-pays out there that are over $2,000 a month. How do you choose? How do you choose between your mortgage or your medicine? It’s just so unfair.”
As if medical and monetary worries aren’t enough, Riotto also cited an emotional toll.
“I have to say one of the things that’s missed in all of healthcare is your mental health. Dealing with a chronic disease every single day of your life, it’s difficult sometimes,” he admitted.
Although there were no takeaway solutions, the visitors hope that voicing their concerns will lead to action.
More on Michael Riotto is at WFMZ 69 News.