Cancer Survivor on Health Care: ‘I Don’t Have to Worry’

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CLEVELAND -- For two-time cancer survivor, Steven Giallourakis, of Westlake, Thursday's ruling by the Supreme Court is an answered prayer.

"The best way to describe it is just relief. For me, just knowing that if I do get sick, I don't have to worry about how I am going to pay for the health care that I need," said Giallourakis.

President Obama's health care law allows Giallourakis, who is 21, to remain insured under his parent's plan.

And for his mother, Angie, that's peace of mind.

"We wanted him to have as normal of a life as possible, and we didn't want him to feel that stress that we felt ... but he was," said Angie.

Doctors discovered a tumor on Giallourakis' spine when he was 15.

He underwent surgery and chemo, and then years later, a bone marrow transplant for Leukemia.

However, he had to remain a full-time student to remain insured.

"There were days that I was so fatigued. For the first two months of me going to school, I had to wear a mask to class," said Giallourakis.

But he held on long enough until the new bill came in.

"This is a momentous occasion. What this means, is when you talk about adding 30 million people over the course of some number of months and years to the insured, over 200,000 in Northeast Ohio, alone ... that's big," said Dr. Eric Bieber, Chief Medical Officer at University Hospitals.

However, there is still work to be done.

"We still have the issue of quality. We still have the issue of cost. We also have the issue of access. We also have a shortage of doctors and nurses," said  Dr. Willie H. Oglesby, Professor of Health Policy and Management at Kent State University.

The act will bar low caps on the amount that insurance companies would pay for care and make it illegal for companies to discriminate against any patients with pre-existing conditions.

"Knowing that I won't have to pick a job purely because it has health insurance is a relief," added Giallourakis.

*For additional coverage on the historic ruling on health care, click HERE.

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