(NEW YORK) — Mike McCready, the lead guitarist for the ’90s grunge band Pearl Jam, tells a personal story of his own pre-existing medical condition during a video in which he urges voters to cast their ballot for President Obama on Nov. 6.
McCready suffers from Crohn’s disease, a chronic illness of the gastrointestinal tract. In a video released Monday on Pearl Jam’s official YouTube channel and entitled “Life is a Pre-existing Condition,” he speaks about his personal struggles with insurance companies and how the Affordable Care Act has affected him.
“I’ve been denied coverage two times in my life,” McCready says, as he wanders through a wooded area. “And it’s after I’ve been in a big, successful rock band. I have met a lot of people who have been denied coverage who don’t have the resources to fight insurance companies, and they shouldn’t have to do that.”
“Because of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, we’re about to have health care for everyone. It really means that, you know, for myself, I have a pre-existing condition and I feel like I have some hope. Anybody that doesn’t have the kind of means that I have will have it too,” he said.
The video was produced with McCready’s friend, filmmaker Jesse Dylan. It ends with encouraging voters to end discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions by casting their ballots on election day.
McReady isn’t the only Pearl Jam member supporting Obama. Last month, lead singer Eddie Vedder was spotted at a $20,000 per plate Obama fundraising dinner in Florida.
McCready went public with his illness in 2003 while he was on tour promoting Pearl Jam’s album Riot Tour.
Speaking to the Northwest Chapter of the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America in 2003, McCready described what it was like to live with Crohn’s while on the road. “Playing onstage, I’m always aware of where the bathrooms are,” he admits. “When Crohn’s hits, I have to run, or it won’t be pretty.”
But the issues surrounding chronic illness have become especially salient this election cycle with Republican Mitt Romney promising to dismantle the Affordable Care Act without clarifying if he would keep the protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
Romney’s website says the candidate will fight to “prevent discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions who maintain continuous coverage.” There is still confusion on whether or not this will keep in place the protections for people who are currently uninsured, as they have not had continuous coverage.
Romney said in the first debate that he had a plan to deal with pre-existing conditions, but did not go into detail on how it would address those who have had significant gaps in their coverage.
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