Sara in Maryland
I am a physician, and the ACA allows me to document better and more fully. I no longer need to worry that if a person is designated as for example having acne and they have a serious condition later, they will be denied insurance for a preexisting condition.
Sara in Maryland
I am a physician. I have a patient with AIDS who is doing great on er HIV medications. No other medical problems. She works for a large company and enjoys her work but has not liked her bosses. She wants to leave and start her own consulting business and has been planning this for years. With the ACA, no problem — her large company has insurance currently, and she can go on the individual marketplace. Without the ACA, she leaves her company, can't find affordable individual insurance, can't pay for her very expensive HIV medications, and is back in the hospital (or worse, i.e., dying) within months. She is not leaving her job.
Tracey in Maryland
In 2011, I began dialysis due to End Stage Kidney Disease.. Before dialysis, and well into it, I worked as a preschool teacher, a notoriously low-paying profession. In 2007, when I changed jobs, I lost my employer-based health insurance. After one year of COBRA, a local insurance person and good friend of ours told me about the Maryland State Health Insurance Plan. Through that plan, I was able to obtain quality, affordable insurance. When the ACA began, the MSHIP plan ended. In a meeting with a member of Howard County’s Health Dept. to figure out how to replace my insurance under the ACA, he told me that because of my end-stage kidney disease, I probably would qualify for Medicare. He was right. I also have a supplemental plan (Care First) and a drug plan (AARP), and my parents help pay the premiums for those. In 2015, I had to stop working because of exhaustion caused by dialysis. I then qualified for disability. In June 2016, I had a kidney transplant. Medicare will continue to insure me for three years after the transplant. Our hope is that by then, I will be back to work, but my biggest concern is that without the ACA, my pre-existing condition will prevent me from finding health insurance.What will I do then?
Debbie in New Jersey
I am a 48-year-old woman with chronic health issues that require me to visit doctors every few weeks and take prescription medications. I suffer from chronic migraines, which would prevent me from working entirely were it not for the medications I take. I also have some herniated discs in my back, so I see an osteopath every few weeks for treatment so I can function without pain. I am self-employed and run two businesses. I purchase my coverage on the federal ACA exchange. Before the ACA, I had nowhere to buy affordable insurance coverage that would actually cover my health issues. Repealing the ACA will have a devastating impact on small businesses and the self-employed, especially those of us with health problems. I am terrified that I won't be able to afford coverage as I inch closer to the 50-64 age bracket. And if the ACA is repealed and there is no marketplace for me to purchase insurance, I will be forced to close my businesses.
Stephanie in Massachusetts
I was born with hip dysplasia. I had surgery to correct it at 9 months old. At best, the issue was corrected to 85% of what a normal hip can do. In college, I had an active lifestyle and experienced lots of hip pain. I underwent four separate surgeries to fix cartilage that tore because of my dysplasia. That meant four sets of pre-op AND post-op MRIs or other scans, four sets of post-op hospital stays.
In 2012, I had a Periacetabular Osteotomy (PAO) to correct my dysplasia one last time. if it didn't work, I'd need a hip replacement. It was an invasive surgery with a long recovery: 1 week in the hospital post-op, multiple PT appointments, 4 months out of work (and on short-term disability), and many follow-up appointments with scans and tests.
I experienced a severe complication 1 month post-op which resulted in 2 separate ambulance rides, 2 sets of scans and ultrasounds (the issue wasn't properly diagnosed the first time), and emergency exploratory abdominal surgery. I almost died because of that complication. The incredible staff at Yale New Haven saved my life. After another hospital stay and more follow-ups, I recovered and underwent surgery one final time 7 months post-op to remove hardware installed during the PAO.
In just 27 years, my family and I racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. In recent years, insurance covered everything but my deductibles so ultimately, I paid less than $5k.
I'm honestly not sure what repeal of the ACA means for me, but I guarantee it'll make life harder for a lot of people. I was lucky to have insurance that covered my health issues. Under Trumpcare, I don't know that I could say the same. I'm guaranteed to be considered a pre-existing condition because of my dysplasia (though corrected, and without issue for five years now), and because the emergency surgery I had after the PAO was to remove an ovarian cyst that had hemorrhaged. They couldn't save my ovary, so I expect that complicates things if I ever decide to start a family. Trumpcare has vowed to increase premiums and lower coverage for pregnancies and maternity care. This will effect me even more so because of my reproductive complications.
Please, vote No on any bill that repeals the ACA. Save my care. Save care for millions of Americans.
Tegan in Ohio
It would put me at risk of losing coverage because of a genetic pre-existing condition. Congenital dilated cardiomyopathy killed my grandfather, nearly killed my aunt, killed my sister, and nearly killed my brother. When my brother, a 12 year old at the time, needed a heart transplant, doctors told our parents that the insurance company could simply decide to not cover the procedure. They had buried a toddler just 4 years earlier, and they were faced with the possibility of losing another child. No family should face that kind of pain and fear.
We need to ensure that all Americans have access to care. You can't predict when you will get sick, or injured, and you can't predict when a dangerous genetic mutation may emerge in your family. How we treat our fellow Americans is a measure of who we are as a people.
Shirley in Massachusetts
My second daughter was born with liver disease — biliaryatresia and congenital hepatic fibrosis — which was diagnosed nine weeks after her birth and required surgeries and lots and lots of medications and rehabilitations. Pediatricians, cancer specialists, heart doctors and family physicians all agree that the House and the Senate bills on health care reform will make things worse, not better.
I request that the Senate Better Care Reconciliation Bill be amended to make sure that everyone across the country has coverage for congenital and pre-existing conditions that includes all ten essential services as defined in the Affordable Care Act, that annual premiums and deductibles not be increased more than the overall percentage of annual inflation, and that everyone who qualifies currently for Medicaid will not find that their coverage is reduced or eliminated.
Sheila in Illinois
ACA allowed us to start a new business in spite of the fact my husband was diagnosed in 1992 with hepatitis C after receiving a tainted blood transfusion in the '70s. We became "job creators" because we were finally able to get coverage for him outside of employer provided coverage. I have been self employed for 28 years but have gotten a job because at the age of 61 the fear of losing affordable healthcare at my age could ruin our finances. I have an opportunity to run for county office but can't even make that decision until the GOP decides to leave ACA alone. Time for single payer!
Meet Carter. He loves cars, swimming, and building blocks. Carter has Ataxia Telangiectasia. He requires therapy (speech, occupational, and physical), orthotics, compression vest, glasses, and nebulizer machine. He see’s infectious disease, pulmonologist, and neurologist. His disease is progressive so his needs will only increase.
Meet Myka. Myka is seven years old. She loves the Girl Scouts, ice skating, and playing with her friends. Myka was born with a congenital heart defect. She has had two open heart surgeries and will need a third in the future. What does access to affordable, quality healthcare mean to you?
Leonore in New York
I have Parkinson's for 18 years, and have Medicare Disability since 2008. I am 62 and the ACA allows me to have a preexisting condition and a team of excellent multiple doctors who treat my neurological symptoms, my GI symptoms, and my urological symptoms. Because I'm on Disability, my 24–year old disabled son who lives upstate has been able to obtain Medicaid to treat his health problems.
We'd both be in terrible trouble if we lost our coverage.
Joanna in California
My name is Joanna and I am here to share the story of my daughter Jasmine Winning. I will start at the beginning of her life, three years ago, when she was just a tiny little fetus inside my belly.
I was four months pregnant, here at UCLA, meeting with the Director of the Heart Center, when I received the most devastating and heart wrenching news. I was told that my precious little unborn child had Hypoplastic-Left Heart and Heterotaxy. I was told that she has one of the most complex and deadly medical conditions around, and when she is born she will struggle with every breath to stay alive.
I was told that she would have half of a heart with many of her organs flipped in different positions scattered across her sweet and innocent body. And then in total and complete shock with tears streaming down my face, I knew just how serious this diagnosis really was when I was given three options on how to move forward. The first, to terminate the pregnancy. The second to do compassionate care and let her die in my arms at birth with no medical intervention. And the third, to do a series of three heart surgeries starting at birth with an eventual heart transplant one day. With these three options racing through my mind, I prayed for a decision. A decision in which my baby would not have to suffer. I knew I had all the love in the world to give her with a very supportive family, but questioned the financial ability and healthcare system needed to support such a medically complex child. I was quickly reminded of the recent Obamacare legislation that would give Jasmine a chance at life. One that is hopeful and compassionate, that protects innocent children like Jasmine from being denied medical care due to preexisting heart conditions, one that refuses to put a dollar sign on her life by imposing lifetime caps, and one that would ensure Essential Health Benefits needed to keep her alive throughout the course of her medically complex life.
When Jasmine was born she struggled to stay alive. She fought her way through two open heart surgeries and spent the first 5 months of her life in the hospital.
Thank goodness for no lifetime caps, since she has surpassed over $3 million in medical bills covered by insurance with one more heart surgery and an eventual heart transplant to go.
Thank goodness for no denial of care due to pre-existing conditions as the Heterotaxy has touched almost every single one of her organs that is managed by a cardiologist for her half a heart, a pulmonologist for her two left lungs and chronic lung damage, a gastroenterologist for eating issues and mal-rotated intestines, an immunologist for extra spleens and immune issues, and a urologist for kidney stones and abnormal renal veins.
And finally, thank goodness for Essential Health Benefits that allowed me to receive proper maternity care when Jasmine was in the womb, emergency services when Jasmine almost stopped breathing and her heart rate and oxygen saturation plummeted, hospitalizations due to fevers and cardiac issues, mental health benefits when I nearly lost my mind having to watch my child nearly die one hundred times for months at a time, the prescription drug coverage that covers Jasmine's four daily medications, the rehabilitative services that has allowed Jasmine to learn to crawl and walk after spending months in a hospital bed, laboratory services that check her blood to make sure each one of her complicated organs are working properly, and preventative and pediatric services that help manage her chronic and lifelong medical conditions.
I am sharing my story today as a plea to not steal these lifelong protections away from Jasmine that were promised to her when she was in the womb. Please do not tell my child and children like her that they are too expensive, not worthy of life any longer. Please know, this is a life and death fight for me and my daughter, and I will do everything in my power to protect her and to stand up for whatever is needed to keep her alive.
Kendall in Oklahoma
The moment I finally realized what it meant to be poor and sick in America, I was sitting by myself in the cancer center an hour from my home. I had arrived early for my infusion that day, checked in and gotten that day’s hospital bracelet. Before I could be hooked up to an I.V., I was pulled into a side room, and told my insurance had declined my claim. Unless I could pay the $15,000 the single infusion would cost, I had to go home — without my medicine.
Jennifer in Oklahoma
Tue Jul 11 2017
My husband Chris is one of many ACA success stories in redstate Oklahoma.
January2006, age 29 at the time, Chris began working for a non-profit that offeredhealthcare benefits after a certain period of employment. A few months later, we went to the ERthinking he had appendicitis. Doctors quickly took him to surgery thinking thesame. After several hours, the surgeon(accompanied by a chaplain) said he removed a large tumor from Chris’ colon. Hewas on the brink of death with a rare, aggressive form of colon cancer. Removingthe tumor increased his chances for survival but the cancer was far too advancedfor traditional chemotherapy. The only courseof action at that point was to see an oncologist every month for CEA labs and acolonoscopy every 6 months until the oncologist determined he was out of dangerfor a recurrence. So we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best.
Between2006 and 2009, Chris tried to get health insurance but rejected due to cancerdiagnosis being a pre-existing condition. Once the ACA became law, because ofits protections for people with pre-existing conditions, my husband was able topurchase a BCBS policy through the federal exchange and continue seeing anoncologist for needed care. The premiumshave never cost more than $70. per month. In fact, the premium decreased to$0.00 by January of this year.
Neither the AHCA nor the BCRA offer him thesame—not even close.
Miraculously, Chris has not had a recurrence—so far. WithoutACA protections for pre-existing conditions, my husband will be forced (priced)out of the market. Given the highprobability for recurrence and increased costs impeding an early diagnosis ofrecurrence, survival is less likely for my husband. I cannot bear the thoughtof losing my love, my best friend, my world—my hero.
Mike in Texas
I and my wife are uninsurable without the ACA. I take life-saving medications
Amanda in Texas
My son, Cooper, is 3 years old. We found out he has Cystic Fibrosis when I was 14 weeks pregnant. Though he's been very healthy for a child with CF, literally a single cold could change that. He will always have CF, and both pre-existing conditions and lifetime maximums keep us up at night. Just being insured won't mean anything if there's a lifetime maximum. By the time he reaches grade school, he will likely have exceeded the typical "million dollar maximum" we dread so much. Please help keep our boy healthy. There's nothing we want more than for him to outlive his father and myself.
Adele in Massachusetts
I was diagnosed with Epilepsy at 18 years old. Beforehand, I was dealing with chronic depression which required high doses of anti-depressants that costed in the $35-&275 range. My mother is a single parent and I am currently 22, so we try our best to be able to afford my medications as well as her own. If the ACA repeal is put into action it is possible that we will no longer be able to afford our medicines and that I could fall into a deep depression that could possibly end in suicide. In addition, without my epilepsy medication I could struggle to find work as well as possibly pass away if the seizure is severe. If the ACA repeal is passed I will no longer be proud to be an American and will most likely move to Europe, where health care is guaranteed for all it's citizens–no matter the circumstance.
Helen in North Carolina
Insuring me through COBRA when my husband retired would have cost us a full third of our small, fixed income. The ACA provided not only assured access to health insurance for me, but insurance with a premium and an out-of-pocket maximum that fits with our budget. That insurance allows me to continue my treatments for my illnesses. Without my medications, I will be in extreme pain, will have more joints eroding to the point of being non-functional, and will be landing in the hospital multiple times a year for complications of Crohn's disease. Without the tax subsidy I get through the ACA, my insurance premiums plus the OOP max for my current plan would cost 80% of our income. Even worse, under the AHCA passed by the House, I have calculated that my current insurance premiums + OOP max will hit $28k+
by 2020 – more than our income!
All of our living expenses will have to be drawn from our retirement investments. We are fortunate to have those funds, but they too are limited. By the time I qualify for Medicare, our retirement funds and those of my siblings will be markedly reduced, even with us cutting other costs as much as we can. I'm lucky to have resources and to have a husband and siblings who are willing to do whatever is necessary to get care for me, but I will be faced with the decision to bankrupt the people who love me or go without treatment. If I have to return to the levels of pain and GI distress I've known in the past, suicide is the only answer even though it would deeply hurt those who love me. I just can't go through that again.
Jennifer in Arizona
I am an attorney and have been employed full-time since graduating law school in 2006. I take care of myself, make healthy choices, and work hard. I have encountered multiple medical challenges in the last 15 years. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer my first semester of law school, and had surgery to remove my thyroid over Christmas break that year. The surgery damaged my parathyroid glands, which produce a hormone that helps the body process calcium. I have to take replacement thyroid hormone, activated Vitamin D, and calcium supplements to stay healthy. Over the last 15 years my prescription costs have gone up from about $30 a month to about $110 a month.
In 2012, I had an unexplained placental abruption with my first pregnancy and delivered my son 9 weeks early. He spent 5 weeks in the NICU, learning to eat and breathe. His hospital bills were almost a half million dollars.
Last year, my son tripped over his Pull-Up and broke his femur. He was placed in a full-body cast under anesthesia and was in the cast for almost 8 weeks.
We are an upper-middle-class family with good employer health coverage. The Senate health care bill would affect us because it would allow my employer to refuse to cover my endocrinologist care because of my pre-existing thyroid condition. It could also mean that a freak accident like my son's broken leg could put him over an annual or lifetime limit and force us to have to pay out of pocket for the treatment.
We are working on continuing to be contributing members of society, investing our savings in the stock market and real estate, participating in the economy in every way. The Senate Health Care Bill could take away that ability to contribute and set us back years in our progress.
Mon Jul 03 2017
Debra in Illinois
Our older daughter is severely disabled. Essentially a pre-existing condition since birth. In 2014 I underwent treatment for Stage 3 inflammatory breast cancer. After Trump's election, I was horrified. Then i pulled myself together. If I can survive cancer, I can survive Trump. But will I be able to survive Trumpcare? If this becomes law, you may as well put my daughter and me on an ice floe and wave at us as we float away into oblivion. #breakouttheicefloes
The attached photo is one of me that was taken in between chemo sessions. I was pretending to flail. With Trumpcare, I really will flail. And then I will continue to fight.
Steve in Austin
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Felicia in Texas
I have struggled with chronic pain for over 20 years. For years I’ve gone to specialist after specialist, and pain clinic after pain clinic. No one could tell me why regular approaches to joint and tendon pain never worked for me, or why my muscles spasm so frequently, or why I have chronic migraines and have never been able to sleep well. Just last year I was finally diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a genetic, multi-systemic, connective tissue disorder. For me this manifests primarily as chronic pain: my joints are too loose, so my muscles and tendons constantly work overtime to keep them in place. My wrists often sublux; they pop partially out of place and I have to pop them back in. My tendons are easily overextended, so I have chronic tendonitis throughout my body. I also have daily digestive challenges; some days the only nutrition I get is from protein shakes, because I can’t digest sold foods. I am fortunate to have the least complicated form of EDS. There’s nothing life threatening about my EDS, yet as soon as I received my diagnosis I lost the “privilege” of ever purchasing life insurance again. That’s right: life insurance companies can discriminate against me because I have a connective tissue disorder.
I also have Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, which is frequently co-morbid with EDS. POTS is an autonomic disorder; my autonomic system does not adequately regulate blood flow, so I don’t get enough blood throughout my body. I constantly struggle to keep my blood pressure high enough so I won’t faint. I am frequently dizzy and too nauseated to eat or even stand. POTS affects my sleep, and brings me debilitating orthostatic headaches. Sometimes I get chest pain that mimics a heart attack. I’ve even had the dubious pleasure of traveling to the ER via ambulance during one of these episodes.
I have also been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which adds widespread muscular pain to the joint and tendon pain. I’ve had two major surgeries in the past 2 ½ years, including spinal neurosurgery to remove 4 cysts embedded in my sacral nerves. I’m still recovering from that surgery, and still have pain in the surgery site. In short, I rarely experience days without pain. Pain is a constant in my life. But I can get up (nearly) every day and parent and live my best life because I have good health care and good medications. I can work (some), volunteer, and participate in my community because I have good health care.
There is no cure for my chronic conditions, only management. Because these conditions are rare, few family practice physicians know how to help me. My care therefore depends on specialists. In the past 3 years I’ve seen specialists in the field of cardiology, neurology, gastroenterology, rheumatology, genetics, internal medicine, and pain. This is expensive, even with health insurance! I could only see all of these specialists because of my husband’s employer-sponsored health insurance. And I could only pursue diagnoses of these chronic conditions because our health insurance MUST cover pre-existing conditions and CANNOT impose lifetime caps. I will be in serious peril if health insurance companies are no longer held to these regulations.
Last week I tallied up how much I spend monthly on medications and how much my insurance saves me. My co-pays for a month’s worth of necessary medication total $71.06. My insurance saves me $1,709.99 per month. This is only for the medications I take daily. I take several others on an as-needed basis for nausea and pain.
And as it turns out, every member of my immediate family has pre-existing conditions. My 11-year-old son, who will begin middle school this fall in Round Rock, is one of the most intelligent kids you could ever hope to meet. He’s going to do something brilliant someday; he’ll be an inventor or engineer or public servant of some sort. He also happens to be autistic and he has ADHD. He takes prescription medications to help him manage his ADHD in sensory-rich environments and to help him access his best communication skills. Every month we pay $68.29 in co-pays for his prescriptions; our insurance saves us $1,468.86 per month on his prescriptions.
Let me say this differently. Each month, our insurance saves us $3,178.85 on necessary medications. ***That’s a whopping $38,146 for the year, and that’s just for two members of my family.***
I also have a 16-year-old step-daughter. She’s a life-long Texan who dreams of studying biology in college. She is generous, smart, and determined. She also happens to be autistic and has life-threatening epilepsy, multiple physical impairments, and chronic pain. She is one of the fortunate Texans who have made it through the Medicaid waiting list (which is currently over 10 years!). She is now on a CLASS waiver and has access to therapies and attendants. These supports will help her live her best life and be part of her beloved Texas community. Without Medicaid, she will likely need to be institutionalized to get the care she needs. Would you want that for your daughter or granddaughter? Would you want that for yourself?
I’d like Senators Cruz and Cornyn to face my step-daughter and tell her that her quality of life doesn’t matter, that living her best life is less important than tax cuts for the elite of our county. I’d like them to face my son, and tell him that it’s fine for insurance companies to impose lifetime caps, that the care he receives now must be weighed against potential care in the future. And I’d like them to face me, and tell me that free markets are more important than making sure my pre-existing conditions absolutely will be covered if/when we ever have to switch insurance plans. Can you do that, Senators? Can you face us?
Janet in Illinois
I have a son who survived cancer and a daughter with Crohn's disease. My daughter's husband has Cystic Fibrosis. While all three now have insurance, under a repeal of the ACA, this could easily change. If they were denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions, the results could be disastrous. This is the next generation, with so much to offer to the world. Let them stay healthy and make the world a better place!
Elizabeth in Illinois
I am lucky (for now), in that I have coverage through my employer. That said, even I could be impacted if lifetime and annual benefits caps are put back in place. I have two family members undergoing cancer treatment right now, what happens to them? What if one of my children is diagnosed with an auto-immune disease, like my best friend's 5 year old daughter? That's a pre-existing condition that will haunt that child for the rest of her life (and there's no guarantee that she'll have coverage through an employer as an adult). She's in the hospital monthly, has injections at home weekly, takes multiple medications and undergoes regular physical therapy. What happens when she's no longer covered under her parents' plan? What if they lose coverage?
How can we let a bill that disproportionately impacts the elderly and poor, women and children, and people of color move through Congress at the behest of individuals who look nothing like these people and who are not keeping their best interest in mind? All this without proper discussion or debate? The answer is simple and disgusting. Everything is happening so quickly because if this bill were to see proper debate, it would die…just like the people who will die when their coverage is impacted when this bill passes. I know that sounds dramatic, and I fervently wish it were simply drama; but it's not – it's reality.
Patricia in Illinois
I have a preexisitng condition as I have Multiple Sclerosis. My treatment includes MRI's yearly and medications that cost nearly 60,000 dollars yearly. I am now in Medicare and Medicaid and would be left with no options as I am on disability and could afford no insurance and would likely end up in a nursing home though that might not be covered either. I would be crippled with no care available.
Noël in Maryland
I will soon be 26 and off of my parents' health insurance, and it is thanks to Obamacare that I've been able able to stay on that insurance while I've been struggling with a chronic disease and limited in my ability to work. I have made great strides in recovering my health and should not be punished in the future for having a preexisting condition. As a woman I am more likely to have a chronic, autoimmune disease. As a woman I also have specific reproductive health needs. It is cruel, unjust, and unconscionable that women are doubly punished under this proposed law.
Megan in Texas
My dearest friend recently donated her kidney to a two year old child who was on dialysis, and saved his life. At the time of her donation, Obama was President and pre-existing conditions seemed protected, and she didn't question such a transformative medical procedure. Pre-Existing Condition coverage must remain in order to protect living organ donors and encourage people to save lives by donating. Who would donate an organ if they knew insurers could charge them or not accept them? We must protect this important provision!
Sue in Texas
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Jeffrey in Illinois
I have Multiple Sclerosis(MS), a progressive autoimmune disease that, if unmedicated, produces symptoms of increasing severity.
Every 48 hours I inject myself with prescription medication to prevent the disease from advancing. This medication costs $6,500 for a 4 week supply. A cost covered by my insurance. I worry that a repeal of the ACA would result in loosing my insurance. If that were to happen, MS would be considered a pre-existing condition, I would not qualify for this coverage and would be unable to afford my medication.
The ACA has allowed me to remain a productive wage earner supporting myself and my family. Please consider the personal and societal costs of repealing the ACA.
Affordable health care needs to provide affordable medications.
Lauren in California
When I was a freshman in college, I donated blood to the Red Cross. A couple of weeks later, a letter from the Red Cross informed me that I had Hepatitis C — I was 18, living away from home (clear across the country) for the first time, and I had no idea what to do or how I might have contracted the virus. After a year of seeing a specialist (which was covered by my student health care), it was determined the diagnosis was a false-positive… but every blood test since has indicated liver enzyme levels outside of normal, which means Hepatitis C will be a pre-existing condition that follows me around for the rest of my life. I just earned my PhD and I'm still looking for my first postdoctoral job, which means I'll need health care coverage until I am insured by an employer (or I'll need to count on available insurance being affordable should I go into consulting). But should Trumpcare or any version thereof pass, and the ACA be phased out, I'm screwed. I've worked hard to make good choices for my health, but now an administrative mistake that I have no control over has the potential to wreck my chances for affordable health insurance.
Koula in Texas
I have high blood pressure & pre-diabetic. I am retired and currently I'm covered under my employers plan as a retiree (I pay the premiums at twice what an active employee pays) until the age of 65 then I switch to Medicare and my employer insurance will become secondary If you cut the requirements that corporations offer to their employees and retirees I will be greatly affected as I'm living on a fixed income . My condition is hereditary and no amount of exercise or dieting will ever bring down my blood pressure enough for it to be normal at this age Donald Trump promised we would have the best healthcare at the lowest cost during his campaign and I expect him to keep at least one promise to the people
Joy in Texas
I would be dead and/or bankrupt without ACA coverage. Within 6 weeks of moving to Austin from New York City in 2012 I was diagnosed with stomach cancer; I had had breast cancer ten years earlier. I came with insurance associated with my business, a plan unavailable in Texas. When that expired I was stunned to discover I was uninsurable in the great (?) state of Texas because of a pre-existing condition! For the next 6 months I was in the state pool and basically self-insured until the ACA became effective in 2014. Although not perfect, it provided the coverage i needed at a price point I could afford. I could not afford to remain self-paid for health care for the rest of my life.
Liz in Texas
I wish the ACA had been around about 10 years ago. Back then I was almost 30 years into a happy and successful teaching career in Texas.
But then along came that little glitch in the economy, and schools were tightening belts. I found myself unemployed, uninsured, and living with a pre-existing condition requiring very expensive, but life extending medications. Worse, I was living in a country whose health care is tied to one’s job status.
Jobs were scarce, and age was not on my side in a tight job market. So I worked in daycare centers, and did babysitting. My Cobra ran out. Private insurance was totally out of reach.
Ultimately I had just one option left: I was just old enough to retire early as a teacher and so qualify for retired teacher benefits with TRS. It was a last resort. I could get affordable insurance, but it would mean the end of my teaching career. By law, I would no longer be eligible to teach in any Texas public school. Without the ACA, I had to chose between my job and my life.
I miss teaching. And Texas lost a good teacher.
Jerry in Texas
The GOP likes to toss around the word "freedom" when they discuss the policy rationale behind TrumpCare. Here's my personal story about how my freedom was impacted by the health insurance system that was in place prior to the ACA–a system that will return if anything similar to TrumpCare passes.
Fifteen years ago I was self-employed and working furiously to get a new company off the ground. Things were going fine until I ran up against a brick wall–health insurance. My wife and I had been happily paying for health coverage through my previous employer via COBRA, but then we approached the time limit allowed under that coverage. It was impossible for us to buy a policy on the individual market for two reasons: my wife had not only been recently treated for cervical cancer, but she was also pregnant with our first child.
We were faced with an impossible choice. We could either get legally separated to take advantage of a loophole in COBRA that would have allowed my wife to continue coverage for an additional period, or I would have to find employment that provided group health insurance. I specialize in technology and 2002 was a difficult year to find work, but I found a job just as our insurance was running out. It meant I had to postpone my dream of building a company and the role was potentially a massive step backwards in my career, but all I cared about was that my wife and child would be taken care of. Seeing as how my son ended up needing 10 days of care in the NICU following his birth, if we had not been able to acquire that coverage we would have certainly faced bankruptcy.
To me, part of our freedom as Americans is the ability to pursue our dreams. If you're able to earn a living by starting a business, or writing a novel, or performing music, or anything else, you should be able to pursue those efforts. Any healthcare system that only guarantees essential health benefits and preexisting condition protections to group policies is stealing our individual freedom to make us beholden to employers. That is bad for individuals and it is ultimately tragic for our society to have those skills go to waste. Today I'm CEO of a company I helped launch that directly employs 40 people and allows hundreds of others to earn a living. I worked hard to get here, but I also got lucky along the way. If I had been left to the mercy of the individual insurance market 15 years ago, things would have ended very, very differently for me. For absolutely no good reason.
Protect our care. Entrepreneurial and creative Americans deserve the freedom to chase our dreams without having to risk financial ruin by being denied access to comprehensive, portable healthcare. Isn't that risk-taking spirit what the GOP says is needed to build our economy ever higher? Then why take it away from us now solely to provide tax cuts to billionaires. Protect our care.
Lisa in Texas
No healthcare coverage for my chronic illness will result in my death.
Hannah in Texas
My spouse is a research scientist. Some years ago, while working at the University of Texas, he received a highly prestigious national research fellowship, a tribute to his hard work and to the excellence of the University of Texas. The fellowship made him ineligible for employee insurance, but came with funding for an affordable alternative. Due to a pre-existing condition he contracted as a teenager, however, he was denied the affordable insurance, and forced to pay a much higher premium out of pocket. Because of his health condition, we had to choose between a reduced net income and a more prestigious position. That choice is not a good one for our economy or for the prestige of our institutions.
We oppose the repeal of the ACA because the denial of healthcare to individuals based on their employment status, their economic status, or their health conditions is deeply unethical and ultimately deadly. We also oppose it because will have a devastating effect on our economy even among the most privileged citizens – people like us.
Jaime in Texas
I am a 62-year old and am currently in the hospital awaiting open heart surgery. I am only able to have this surgery due to being in ObamaCare. As I understand the provisions of the pending TrumpCare changes, I would either lose coverage altogether due to this prior existing condition (I am in Texas) or would have to pay significantly more for coverage. Since I live on Social Security (not SSDI), affordability becomes a very serious concern for me. Texas did not choose to expand its nominal-at-best Medicaid coverage therefore I would not qualify for help under that program. As proposed, I will clearly become one of the immediately uninsured citizens. I truly hope this doesn't occur. Please do not pass either version of TrumpCare and leave ObamaCare in place! Thanks!
Devora in Maryland
My daughter, Esther, was diagnosed with Leukemia when she was 12. She would not be able to get health ins. under the current proposed bill. She has been through enough.
Darla in Michigan
I'm on disability from chronic pain because of a doctor's mistake with back surgery. I'm going to have my 5th back surgery. I live alone and on disability. I already pay huge premiums for my insurance. if this goes through I'm terrified I will be homeless
Nathan in Michigan
I am a builder who biulds and maintain homes for many of the wealthiest people in our state. I have worked hard and climbed my way to the top over the last 20 years. None of the employers in my area offered insurance and only until the aca was I able to afford the health care I need. I have sever asthma and have developed arthritis in my right hip. Even with the aca we still struggle to pay my medical bills but we manage. Now we are worried that not only will we loose our subsidy I could be priced right out by being put in a high risk pool because I have pre existing conditions. I am make top dollar working for the people who are going to reap the profits from taking away my ability to breathe and walk. Makes no sense to me you want people to work on your house they need health care the greed is out of control.
Ellen in New York
My husband has been disabled from a stroke for almost 20 years and unable to work. I am a licensed clinical social worker within busy Private Practice doing counseling with individuals couples and Families period my primary of payment is insurance. If Mental Health Services are dropped as the mandated priority I will not be able to support my family.
My husband and I are both seniors and anticipate insurance premium rates going up exponentially. If we cannot afford how are premiums we will not have the option to look at other insurances. We both have pre-existing conditions.
Please for the sake of everyone do not pass this terrible bill.
Erika in Washington
I have triplet sons each of which have all had a form of health care issues that would be deemed under this plan to now be pre-existing conditions. There are 12 years old, the decision to move it with this plan would cause them to have a lifetime of an affordable medical bills that there is no way they could possibly afford.
One was born when the a heart murmur, one was hospitalized for pneumonia at 9 months and the third has ADHD. ALL of these issues cr ate preexisting conditions under Trumpcare!
Personally, I too have multiple preexisting conditions. I was born with a heart murmur, my first pregnancy was an ectopic one and i almost died in the OR and my triplets were delivered via c-section. With my ectopic pregnancy it was planned parenthood who detected early that there was a new issue and sent me to the ER. It was Medicaid that covered the lifesaving surgery that ensured I and my children are here today. It is the protections that AHCA that has ensured excellent affordable health have been given to all of us.
I can't fathom the thought that another woman or mom would not be alive or her children would not receive the same care we have. I will stand against anyone who threatens my children's future access to health. I don't know a single mother who won't be right there alongside me.
Marcy in Texas
I'm in fairly good physical health, but mental health has been a lifelong struggle for me. I take medication and have turned to therapists and therapy groups several times over the years. I do my best to stay mentally healthy. But there have been many times when I needed help. My current insurance provides mental health treatment. I believe EVERYONE should have access to mental health care. It's not something you should choose as part of your health care plan or not. It's easy to assume you'll never need mental health care. But many, many people do — and most don't plan to need it. And those who have reached out for mental health care certainly don't need to then deal with having a "pre-existing condition" that could mean denial of health coverage or steeper costs.
We ALL need full, comprehensive, excellent health care coverage. Essential coverage for mental health, maternity care, well care check-ups, medication, etc. is important for EVERYONE. Just as we don't pick and choose whether or not our health plan covers cancer treatment or pulmonary disease, we should not be asked to choose if we want mental health care. Everyone needs COMPREHENSIVE coverage, with risks and cost spread out over a huge pool (our United States!)
Samantha in Massachusetts
We asked Times readers how the Republican bill would affect them. Here are a few of their stories.
Wed Jun 28 2017
My husband has a genetic kidney disorder called polycystic kidney disease and, at the age of 47, needed a kidney transplant. He is now, thanks to the miracles of modern medicine and the incredible generosity of his donor, back at work, paying taxes and living a good life.
The transplant took place one week before the election, and the last thing we did before the surgery was vote early — in large part to try to stave off the repeal of the A.C.A. My husband’s prospects are very good, but he will always require medical care, even if it is “just” the medication needed to maintain the transplant.
Under the Republican bill, we would never escape the “pre-existing condition” label, and there would be the added worry about having asked our donor to subject himself to the whims of insurance companies. The financial implications to both my family and the kidney donor’s are impossible to predict or calculate, but the cost of losing Obamacare would be steep, terrifying and entirely un-American.
— Samantha Fratus, Boston
Amal in Tennessee
We asked Times readers how the Republican bill would affect them. Here are a few of their stories.
Wed Jun 28 2017
I feel ridiculously lucky that the A.C.A. existed when I had my baby, and here’s why: My husband and I were both freelancers when I got pregnant and were on Obamacare in New York. When I was five months pregnant, we moved to Nashville for his job, which didn’t provide insurance. Because of the A.C.A., we were able to buy coverage, even though somehow pregnancy is considered a pre-existing condition. It could once again become the basis for an insurance company to reject you, or to increase your premiums, if the A.C.A. is repealed.
Denying a pregnant woman insurance coverage can have far-reaching effects. She might stay in an unhealthy or abusive job to maintain coverage, or stay in an unhealthy or abusive marriage to maintain her husband’s coverage. A family might forgo a good opportunity to move for a better life for their child; after having the baby, a family might be saddled with debt.
Republicans who are so concerned with saving the lives of unborn humans (after all, their bill guts Planned Parenthood, too) should show at least the same respect and care for the women who bring them into this world.
— Amal Bouhabib, Nashville
Matthew in Washington
We asked Times readers how the Republican bill would affect them. Here are a few of their stories.
I was diagnosed with a chronic medical condition when I was 9. Growing up, I was fortunate to have a mother who was able to fight for me, from keeping me enrolled in a public school to getting me access to experimental drug trials at the National Institutes of Health. But I also saw her in tears over medical bills when my father was laid off after 9/11 and we had to go on Cobra, and how draining negotiations with insurance companies were. At one point, I had to go on a medication that was $100,000 a year and was not covered by insurance. I don’t know how I would have survived without a family with enough savings to keep me covered.
I am now successful, independent, and working in international relations and development in Washington, D.C., which I love. If the A.C.A. is repealed, I will live in constant fear of being laid off or fired and losing my insurance, or worry that I will have a flare-up that would devastate me financially.
— Matthew Kimmel, Washington
Page in Texas
On Thursday afternoon, over forty people gathered outside Ted Cruz’s office to share their stories and rally against the repeal of the ACA and the proposed Senate health bill that would decimate coverage for many of the most vulnerable Americans.
Wed Jun 28 2017
"I was fired in 2015 when I was 5 weeks pregnant. Thank goodness we had the Affordable Care Act, because I could not be discriminated against under any preexisting condition limitations. I knew my maternity care would be covered. I logged onto the exchange, compared plans, signed up for what I wanted and got fantastic coverage. I'm just so grateful that happened for me. Being able to get care when you're fired and have preexisting conditions shouldn't depend on timing." -Page Nilson
Kelsey in Texas
On Thursday afternoon, over forty people gathered outside Ted Cruz’s office to share their stories and rally against the repeal of the ACA and the proposed Senate health bill that would decimate coverage for many of the most vulnerable Americans.
"We are all people and we need to take care of each other. Senator Cruz took an oath to protect the people of Texas, whether he agrees with us or not. He's said he's not going to vote for this because he wants it to go even farther, and that's upsetting because it's not going to help the economy, it's not going to help women, it's not going to help children. I came out here having never done this before and seeing all the people and hearing all the stories has really gotten me thinking more. My brother has Type 1 diabetes and prior to the ACA he was covered on my parent's insurance but I don't know what's going to happen to him." – Kelsey Peterson
Macon in Texas
On Thursday afternoon, over forty people gathered outside Ted Cruz’s office to share their stories and rally against the repeal of the ACA and the proposed Senate health bill that would decimate coverage for many of the most vulnerable Americans.
Wed Jun 28 2017
"I'm a member of a union that takes care of me, but a lot of people are not that fortunate and I'm scared for them. I have family members with preexisting conditions and by every accounting this bill, if it passes, is going to take coverage away from people who are vulnerable and will give the monetary benefits to people that are already really well off. And for someone who identifies as a Christian like Senator Cruz that is literally the opposite of Christianity. I don't like to throw around "literally" but they're doing it the wrong way. It's baffling, and I hope it doesn't pass." – Macon Blair
Samantha in Texas
Wed Jun 28 2017
"I'm fighting the repeal of the ACA because my father has a preexisting condition and he's hoping to retire in the next few years. I don't believe plans should be changed because of a bill that would remove protections for people with preexisting conditions in order to pay for a tax cut for the wealthy. I'm also here because I firmly believe that a woman's choice about her health should be between her and her healthcare provider and no one else." – Samantha
Golchin in Nevada
I will be really hard for us to get insurance since I will be pre-condition under a new health care bill. We would love to start our family and new bill will make it really hard for us to do so. Having kids is all we talk about so please don't take that away from many of us.
Cathy in California
Obamacare saved my life. I had health insurance. I needed brain surgery. My health insurance company keep delaying approvals for necessary MRI, and CT scans to find out what was wrong. Because they refused to pay for a CT scan that was needed to confirm a diagnosis. I had to pay for one of them out of pocket. The insurance company assigned an RN to my case to try and reduce costs.
But, because of the public pressure, when Obamacare was being drafted: my surgery was eventually approved by the insurance company in 2009.
As Congress moves forward on a path towards repealing and replacing Obamacare, it is critical that our state's communities retain access to high-quality hospital services we need and deserve. Our hospitals not only provide lifesaving care, but they are also key economic engines, providing jobs and security to the entire community.
I am deeply concerned that legislation repealing Obamacare could leave in place devastating and historic cuts to my hospital.
Please do not gut protections for those of use with pre-existing conditions. No one would choose to be sick or have a serious illness.
Please do not impose sharp premium increases to those of us that have to live with preexisting conditions or older Americans.
Do not allow insurers to charge women more than Men.
Do not eliminate services for special needs kids at schools.
Thank you for your time.
Jennifer in Nevada
If the ACA is repealed, my health care might go away and I could never afford continuing care for my atrial fibrillation, implanted pacemaker/defibrillator, and my husband's arthritic condition. When my battery runs out in four years, if I don't have health insurance I'll probably die or have to go bankrupt (which every time someone has to do that, all of our rates go up to compensate for it.) My brother also has heart trouble and relies upon his ACA-provided insurance; he is close to retirement and will need to know that Medicare will be there to cover his ongoing expenses or he will probably die. My grandchildren will be unable to visit the doctor if their health care is taken from them. And for what? So that the wealthy can have more while killing off the poor and the middle-class? Our government is supposed to work for our best interests, so why are they always trying to harm us to help corporations?
Adrian in Texas
In 1986-87 I was diagnosed with (genetic) breast cancer and was told I had a 25% chance of living 5 years. I quit my job to have medical treatment, and, after COBRA coverage ran out, was put in a high-risk pool (Illinois). My insurance payments were $1,000/month. I had to go back to work to pay for health insurance coverage. If that's what happened 30 years ago, how can anyone afford insurance overage now under similar circumstances?
Michele in Texas
I have had three surgeries for the "chronic disease" of obesity. Prior to ACA these surgeries would not have been covered and any complications I have in the future due to them are now "pre-existing" conditions. In addition, being overweight is also a mental condition and without essential benefits, mental health coverage will be one of the first benefits to be gutted. I would have no choice but to go to the ER for my healthcare, passing on the cost to taxpayers writ large.
Elizabeth in Texas
To whom this may concern,
Please do not allow states the ability to opt out of holding insurance companies accountable to cover essential health benefits like maternity care, mental health treatment, and rehabilitation treatment. As a elementary public elementary art educator, I know firsthand the importance of affordable mental health care. The school district I serve in Roanoke, TX has suffered the loss of 4 students who have taken their own lives just this year to battles with mental and emotional issues. The youngest of whom was 12 years old and a former student of mine from the first year I taught just 2 years ago. These saddening, and possibly preventable deaths, have rocked our community in a deep and catastrophic way. Coverage for mental health and treatment will allow parents the ability to seek help for their children whose precious lives hinge in the balance of the politics of healthcare. Affordable care helps to de-stigmatize mental and emotional illnesses, giving these students the confidence and ability to speak up, for trusted adults to truly listen, and for us to provide and recommend further support. Please remember Andrew, and the many, many communities experiencing similar heartbreak, while making these important decisions about our health care.
Please do not allow states the ability to opt out of holding insurance companies accountable to cover those with pre-existing conditions. People with pre-existing conditions deserve the right to comprehensive and affordable care.
I am a hardworking 26 year old woman who has always been very healthy. That is, until I discovered three years ago that I have a rare, serious, and incurable sleep disorder called narcolepsy without cataplexy. Narcolepsy onsets in teenage years and affects 1 in every 2,000 people in America. Its cause is unknown. It is believed that patients with this disability are have extremely low or no levels of a chemical called hypocretin in our brains that is suppose to regulate sleep. Those with narcolepsy do not get regenerative sleep because the lack of this chemical forces their body to go straight into REM sleep, usually passing the other essential phases of sleep completely. Instead, their brain is actively trying to make up for this at unwanted, inconvenient, and sometimes dangerous times during the day. If you can imagine what it feel like to be awake for 48-36 hours, you can only begin to understand what it was like to have untreated narcolepsy every single day for seven years. People like me experience a slew of other symptoms like EDS, sleep paralysis, hypnotic hallucinations, night terrors, insomnia, the inability to focus, concentrate, recall and create memories, depression, and much more.
It is estimated that 25% of those with this disability go without a diagnosis partly due to the lack of affordable and comprehensive healthcare coverage. I went seven years without a diagnosis due to the stigma surrounding 'invisible' illnesses and sleep disorders. Two sleep studies are required for proper diagnosis, which my current plan would not cover at all. The out-of-pocket cost to get this life saving diagnosis was $1,000. Also, visits to my neurologist are not covered in my current plan. I pay out of pocket expenses for two mandatory visits a year costing about $150 each. More needs to be done to cover costs from those with sleep disorders and pre-existing conditions.
I am very thankful that I could afford my sleep studies and doctor office visits. I am lucky that I have a supportive community, good job with decent pay, a pharmacy deductible, and have found the right treatment for my unique case so that I can live a happy, successful, and seemingly normal life. Many are not as fortunate as I am. Many have not found the correct diagnosis or the correct treatment plan and most cannot afford the costs.
Most people who have narcolepsy have another debilitating condition called cataplexy. This illness is also incurable, disruptive, and even harder to manage. Cataplexy is characterized by abrupt muscle weakness or loss of voluntary muscle control, all while being conscious, at unexpected times triggered by things like emotional stress, anger, or even laughter. Many people with narcolepsy, specifically narcolepsy with cataplexy, cannot hold a traditional job and some rely on medicaid for their healthcare. Please think of us while making these important healthcare decisions. Please think of those of us on medicaid and/or disability who are just trying to live a manageable life.
Please hold drug and insurance companies accountable to providing affordable prescription medications. Do not allow these industries to make people choose rent and food over insurance and/or medication, and the right to a manageable life. Without my medication, I would not be able to have the job that I do. I would not be able to serve my community and teach art to my 700 students that I love so very much.
Too often prescriptions are completely unaffordable without insurance. For example, the generic version of my medication, Modafinil, is over $1,000 PER MONTH without insurance. Even with insurance, prescription costs are still unaffordable. With insurance covering 70% of the cost, my prescription is still $300 a month. Thankfully, since insurance companies are held
accountable to provide things like essential health benefits and comprehensive coverage, I have a prescription/pharmacy deductible of about $300. After I meet that cost, which I do with just ONE purchase, I am allowed to pay a copay per month of $25 for my medication. Obviously, more needs to be done. Prescription drugs are too expensive for even middle class, hard-working Americans like myself.
Please have a heart when making these important healthcare decisions. Please remember my story. Remember Andrew.
Karen in Texas
My friend Mary was never able to purchase health insurance until Obamacare passed. She bought a policy the very first day it was available to her. A few months later she was driving and hit by another driver and almost killed. She required prolonged care and rehab which would not have been available to her before she had health insurance. Through good care, hard work and persistence she is alive and again a productive member of society. Thank you Obama! Please do not take health care away from people like my friend Mary.
JoSelle in Florida
I am self-employed as a freelance editor and writer and have been for most of my post-college life. Unfortunately, I also have "preexisting conditions" (or what people in other countries might just call "part of being alive): depression and an anxiety disorder that I inherited from my parents. These diseases have affected me from early childhood and require treatment to keep me working for my clients and helping to care for my family members. Without medication and therapy, my ability to do so is gravely impacted.
Pre-ACA, I was inelligible for insurance despite taking some of the cheapest, most common medications on the marketplace. I was forced into a high-risk pool in the state where I lived at the time, Utah, which placed an enormous financial burden on me (paying upwards of $600-$700 per month for insurance that did not cover mental healthcare very well). Post-2014, I can afford to pay for my insurance, which leaves me more money to invest in my business and to take care of my family.
Of course the ACA isn't perfect. I am sympathetic to those who faced premium increases under it or who found their access to healthcare diminish. However, the logical thing to do is to improve it, not demolish it with a replacement that harms the most vulnerable and poor among us so the wealthiest can have more money. And this is precisely what the Senate and House have created–a tax cut built on the backs of poor people, disabled people, sick people, seniors, and children, many of whom are medically fragile.
I am not just concerned for myself in opposing this barbaric legislation. I am concerned for my disabled friends, my family members with "preexisting conditons," my best friend who has polycystic ovarian syndrome and who has been laid off several times in the last three years (because our economy has only improved for some people, not all of us), and her brother who was just diagnosed with diabetes.
I urge all people reading this to stop and think. Whether you voted for Clinton or Trump, whether you prefered one of their primary challengers to either of them, whether you live in a red, purple, or blue state, this bill will affect you profoundly if it passes. It does not do what many pundits tell you to do, and embracing it because it was written during an administration you approve of does not mean it is beneficial to you.
If you are a Republican senator reading this, I encourage you to do the right thing by your constituents and place their health and well-being above profit, lobbying, and political partisanship. Illness, disease, disability, and old age are no respectors of persons, and one day someone you love, or even you yourself, may find you have few resources to turn to when your health is imperiled.
Cat in Kansas
I had advanced stage 3 breast cancer + inflammatory breast cancer + pacemaker. Chemo drugs ALONE were over $500,000. My bill? Under $2,000 TOTAL.
I'm now on disability, due to damage from chemo/radiation. I can't feel my hands or feet due to Peripheral Neuropathy. I can't drive, or stand for more than a few minutes. Can't walk more than a few hundred yards without resting. I can't type. I can't do any jobs I used to do. Can't exercise like I used to, due to lung damage.
Contrary to what many have said, I did nothing to bring this on myself. I ate right, and exercised. I didn't smoke. My cancer was genetic. So was the heart problem. I did not ask for this.
Disability is no picnic. I can barely make ends meet. And this is without Medicade. I would rather be working. But, I can't. I would like my old life back. But, that will not happen. I have to adjust to my new life.
If the new bill passes, at the very least, I will be homeless. At worst…dead.
Lois in New York
Breast Cancer runs throughout my family on both my parent’s sides. My mother, aunts, and cousins have all had this disease. Some have died from it, including my mother. When I was 23 I had a lump removed. Luckily it was benign. The anxiety, pain of discovery and treatment are excruciating enough without having to worry if you can afford care.
Please do not cause millions of people the heartbreak of losing their homes, their lifestyles, or their lives to in order to pay for healthcare. If America is to be FIRST, we need to care for ALL of our people.
Penny in New York
My son has a life-threatening pre-existing condition for which he recieves medical treatment and medication through the ACA expansion of Medicaid in the state where he resides. Without this he will be unable to pay for his medications and doctor visits, and will surely decline and succumb to his illness.
Both my mother and my husband's father were able to be cared for in nursing homes until their dying days because of the Medicaid they were eligible for after exhausting all of their money paying for their health care. They died with some dignity & comfort.
I am desperate to see the defeat of trump's cruel health plan as I, approaching 65, worry for my own future, the future of my husband and the future of others.
Thank you for listening to my story.
Jen in California
In 2015, I donated a kidney to a stranger, kicking off a chain of three transplants. I didn't have to worry about how it would affect my health insurance because thanks to the ACA, I could never be charged more or be denied coverage because I'd shared my spare. I'm 55 years old and self-employed. Trumpcare is a direct attack on my financial and health security.
Jolene in Texas
I know many of my friends rely on medicaid and Plan Parenthood for health care. Losing these means the loss of their lives. They cannot afford their medications and examinations without medicaid and Plan Parenthood. This healthcare bill is cruel and the GOP knows it. It does not support their constituents or the rest of America.
My family story is "over", but I want our senators to know how much the ACA meant to us at a very difficult time. Our niece, a single adult, lost her job…and her insurance coverage…when she was in the middle of the fight of her life battling advanced melanoma. Because of the ACA she was able to sign up for insurance on the marketplace. I will be very honest and say that the process was not always easy, and she was forced to change insurance companies twice because of changes in available plans. However, and this is BIG, she was still able to get coverage despite the fact that she was very ill. Anyone who has watched a loved one suffer from this devastating disease knows how terrible it is. Even though she eventually succumbed to the melanoma that had spread throughout her body, she WAS ABLE to have continued quality medical care and eventually hospice care until her death. I beg you to consider how your decisions will impact people. Even the "least of those" among us deserve the dignity of receiving quality medical care. Please, work together, both Democrats and Republicans, and do the job that you were elected to do! You represent us, the citizens of this great country, and we expect that your untiring efforts will be directed towards making our country an even better place for everyone! Just one part of that job is to make quality healthcare available for everyone. Thank-you for listening.
Chris in Texas
I was enrolled in the Texas High Risk Pool in the early to mid 2000's. Even with this high cost insurance, a 2007 medical disaster left me owing deductibles in excess of $40,000.
This financial burden forced me into bankruptcy. The reduction of work hours and required continual medical costs left me unable to afford health coverage of any sort by 2009.
My story made the front page of the Austin American Statesman. Not my first choice for notoriety, to be sure, but I had written, called, sent up smoke signals, released pigeons, to everyone in Congress I could link to. Nada. It was beginning to look like no one cared…
Now, with the potential loss of affordable health care on the horizon, my wife is facing a similar situation with her pre-existing conditions And even if these conditions are" covered " by a hacked up version of ACA, there is no guarantee that the costs will remain affordable to Americans who need it..This country can't afford a return to the "old days" and the "High Risk Pools".
Anyone is "one step away" from a financial disaster due to the onset of a serious medical condition even WITH health insurance. Believe me, I lived it first hand, and I didn't see it coming.
J in Texas
The Senate Bill would allow insurers to not cover essential health benefits that were guaranteed to us under the ACA — including mental health benefits. Being able to manage mental health issues means that people like me have the possibility of having a far better quality of life. Not being able to access these essential services makes it far more likely for us to end up hospitalized, to be unable to function normally, and often for us to even stay alive. We are also in the height of an opioid epidemic in this country — it's a national emergency, and this is going to make it far, far worse. I manage my mental health condition well right now — I am lucky to have access to insurance that covers my medication (if not my doctor) and the blood tests I need. With medication and care I live a full life — I contribute to society, I can hold down a job, take care of my family, and I would not be able to do this without access to care. Why on earth should this be ripped away from me and so many others? It's cruel, stigmatizing, and awful. This bill is breathtakingly cruel.
Debra in Texas
Jackson in Texas
Most of the people in my family are likely to lose coverage with anything less than the protections established in the ACA. The protections set up under the AHCA are not enough; high-risk pools and block grants will run out of money too quickly to provide for people who actually need health care. I was born by C-section, which can be grounds for denying coverage under the AHCA, so my mom would be unable to afford coverage. I am a cancer survivor, so I would be left unable to afford coverage. My dad died of brain cancer not long ago, which makes two people in my immediate family who have had cancer. My aunt has chronic back problems, so she, also, would likely have a hard time paying for healthcare she might need, and other health issues are likely to appear in my family over time, for a multitude of reasons. Any one of us, under the AHCA, would be one car accident or severe illness away from bankruptcy. Meanwhile, the politicians who are pushing the AHCA, and who have access to health care far beyond what most people can afford, won't even tell us why taking away what comparatively little we have is so important.
Thu Jun 22 2017
Alison in Utah
My husband and I are self-employed, so we buy our insurance on the open market. Although we are much healthier than the average American by a long shot, when we applied for insurance prior to the ACA, we were both rated up because of pre-existing conditions. I was even rejected by one company.
This seemed ridiculous, since the pre-existing conditions that caused the rate increase were injuries from being active, and were both completely resolved. This made our insurance astronomically expensive, and it increased by quite a bit every year.
When I say we are healthy, we really are exceptionally healthy. We are lean and trim. We are in our mid-40s, but can run, hike, climb, and do more push-ups than most people in their 20s. We eat healthy, exercise hard and often, and never get sick. At the most, we might catch one cold a year between the both of us. We would pay thousands of dollars every year for a high deductible plan that we never used.
Since the ACA, we have had no problem getting health insurance, and we are not rated up because of pre-existing conditions. But the best part is, we feel comfortable that we have health insurance at a reasonable price, and can always get it in the future. Or at least we felt that way until recently. Now it sounds like our senators are scheming to take away the protection we enjoy under the ACA. We are against their attempt to take away the mandate that prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against individuals with pre-existing conditions. We are not happy about this potential loss of protection.
We would recommend our senators keep the legislation that protects patients against discrimination for pre-existing conditions. Instead, they would do better to focus on corruption and inefficiencies in the insurance and drug industries. We hope that they consider the interests of their constituents when drafting legislation.
Joseph in Texas
I wrote this after getting a request from Senator Cornyn's (R-TX) newsletter asking for Obamacare stories. When I sent it to the link provided by the newsletter, I got an automatic reply stating "Thank you for responding to Senator Cornyn's e-newsletter. This is an unattended mailbox. The best way to contact Senator Cornyn is to visit his website. Thank you."
Frustrating. It seems it was merely a ploy to receive a lot of email responses with a particular subject header but have an excuse to not read any of them. Below is what I sent:
Dear Senator Cornyn and staff,
I am a cancer researcher at the University of Texas at Austin. I have three Obamacare stories below:
First, mine. I was awarded a fellowship for my work that no longer covered UT benefits so I had to get on the exchanges. I was able to find a $0 deductible plan for $290/month without subsidies. I was thrilled. UT pays ~$550 a month for very similar coverage for a single employee, so I felt this was a fair price. I kept my doctor, had no issues, and when my fellowship was over, reinitiated my UT benefits and no longer needed Obamacare. For me, it worked.
My second story involves my fiancee, Andy Ramos. She moved to Austin 5 years ago and brought her small food truck business which eventually turned into a business with national distribution. As a self employed person not making any profits for the first several years, Andy had to get health insurance on the individual marketplace. She chose a plan with a $500 deductible listed at $273/month, but with subsidies, only had to pay $15 a month. Without this help, she would not have been able to continue working full time to expand her business, and would have been forced to find a job with healthcare and leave her company, or take a massive risk and go without healthcare at all, which I find to be an appalling choice in the richest country in the world. We are getting married next week, and looking forward to our lives together. In both of our cases, Obamacare made our relationship less stressful, and saved us money that is helping to pay for our wedding vendors and for use on a downpayment for our first house later this year.
My third Obamacare story involves my mother, Judi Childs. She has fairly good healthcare through my father's company. She was diagnosed with Stage IIIC ovarian cancer (~20% survival at 5 years) in April of 2008. She also had a second primary tumor detected in the Summer of 2014. With her hospital bills being well over $20,000 a month during her treatment and much more for her surgeries, her insurance did not cover all of the expenses, and my parents have had to pay over $120,000 our of pocket. They are very fortunate to be able to afford this amount of money, and without Obamacare provisions, she never would have reached a max out of pocket making them responsible for $500,000 out of pocket. This would have wiped out their retirement and likely forced them out of their current home as well, possibly even forcing them to file for bankruptcy. Obamacare saved their ability to live out their lives in their home without bankrupting them completely.
Above are three separate stories from just one of your constituents, each affecting me personally. I know there are some issues with Obamacare. A few states like Arizona have seen insurers drop out of the exchanges and premiums skyrocket. But, the overall trend is that premiums are increasing at a slower rate compared to pre-ACA, Obamacare has reduced medically related bankruptcies drastically, made Americans overall more healthy financially, and produced the lowest uninsured percentage of Americans ever (citations below). We need to find out what is happening in states where the ACA is not working, compare the differences in states where it is working, and address those issues. I also encourage you to work with your colleagues to expand Medicaid in TX, one of the biggest sources of the increase in financial health directly caused by the law. I know several people so low on money they can't afford care even with subsidies, or they fall within the "medicare gap" which you can fix for them. The bonus is that move would immediately fix Texas's embarrassing ranking as one of the least insured states.
However, I'm afraid my efforts to convince you today that Obamacare is truly a lifesaver, albeit an imperfect one, will fall upon deaf ears. You have shown no indication that you want to help your constituents get not only theoretical access to healthcare, but true healthcare itself. Please help the people of Texas, and of the USA.
Joseph Dekker, Ph.D.
Erin in Missouri
My story is from Missouri but covers the states of Kansas, Texas and Nebraska. Ours is a story of a genetic mutation that none of us could fathom would bring incredible health challenges to our family. We are the lucky few that have jobs that provide us with insurance. My grandfather's sisters were the first, that we are aware of, to be diagnosed with breast cancer. My mother's cousins and her sister were next. Then my mother was diagnosed in her early 50's with breast and then 3 years later with Uterine. Then I came along at 32 with a diagnosis. Then came my sister in her early 50's and now as I type this note my 78 year old mother awaits another radiology appointment for a 3rd cancer, vaginal. This story is filled with heartbreak and much love. These are the things patients should have to worry about, not whether they can afford the care or be discriminated against because they carry a gene that is beyond their control. A public, civil, and thoughtful conversation must happen in this country on how we move forward with a healthcare plan that protects and enables its citizens to have healthcare with a heart!
Mary in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts we have MassHealth and great hospitals. Without both of these my daughter would have died at birth. Everyone, no matter their income, deserves proper access to healthcare. Even if you have a pre-existing condition or a previous illness. Every look at my daughter affirms this!
Brynn in Massachusetts
I live in Massachusetts, but I'm from Texas. When I graduated high school, my dad informed me that he had paid enough for my health insurance and now that I was an adult, he wasn't going to pay for it anymore. That's it — that was the entire conversation. I had no idea how to get health insurance for myself, much less how to pay for it, so I just went without for seven years. Within that time, I almost died twice. I have always been very healthy, eaten well and exercised a fair bit. The first time I almost died, it was an accident at work. I watched my more experienced team member do everything we'd just been taught in training not to do, but I trusted him. I was wrong. Fortunately nobody was hurt that day, but if it wasn't for my friend who shoved me out of the way at the last minute, it could have been disastrous, not just for me, but also my family. The second time I almost died while uninsured, I was in college, working 18 hours while taking 18 hours in course credits. It was during finals, and I was just trying to get through. I had a back ache that lasted for weeks, but when I got home, I just wrapped myself in an electric blanket, and hunkered down on the couch to write my papers. By the time I gave a debate in my last class, I didn't know it but I had a 102-degree fever. When I finished, I was in so much pain that the vibrations of walking on pavement in shoes was nearly debilitating. I walked barefoot to the nearest free clinic, and the moment I walked in the door, I nearly collapsed. I had a kidney infection and was less than 24 hours away from going septic. If i'd had health insurance, I could have gone to the doctor sooner, obtained medicine, and recovered quickly and easily. Instead, I was bedridden for nearly a week, while my sister nursed me back to health in her dorm room — because I was so week, I couldn't get back to my own apartment. Soon, I learned that the unexpected absences from work had raised issues with my job, and they stopped putting me on the schedule. I was never fired or laid off, so I couldn't get unemployment benefits. When I got to Massachusetts, and visited a dentist for the first time in seven years, the doctor laughed out loud the moment I opened my mouth. The man I'd entrusted my teeth with as a teenager had been reckless, and I had no idea. I was told he had been at the top of his field. These days, I am very fortunate to have excellent health insurance through my husband's employer, but I keep an eye on Texas politics, especially around healthcare, and I am enraged, sad, and afraid for the women I left behind in my home state, where maternal mortality is the worst in the developed world, and the LGBT community is actively persecuted by a cruel and calculating governor. My sister, an accomplished equestrian and artist, lives in France. She was born with a tiny extra muscle in her ankles, and suffered a major injury in a competition years ago that sent her into a tailspin, because every time she aggravates that muscle even slightly, her leg swells up so much that she can't walk. Her condition is so rare, that it took years to even diagnose. She has tried every nonsurgical treatment under the sun, but is finally at a point where she must get surgery. She is afraid to come back home because she thinks her preexisting condition will make her uninsurable. Having finished grad school, her student visa will expire soon, and she is having a hard time finding a job. She is stuck between a rock and a hard place, where she wants to come back to be with her family, but she can't because of a preexisting condition she was born with. People shouldn't have to make choices like this in the 21st century. We have world-class modern medicine in this country, but the sick and twisted politicians in power think that only the wealthiest deserve access to it. It's wrong and shameful. Instead of being punished like the criminals they are, GOP politicians are just rewriting all the rules in their favor. That's no way to run a democracy. That's no way to be a decent human.
Allison in Louisiana
Tina in Texas
I have Stage IV colon cancer and am currently on private insurance. I will be forced onto Medicare in another year as I am currently on disability. My lifespan is at risk if the provision to cover pre-existing conditions is abandoned. Further I am at risk if the lifetime caps are reinstated. I have literally risked my life in order to participate in a Phase 1 drug trial to help advance our knowledge of treating cancer. How good is the new knowledge if we will not be covered?
Julia in Texas
I'm a 29 year old adult who was diagnosed with Fragile X Syndrome at age 9 and all through most of my life I have no real help besides my mom but she is a single mom to not just me but my brothers and sisters as well so there is only so much one person can do but ever since my brother, my sister, and myself has been on Medicate we got the support and help, care that we needed. The Therapy and Attendant care they have has improved my confidence and allowed me to not only work again but want to work again. Helped me better deal with my anxiety and be calmer. I never thought I could over come anything but because of Medicate I have.
Thanks so Much.
Mandy in Texas
As a psychologist in private practice, I'm concerned that the AHCA would reduce access to care for many individuals with serious mental illness, leading to devastating impact on the individual, as well as increased burden on the community.
Nicole in Kansas
I am writing on behalf of my 15-month-old daughter, Mira. I experienced a normal pregnancy, a normal birth, and a normal maternity leave. But around the 4 month mark, we learned that Mira has a neurological disability that may very well render her unable to walk or talk. I could not return to work for a year while I acted as lead therapist, advocate, and worried mother. The ACA is the only thing that kept our family afloat in the most difficult year of our lives. If the ACA is repealed, Mira, who has absolutely no control over the state of her health, will suffer needlessly. Please help Mira maintain appropriate access to the healthcare she deserves.
Jane in Kansas
I am a psychologist with a PhD, employed for the past 30 years in Community Mental Health Centers. I have a serious pre-existing condition that made me completely uninsurable before the ACA. Narcolepsy is a neurological condition that causes dysregulation of the sleep/wake cycle. If I do not have access to the very expensive medication that allows me to stay awake and functional, I will not be able to stay awake to do my work, and will likely end up unemployable. Before the ACA, as funding for mental health was repeatedly cut, I lived in fear of losing my job and my health insurance. Before the ACA, I could not start my own business (and create jobs for others) because I could not go without health insurance. Access to health care matters.
Amy in Kansas
Because the ACA mandates access to free mammograms, I got one this year that resulted in a breast cancer diagnosis. Because the ACA mandates coverage for genetic testing in my situation, I was able to have that done, and found out that I am BRCA1 positive. My risk of ovarian cancer was 60%. My risk of breast cancer recurrence was 70%. I get to ensure that won't happen to me. Yes, early menopause and a mastectomy suck, but they are a whole lot better than radiation, chemo, and possibly death. But I'm still at increased risk for colon, pancreatic, and skin cancer. If I lose my job and insurance companies are allowed to exclude me based on my cancer history, I would not be able to afford the annual screenings I need.
Ashley in Kansas
In 2012, at the age of 29, I had my first child and was diagnosed with post-partum cardio myopathy. This is a pregnancy-induced form of heart failure that occurs in women with no prior history (or family history) of heart disease. My recovery has been a long and brutal one. I was on a Life Vest (a portable defibrillator) for the first month, and I should have been on it longer, but insurance wouldn't cover any more of it. It's been a lot of cardiologist appointments, maxing out on medications, echos and low-sodium foods. I now have a pacemaker and am considered recovered, as long as I stay on my medications. Because of this, I will always be a pre-existing condition. The ACA made me feel safe, and I no longer do.
Leah in Kansas
I am a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, Aunt, and Great Aunt. I have lived in Kansas for over thirty years. In my family, my husband and I owned a small business and couldn't change health insurance, because of a pre-existing condition in one of my children. As a sister, I watched my older sister fight cancer while still working 12 hour shifts as a RN. As a Great Aunt, I am watching my Niece handle two sons with medical conditions that will be with them for life, one scoliosis and one with juvenile diabetes. You cannot allow the Insurance companies to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. Or allow Insurance companies to set lifetime limits. These people deserve to have health insurance coverage that does not have any life time maximums and reasonable premiums or help to pay these premiums throughout their lives.
Hilary in NYC (and Kansas)
Though I live in NY now, Kansas City is home. I was raised in KC, attended Shawnee Mission schools & KU. My friends, family and a piece of my heart remain there. I was born with Spina Bifida, so I've always had a pre-existing medical condition. I rely on the use of medical equipment multiple times a day every single day to continue my existence. I don't have insurance through an employer. When ACA was enacted and Medicaid was expanded, I stopped having to pay out of pocket for my supplies and I no longer had to pay a premium almost equal to my rent in NYC. I need the government of my country to continue to guarantee I will never be denied access to coverage & healthcare and that I will always be able to afford to pay for it.
Megan in Kansas
11 years ago I had just turned 23-years-old and was working as an account executive at a small public relations firm in Kansas City. After a year waitressing while the economy was in the tank, I had finally gotten a job in my career field. I was ecstatic! They didn't have a company insurance policy, but they did pay us a significant stipend to get our own insurance independently. I was too old to be on my parents' insurance, so I found a plan that was awful, but I could afford.
About two months into my job, I found out my boyfriend of four years and I were unexpectedly pregnant. But there was a problem. Pregnancy was considered a "preexisting condition" so my insurance dropped my coverage. Which was TOTALLY LEGAL. We researched how much it cost to have a baby without insurance and the panic was back.
I went to the only place I knew…Planned Parenthood. They gave me prenatal care when no one else would. Eventually I found a local clinic that worked with many that either didn't have insurance or were on government aid, and they helped me give birth to this beautiful human.
Under the Affordable Care Act, this wouldn't happen. Pregnancy wouldn't have been a preexisting condition. I could've still been on my parents' insurance. I would have had more private options and the ability to shop for the coverage I needed. In fact, I used the ACA when I first started my photography business because my husband's work insurance didn't cover me (until then I had my own coverage through my corporate job). I believe in the ACA. I am so grateful, and I think it would be a huge tragedy to repeal something that not only has changed my life personally, but has helped so many of my friends and family members. I also strongly condemn the current talk of cutting funding to Planned Parenthood. I have them to thank for this beautiful baby, and the amazing girl she has become.
Laura in Kansas
My son, Danny, was born at 30 weeks gestation via emergency C-section. At 6 months, we were told that he had delayed development. He was diagnosed with spastic cerebral palsy at one year of age. With the protections of the ACA, we did not have to worry about lifetime limits, pre existing conditions, and had the security of knowing we could keep him on our insurance until he is 26. Healthcare is a constant worry in our home and my son's life depends upon it. I cannot imagine living without the ACA.
Carrie in Kansas
My initial injury, a bulging disk, happened when I was 17 and a senior in high school. When I was 18, the disk herniated. I had back surgery at 19. I felt like a new person. No more crawling to the bathroom every morning for a hot bath, which was the only way that I could stand upright in the morning. No more chronic pain that was present day and night.
In June 2003 I was days away from and being kicked off my parent's insurance when I re-injured my back. It took a bit of time to build up so I didn't realize how bad it would get. About a week after I turned 23, I was unable to be upright or bear weight with my legs for more than about 5 seconds without them shaking. The pain was unbearable. I only made $1000/month working with children with Autism and their families through my graduate program. But I signed up for health insurance anyway. I was prescribed Lortab which helped with the pain but zonked me out to where all I could do was sleep. I needed an MRI and cortisone injections to be able to function again.
The insurance I signed up for had a pre-existing condition clause. They denied payment for all the services related to my back injury. The costs ended up being around $8000 that I could not pay. I continued to call the hospital billing department and tell them that all I could send was about $10 at a time. After a few months, they sent me financial hardship paperwork and absolved my medical debt.
I got my Masters in Speech-Language Pathology in May 2004 and have been a pediatric speech-language since that time working mostly with children with special needs but specializing in Autism and visual impairment. I am a wife and a mother and depend on my healthcare to keep me on my feet, going to work and caring for my family.
Patty in Kansas
I am 61, and in good health, insured through work. However, I have pre-existing conditions. Thanks to the ACA, underwriters can no longer ask intrusive questions about my health, or choose to hold my healthcare hostage by demanding that I pay a much higher premium.
The very rich have the means to pay higher rates, and the very poor qualify for public assistance. It is the middle class that is being decimated financially. We're too rich to get assistance, but too poor to keep up with cost increases across the board.
In the state of Kansas, we have one of the highest sales tax rates in the nation, high property taxes – and if healthcare rates rise, the middle class is faced with a zero-sum game of Russian roulette. When the price of a prescription doubles with no warning (which our Congress made possible), what bills can wait a month to be paid – gas or electric or water?
Did you know that high medical bills, together with high deductibles, is the biggest contributor to filing personal bankruptcy?
Please do not throw out the baby with the bathwater by repealing the ACA. Keep what is good, fix what needs to be fixed, and know that your constituents are waiting and watching to see what you value more – profits for insurance executives, or the quality of life you are creating for the citizens whom you represent.
Stacey in Kansas
This is a photo of me the day after I donated a kidney to a stranger, in June 2014. I made the decision to do this knowing that with the ACA in place, I could not be denied insurance due to a pre-existing condition in the future (a point that the hospital made to me more than once.) My donation gave a man more years with his children and grandchildren, and kickstarted a "pay it forward" chain of 6 more donations.
Having one kidney is a pre-existing condition. If the ACA is repealed, I may be denied health care in the future because of my deed. I knew the surgery was risky, but I did not know my risks included members of Congress voting directly against my future health care.
Thousands of people already die on the waiting lists every year for new kidneys. Without the ACA, even fewer people will be willing to be live donors. That's just one of the reasons I believe a repeal is callous and irresponsible.
Shelly in Missouri
I am an artist and landscape designer. I have stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. This cancer currently has no cure. I will be in treatment for the rest of my life (which I hope is longer than the 3-5 year median). I am on year 2. I am 40 years old. At the age of 36 I was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer. Can you say PRE-EXISTING CONDITION? I am married with a daughter who is 8 years old. If the ACA is repealed how will we stay in our house? How will we pay the exorbitant medical bills that are ongoing until I die? Currently each chemotherapy treatment I receive (every 3 weeks) is $42,000. I am thankful I have medical insurance under the ACA.
Cody in Missouri
The ACA enabled me to receive treatment that I never would've gotten through traditional insurance. I have a serious pre-existing condition (ulcerative colitis) and now there's no way anybody will insure me.
Andrew in Missouri
Sabrina in Missouri
I have a genetic disorder. It is a pre-existing condition that would only have been prevented if I weren't born. It is degenerative and incurable. Who will insure me? Without the ACA, I can be denied coverage for the rest of my life. Inevitably, I will cost my follow people more in tax dollars without the ACA than with it. Either I need the ACA or I need affordable health-care. It is nonoptional.
Angela in Missouri
I am strongly opposed to the Republican’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. My husband and I are both self-employed with small businesses in Missouri. We have two young boys, one of whom frequently has to be seen at our local children's hospital for medical issues. Without access to affordable health insurance we would not be able to get him the medical care that he needs. Before the ACA our privately acquired health insurance premiums were rising so high every year we were to the point of not being able to afford insurance for our family. The ACA is not perfect, but I strongly feel it needs time and adjustments to work. The ACA should NOT be repealed and replaced, which would be devastating to millions of Americans.
Christina in Missouri
If I went on the open market, BCBS quoted me a rate of $927 to insure myself, and $425 to insure my 22 year old daughter. As a self-employed person, I am able to obtain very similar, low deductible coverage for $153 a month for me, and a very nice policy for her in CO for $294. As a small business owner of a mental health center who is also a provider on all insurance panels, I would be unable to afford health insurance. Small business owners deserve to have comparable health coverage WITH the same benefit of excluding pre-existing conditions. My daughter was in a recent car accident at no fault of her own, facing a year of treatment and rehab. Where will this leave her, at such a young age, if pre-existing punishments return???
Elizabeth in Missouri
I need the ACA because even though I am supposed to be able to get insurance through a professional group (AVMA), their plans became too expensive for my husband and me several years ago. I am not a practice owner. I am a Type-2 diabetic and need coverage that I can afford despite a pre-existing condition. Diabetes requires frequent lab monitoring of blood and urine, eye exams, etc. I NEED DECENT INSURANCE! As does everyone in our age group (>50). My husband is currently healthy, thankfully, but anything can change at any time. We had Blue Cross but they dropped us after 2016 and we had very few choices when we re-enrolled this year.
Kara in Missouri
After finding a mass in my breast when I was a teenager, and a decade of doctors telling me it was nothing due to my young age, I finally pressed and had it checked out closer when my son was two. It wasn’t nothing. It was a fairly rare tumor, that if it metastasizes, chemo and radiation don’t work. You die. There are no treatments.
It was removed. Another surgery was necessary in order to get the surrounding tissue out, as these types of tumors are aggressive and like to come back. This left me with a pre-existing condition that rendered me unable to obtain any insurance that was remotely affordable. I have insurance now through my job. But when the ACA was passed, I knew the relief that so many others in situations like myself felt. There was a fighting chance. I am absolutely terrified of losing my coverage now, in light of the only safety net I would’ve had being ripped away. And I want to see my son grow up.
Kristina in Missouri
The ACA has afforded my family peace of mind. Our son Isaac was born with a spinal deformity that requires him to have growing rods, that need lengthened each year through surgery. He will also require other surgeries so that he can remain independent. Isaac uses a wheelchair, and other durable medical equipment, covered by our insurance. Without the ACA, we would face lifetime maximums, and pre-existing condition clauses, which would be detrimental to our family. Isaac wants to be just like every other kid, play sports, and have fun. We want to be able to continue to offer him every opportunity that he can to succeed. The ACA gives us peace of mind, allowing us to support Isaac.
Carla in Missouri
I have multiple autoimmune diseases, including 2 that effect my liver. There is no cure, but with medication I can stave off liver failure. 2 of the drugs I take will cost me $1500/monthly if I'm uninsured. That's 2/3 of my take home pay. If my small employer decides they can no longer afford to subsidize our insurance & you repeal the pre-existing conditions mandate in the ACA you are signing my death warrant. I won't die right away, it will take a few years—but liver failure is a horrible way to die & before I lose myself to brain damage from the toxins I will be forced to end my own life on my own terms. I have a whole lot left to do in & offer to this world but I have to keep insurance coverage to do it.
Veronica in Missouri
ACA helps my family every time I go to the doctor. Yearly pelvic exams, well-child visits, etc. my co-pay for a doctor's visit is about $40. These costs add up, and I've had more than one sigh of relief at the fee being waived so I can use that money for groceries or bills. In addition, a relative of mine has a young daughter with a pre-existing condition. She said ACA made it possible for her daughter to get the health protection she needs. Without it, her daughter, under 5 years old, would have been denied coverage.
Michael in Missouri
I have pre-existing conditions: thryoid cancer, a lumbar back injury that caused major damage to the nerves in my feet (radiculopathy), diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis, and double knee replacement. I would have a very hard time finding insurance without the Affordable Care Act.
Megan in Missouri
I had an emergency appendectomy last year. I received a call from the surgeon, telling me they found a cancerous tumor on my appendix, but thankfully was removed with the surgery. I have MRIs and lab work with my oncologist every 3-4 months to ensure that there isn't any progression. This year, I started having severe hip pain. After a referral to orthopaedics, physical therapy, and more tests – it's been discovered that I need surgery on my hip and have a growth on my hip that could be cancerous. I'm being referred to another physician next week. I tell my story not for sympathy. I'm one of the lucky ones. I'm 31, I am blessed with fantastic health insurance through my employer, but I haven't always been so lucky. We have to look out for our fellow Americans. Preexisting conditions can happen to anyone, anytime.
Kim in Missouri
At age 12, months after our mother passed away, my younger sister was diagnosed with adult hydrocephalus. She has had 3 shunts. Until the ACA, she had difficulty getting any insurance and it was always extremely expensive. When she married, she and her husband adopted a child from KC's DFS system. This child was diagnosed with multiple learning issues, speech & eye issues. She, too, now that she is 27, depends on the ACA. My other sister and myself both have pre-existing conditions. I was elated when the ACA passed so that we could not be denied for hydrocephalus and cancer. We are all now extremely worried about what TRUMPCARE/ NOCARE will do to us.
Becky in Missouri
My daughter has type 1 diabetes. I am terrified at what repealing the ACA means for her. She will never be able to buy private insurance if the pre-existing clause is eliminated. Cash costs are in the tens of thousands per year. So if the lifetime cap is allowed again, she will run out of benefits at some point. We/she could easily go bankrupt and beyond just to be able to pay for her life-saving medication(insulin). Cash price for JUST her insulin is more than our house payment every month. That does not include test strips or any other diabetic supplies. 🙁 There would come a point where we/she would not be able to afford the medicine she needs to live. Repealing the ACA is an eventual death sentence for so many.
Jennifer in Missouri
I am 27 years old. I just finished my first semester of law school. I am a fully independent student, no spouse to cover me. My parents haven't helped me pay my expenses since I moved out at 18 (meaning rent, food, gas; they did keep me on their health insurance until I finished college). I get extra loans from FAFSA to cover insurance expenses, but it isn't enough to pay for an individual plan. The only reason I can afford insurance is the tax credits.
I have an autoimmune disease that increases my risk of anxiety, heart disease, digestive disorders, and other autoimmunities. I also have asthma. Before the ACA, when insurers could deny coverage for preexisting conditions, some people with my disease died because they couldn't afford treatment. This is true of many treatable and manageable conditions, such as lupus. If an insurer does decide to cover people with those conditions, the premiums are high because we are deemed "risky." So, we still can't get coverage because we can't afford it.
I have a manageable condition that isn't even that expensive to manage. I usually just pay out of pocket for my care, and I spend maybe $800 a year. But I have to keep insurance in case something goes haywire, or I am in a car wreck, or my appendix decides to liberate itself from my abdomen. And that is what is being kept from me when insurers deny me coverage or charge me insane premiums.
I got good grades this semester. I worked hard and it paid off. But if the ACA is repealed and my coverage is taken away, there's a very real chance that I will have to drop out so I can look for a job with good coverage that won't price me out because of my condition. I don't believe I am entitled to a dream job, but I do think I will be a good lawyer, and it is sad that people with great potential are held back because of something like health.
Hillary in Missouri
In 2008 I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. My symptoms have been well-managed with medication, but the medication is expensive, and I would not be able to afford it without insurance. The ACA's protections for preexisting conditions have taken a load off my mind the past eight years. It has meant that I haven't had to worry that a job loss would mean the loss of my healthcare.
Jake in Missouri
I have Multiple Sclerosis & am lucky enough to have had employer based healthcare when I was diagnosed. That was pre-ACA. If my MS had been diagnosed when I wasn't on that insurance, nobody would have covered me. Or it would have been too expensive. The passage of the ACA meant I could stop worrying about a break in coverage that would keep me from getting new insurance because of my pre-existing condition. It meant that if I had a relapse the associated costs likely wouldn't bankrupt me. It meant not worrying about a plan that would impose a lifetime cap on my coverage, which with $200k/year in prescription costs alone wouldn't take long to reach.
Amy in Missouri
My beautiful daughter Lainey has a genetic growth disorder called Turner Syndrome. Every night since she was 2, she gets a growth hormone shot. The ACA guaranteed she'd never be denied coverage for her pre-existing condition. Our insurance and prescription drug rates have remained steady under the ACA. She has the condition for life. What happens now?
Becky in Missouri
I was unable to get health care for ten years because of pre existing conditions. When I was able to finally get health care again I learned I was diabetic with other issues. Without ACA I could not afford insurance.
Michelle in Missouri
My brother and I have pre-existing conditions due to our chronic illness. He will get kicked off my parents' insurance in October. Please don't repeal without a plan to replace and protect people like us who depend on healthcare to stay well.
Deedra in Missouri
My daughter, Izzy, is 8 years old and has Cystic Fibrosis. She wasn't quite 2 years old when our private insurance covered through my husband's employer notified us that she had nearly reached her lifetime limit in February 2010. We were totally at a loss as to what to do as we couldn't move our toddler daughter to my insurance as Cystic Fibrosis was a pre-existing condition and we made too much to qualify for any state assisted program which already lacked several of the services we used with our private insurance. In the end, we would have likely had either lost our home or changed to lower paid careers to get government assistance. Luckily, we didn't have to worry for long. Within 2 weeks of receiving that letter, the ACA passed and our insurance preemptively removed lifetime limits. If these or pre-existing conditions are reinstated, we will seriously consider immigrating to Canada. I have already taken the step of finding a new employer just this month that will assist us with immigration if need be. I don't want to leave my friends, family, and country but I won't have many options if my daughter's healthcare and thereby her life become forfeit here as to protect the profit of the richest among us.
Michelle in Missouri
For 6 years, I was denied insurance for pre-existing condition. I am a small business owner. For many years, I waited tables at night for the benefits, but they did away with them.
I had an emergency appendectomy and then a cancer scare which required biopsies every six months, which began my spiral into crippling debt. The ACA has allowed me to be the healthiest I have been in a decade. I finally paid off my medical debt and can work one job and expand my business. The ACA is everything to me and the thought of going back is devastating to me. Most entrepreneurs need the ACA to start new businesses. Revoking it also limits job growth. Thanks for listening!
Mikayla in Missouri
This is what a seizure looks like. Can you imagine watching your loved one go through this? Can you imagine the fear? Can you imagine having to pay $72,500+ for brain surgery to prevent these seizures that interfere with ability to work, drive, and live, because your insurance won't cover pre-existing conditions like left temporal lobe epilepsy.
I can-because this is the nightmare we are facing as we prepare for more video EEGs, transesophegial echocardiograms, and brain surgery in the next two years without the ACA.
SHE COULD DIE WITHOUT IT. @MELANIATRUMP imagine this was Barron https://t.co/T959484wuD
Julie in Washington
My name is Julie Negrin, I'm a nutritionist and cooking teacher that's had 4 unrelated cancers by age 42 due to a genetic syndrome called Lynch Syndrome. I lost 4 organs in 2014 and had 18 weeks of chemo, which thankfully, was all covered thanks to the Affordable Care Act! It literally saved my life. Unfortunately, I have a lot of complications now and go to the doctors 6-8 times a week. If the ACA is repealed, I'm scared I won't be able to afford health insurance and wouldn't survive long…please call your senators and urge them to vote no!!
Joe in Texas
Half of my family had some sort of pre-existing condition including diabetes, asthma, severe hearing loss and depression.
Maggie in Texas
My son-in-law is Type 1 diabetic. If pre-existing conditions increase his premium, he will not be able to have insurance and will die.
Courtney in Texas
I have recently lost my job due to my multiple mental illnesses. I don't quality for Medicaid due to the state I live in, Texas, opted out of the Medicaid deal with ACA. Without ACA will not be able to afford the medications I need to help with my mental illnesses. Plus I will not be able to afford my mental health treatment with my psychiatrist and therapy. I fear also that I will go back to the way I was before being on medications, which was bad and could get worse. People like me need ACA for stabilizing our health.
Buddy in Texas
I had my left foot amputated when I was 18, meninges coccemea and my wife has Multiple sclerosis. We have serious concern over possible gaps in coverage or other flaws in the bill from the house or your secretive bill. We demand a fix to the ACA, high risk pools, additional funding/taxes to cover if not single payer. We are both in the age group where if you give huge tax cuts to top % our premiums will increase in a huge manner. Stop hiding the bill. Be transparent. We live in Texas and Cruz and Cornyn are not telling the truth to America.
Miriam in Texas
My name is Miriam. I am 36. four years ago I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. My husband and I both work. We pay taxes. We are comfortably upper middle class. But proposed changes to how Americans are insured could devastate and bankrupt our family, not to mention possibly kill me. MS would be considered a pre-existing condition. If my husband, who's insurance I am on, were to ever lose his job, we would be in a "high risk" pool and I would never be able to get affordable insurance if rates were allowed to take that into account. In addition, my "basic care" every year is north of $70K, because the medicine I take alone costs over $60k a year. All MS medicine prices are this way. Insurance companies are not regulated in any of the proposed laws I have seen. IF the new plan, as proposed, would allow any sort of lifetime maximums back into the system, someone like me could easily max out, even with insurance in a decade. I would only be in my 40s. What would my husband and I do then? Would we be expected to find $70K+ a year for our basic medical needs? Maximums cannot be reinstated under any circumstances. In addition, the annual out of pocket maximums have saved us. Especially once the additional regulation on prescription coverage being counted toward the out of pocket limit kicked in. Many insurance companies are managing costs by putting expensive medications like mine into "specialty" tiers where they only cover a % of the prescription. Even if an insurance company covers say 80% of the $5500 a month mine costs, that could still leave me with over $1000 out of pocket to pay every months, or $12,000 a year! the reason this is not happening is because of the out of pocket maximums and co pay assistance. YEs, our system does not work, and yes it needs fixing, like reigning it the cost of drugs, But the proposed plans do nothing to control those. All they do is try to throw people like me off the system at some point–people like me who need it most and who if thrown off, will instead of continuing to be productive members of society, continuing to work and consume and contribute, will become either sicker because we cannot afford healthcare, spend all our money only on healthcare and become impoverished otherwise, or both.
Mindy in Texas
My son, Chris, has been fighting a brain tumor for the last fifteen years. He was diagnosed at the age of eight, and he has endured 12 surgeries. He’s smart, strong, and resilient, a true warrior, but he’s also more vulnerable than most because of the unbelievable costs associated with either a chronic or terminal illness. With the ACA, we do not have to worry about preexisting conditions, lifetime limits, or his having to insure himself—at least for a few years. When that time comes, the Affordable Care Act has provided me a great deal of peace because his health insurance won’t have to be tied to his employment. People who battle brain tumors may be doing well for days, weeks, months, or even years, but, literally, everything can change in an instant because of residual tumor growth, metastasis, hydrocephalus, shunt failure, brain necrosis, or other issues. We know all of these issues firsthand. Fortunately, these obstacles in my son’s journey occurred before he was legally an adult. These days, I worry not only about his health but also about his ability to sustain a job, support himself, maintain health coverage, and fight for his life simultaneously, which is what he’d have to do if the Affordable Care Act is replaced because health insurance would again be strictly tied to one’s job. All of the very serious health issues I mentioned above would inevitably cause a person to lose his job, which in turn would result in him losing his employer-provided health insurance. Ultimately, the end result would be the person’s death because he would be unable to afford medical care through a program like COBRA in addition to deductibles, co-pays, prescriptions, and living expenses. Please do not repeal or replace the ACA. Improving it to make it more competitive is a great idea, but creating a scenario where people like my son will die for no good reason is just unfathomable.
Nicole in Illinois
My husband and I battled infertility for seven years before we had our son. It was through the process of IVF that we discovered my husband had Hepatitis C from blood transfusions he received during open heart surgery as a child. Shortly after our son was born, I became critically ill with a chronic, incurable fungal lung infection known as valley fever. Any one of those conditions is a pre-existing condition or would hit the average lifetime cap for insurance coverage very quickly. Combined? We could be bankrupt in under a year. We've done everything "right". We've had full time careers with healthcare our entire adult lives. We've saved. Put money into retirement accounts. Lived frugally. Sometimes the air we breathe or the hearts we're born with make us chronically ill, and no insurance companies or GOP health policy should have the right to force the choice between a home for our child or death.
Marla in Texas
I feel like my mother died because she could not get health insurance. Hence, it's always been a top concern of mine. Luckily, I have insurance through my husband's employment, but if he retires before I am Medicare age, I will need to obtain health insurance on the open market. My daughter and son-in-law are both in the arts- not the kind of field conducive to employer based health insurance.
Julia in Maryland
My daughter has been diagnosed since birth with Osteogenesis Imperfecta and has had over 50 fractures of her long bones. She receives bone strengthening infusions and has had countless rodding surgeries to ensure all bones have rods through them. She uses a wheelchair and a walker (none of which could be obtained without Medicaid. Additionally, she is covered through MCHIPs. We received a bill after a surgery once and at over 100k there is literally no way we could pay that. We would have to file for bankruptcy which would end up shorting the hospitals and doctors. It would be a horrible cycle that would never end as she will always have this condition. Please help to keep my daughter strong and independent.
Patty in Oregon
Through no fault of my own I acquired MS, now I'm on disability after working my whole life. I won't be able to afford meds without medicare. At the very least it won't kill me, so I feel scared for the millions it will kill or bankrupt.
Kelli in Texas
I have pre-existing conditions which will affect my care. I am not just a statistic, I am a real person who will be affected!
Debra in Texas
My daughter struggles with mental illness and addiction. She is doing well right now because her insurance covers her medication and hospitalization. If she were to loose coverage because of these pre-existing conditions it could be fatal for her. It is not her fault that she has a brain disorder and she should not be penalized for it. She deserves to be treated and to live as functional a life as she is able.
Laura in Texas
Sun Jun 18 2017
"My mother has a prexisting condition"
Julia in Texas
I've worked in healthcare since 1978 and one thing is abundantly clear: the ACA has been the best governmental action on behalf of human beings since Medicare was passed in 1965. Thirteen men in the Senate are threatening to undo it, in secret, as a partisan power grab, for purely political reasons. They sit in their clean, quiet committee rooms and play with people's lives; I stand in an acute care hospital, meeting people on one of the worst days of their lives, and have to explain to them that unless they have insurance, the hospital is going to charge them ungodly amounts, and they must pay. Phrases like "pre-existing conditions" and "high risk pool" are only words to politicians, but mean life and death to actual people. The Senators on this committee are threatening to take out the parts of the ACA that made insurance actually support people, and not just make money for the insurer. What is the point of this? What on earth could they believe besides "Obamacare [politically] bad!" Surely they have brought more thought to this. It has never affected them personally, of course, because Senators get a sweet Cadillac of a health insurance policy for life, and are exempt from the laws they pass (we won't get into the insanity of that here, just note it). I've been self-employed since 1995 and thus buy my health insurance in the individual market, and it was a horror until the ACA. My son was born prematurely and had asthma, "pre-existing conditions" still held against him at the age of 20. My daughter is fortunately healthy but is on the autism spectrum, and receives school services that will be cut when Medicaid is gutted. I have arthritis, which has been ridered out in every policy I've carried since 1995 – so I have insurance that fails to cover what I need it to cover. It was a massive relief when my husband came of age for Medicare and got the care he had needed for years for hepatitis C and hypertension, but which had always been denied to him because they were "pre-existing conditions". We have paid up to $2000/month for bare-bones insurance, because I know that self-pay patients have the worst possible deal of all: highest prices, fewest options, major risk of banktuptcy with any major illness or accident. And our options continue to dwindle in the Texas individual market because Republicans have seen to hobble the ACA as much as possible before attempting to kill it entirely. And this is what they want to send all of us back to: poor, expensive care, with none of the safeguards that government needs to provide, because private insurers are in it for profit. There are only two ways to make a profit in health insurance: boost premiums/copays/deductibles and reduce services – neither of which benefit human beings. If there are true conservative statesmen on this committee, they will see the undeniable fact that the private sector has signally failed to deliver healthcare to all. Healthcare is no place for private profit. Profit should never be a factor in life and death decisions. If we eliminate the unconscionable overhead of profit-driven health insurance companies involved in billing and paying for the delivery of healthcare services, we can easily afford to provide health insurance for everyone. $59.17 per month per $20,000 of annual income is all it would cost to expand Medicare coverage to every man, woman, and child in America. Are they wise enough to leave their dysfunctional party and personal ambitions behind, and do what's best for people? We shall see. And we shall remember when they are up for re-election.
Sophia in Texas
I oppose repeal and replace and have done so since the beginning. Republicans in Congress are wasting a massive amount of time trying to destroy the “legacy” of President Obama, instead of using that energy to make healthcare more affordable by expending affordable coverage under the ACA. I expect you to stand up for the tens of thousands in our district who could be charged higher premiums, and I’m surprised that your office is reportedly “still considering” the bill. I’ve done my research concerning a law that would affect me and my family so directly – The ACA replacement would take away care from 24 million people & cut Medicaid by $880 billion dollars. It would also give tax cuts to the wealthy & insurance companies. Healthcare cannot exist unregulated in the free market– it’s a basic human right that keeps people alive and healthy. Congress is responsible for ensuring the existing health care system works for ALL American people, not just the wealthy. If healthcare becomes more expensive, or insurance companies are driven out of the marketplaces, Americans will look to Congress for accountability. I cannot imagine a less Christian notion than trying to take care away healthcare from 24 million people. My mother has two preexisting conditions – fibromyalgia and cancer in remission. Fibromyalgia takes a toll on her job security: If she gets a head-cold or virus, fibromyalgia puts her in bed for 1-4 weeks. My mother was a housewife for 24 years, putting her career on hold to raise her family. After their divorce four years ago, my father took my mother off his work-provided health insurance. She pays over $700 a month (raised from $600 at the beginning of the year) for health insurance because she falls into the gap between Obamacare (she makes too little) and Medicaid (Texas refused the expansion). She is currently job hunting and receives less than $3k in alimony & child support a month. Her rent is $1600 for a two bedroom in a good school district (my little brother is about to graduate high school). My grandmother died from 12 years of breast cancer, my mother’s best friend died from cancer because she didn’t have access to affordable health insurance. If you repeal ACA without a viable alternative and take away the preexisting conditions clause my mother will be unable to afford the health insurance she desperately needs to stay alive. I beg you to consider the very real and immediate impact that repeal and replace would have on the families in your district. This is incredibly important. Almost every family I know in Austin has at least one preexisting condition. Access to healthcare is a basic human right, and I hope that you are committed to protecting that right. Regardless of your own priorities, by taking office you agreed to vote in Congress based on the will of your constituents. You represent the people, and the people’s opinion on healthcare are clear.
Anuradha in Texas
My mother was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease 10 years ago, and over the past year, it has been attacking her kidneys. She is about to go on dialysis, which she will need for the rest of her life to literally stay alive. I'm worried that the loss of protection for preexisting conditions will means she eventually will lose coverage for her dialysis treatment.
Jeff in Texas
Sun Jun 18 2017
I and many of my friends and neighbors are too frightened to seek out treatment for pressing health issues, including mental health problems, because we believe that having pre-existing conditions will prevent us from obtaining affordable health care in the future.
Amanda in Texas
Sun Jun 18 2017
My sister just started her own business as a therapist for special needs kids. She has Type 1 Diabetes, so health insurance is not optional for her. She currently buys insurance off the ACA marketplaces. Depending on how the new law is worded, she could either be denied insurance coverage due to her pre-exising condition or be priced out of the market. If this happens, she will have to find a different job which offers insurance and her days as an entrepreneur and small business owner will be over. Also, most of her patients are paying for their therapy using Medicaid. If Medicaid funding is cut, or if it stops covering therapy, then not only do these kids lose out, but my sister's career simply vanishes without customers. The therapy she provides helps get autistic kids ready to become functional members of society, able to have jobs and take care of themselves. Medicaid funding is essential to these kids, just as the ACA marketplaces are essential for my sister.
Lynette in Texas
Sun Jun 18 2017
I am a 39yrs old wife, mother, & public school teacher with no family history of breast cancer, but at 37yrs old, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. For the moment, I am no evidence of disease thanks to the treatment I was able to receive under my employer provided insurance, but the House GOP bill puts my employer provided insurance at risk. I am terrified of the return to lifetime and annual limits. Limits will place my life at risk. If my cancer returns and limits are in place, it is likely I will not be able to access or afford any treatments for very long since cancer is so expensive. I would quickly hit any cap. Prior to the ACA, my insurance had a one million dollar lifetime cap. The ACA is not perfect, but it's better than nothing. When I was diagnosed on August 27, 2015, I knew the ACA protected me from my insurance dropping me, denying coverage, and there were no arbitrary financial limits to fear. I underwent 8 rounds of chemotherapy w/targeted therapies, a full year of a targeted therapy, and a bilateral mastectomy with auxiliary lymph nodes dissection all before my 38th birthday. Then, I endured 28 hellish rounds of radiation. I continued to teach throughout treatments and to raise my children, who are now 9 and 11. The ACA protects me and millions of cancer patients. I'm terrified of what the GOP are crafting in secret, and I believe the GOP bill will harm constituents like me. Cancer does not make me less than someone who by the grace of God does not or has not had cancer. Returning our insurance system back to the way it was prior to the ACA is absolutely wrong, but my senators are hellbent to ignore people like me and leave us to the whims of the healthcare industry. In my last letter to my senators, I ended it with this: Please, Senator, think of me when you cast your vote. Be 100% ok with saying you find me less. From what I can see, they're just fine with finding me less.
Kelsey in Texas
Sun Jun 18 2017
My name is Kelsey, and I am a 25 year old graduate student. I am having two kidneys stones removed this week (which is rare for someone my age). I have also always battled thyroid issues, and have a suspicious nodule on my thyroid. I am currently covered under my school's insurance plan (again, rare) as well as my father's plan through his work. Most of my medical expenses are covered by these, but I am still forced to pick and choose what medical issues are more urgent to address, because I cannot afford the bills. For now, I have been putting off testing on the thyroid nodule because if it is cancer, it is a slow-growing one. Next February, I will be kicked off of my father's insurance, and must hope that whatever job I find includes a decent package. My fear is that even if I do find such a job, my thyroid conditions won't be covered. That would lead to putting it off until I am literally about to die from thyroid complications, since I wouldn't be able to afford large medical bills on top of rent and student loans. And I am in a more privileged position than many other citizens, since I am well educated and am more likely to find a decent job with a good health care package. Our country shouldn't be a place where only the rich can afford to survive.
Linda in Texas
Sun Jun 18 2017
Everyone I know who currently takes medicine will be impacted by a loss of coverage for preexisting conditions. From my friends with asthma to my friends with cancer. I have two friends right now that put off doctor visits for symptoms due to no coverage until ACA passage. With ACA, went to the doctor, both diagnosed with late stage cancer that could have been easily cured with earlier recognition. Both in their 50's with lots of productive life to live cut horribly short. The days before the ACA were awful. Denial of coverage or denial of reimbursement of a claim were the name of the game. Letting our workforce die of preventable or treatable conditions long before their productive lives should end, how does this allow our economy to thrive? I have two other friends who had to declare bankrupcies because they had no health insurance and needed emergency care before ACA coverage was available. One that was raising two orphaned kids of her dead brother. How did losing her home due to a heart attack help our economy? And now no home AND will be uninsurable again? I'm ashamed of our current politicians' agenda. Their agenda will NOT make America great again.
Imelda in Texas
Sun Jun 18 2017
My biggest fear as a woman of reproductive age would be finding myself uninsured and pregnant. I currently have employer provided health insurance but I know I am lucky to have it. What if I lose my job? What if I need to take a break from working because I need to take care of my aging mother? What if I find myself between insurance plans and pregnant? If Republicans get rid of the pre-existing condition protection insurance companies will charge exorbitant premiums to pregnant women. If Republicans get their way the plan I may be able to afford may not even cover maternity care since they want to allow such plans to be offered. On top of that they are cutting Medicaid which some of my friends have used for maternity care when they find themselves pregnant and uninsured. I truly feel like Republicans are leaving us with no options. They claim to care about babies to be. They claim to care about the middle class but they are not acting like that is true at all. If the senate version does not protect pre-existing conditions and mandates maternity care women of reproductive age will find ourselves in a very precarious situation. I hope all women of reproductive age understand that and fight against this bill.
Linda in Texas
Sun Jun 18 2017
In 2016 I was diagnosed with stage 4 Breast cancer. I am 47 years old. Without the ACA I would not have been able to afford the treatment that has gotten me into remission. Having access to affordable coverage with a pre-existing condition is not a game for me, or for the millions of people living with cancer – it is the difference between life and death.
Nicole in Texas
I was diagnosed with asthma when I was 3. I have been living with it all my life and require daily medication to manage it. Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies would refuse to cover my asthma medication. There were months when I had to decide between paying my rent or getting a refill on my inhaler. I haven't had to worry about that since ACA, and I've been able to seek out care for other conditions. If these protections go away, I'm enormously worried about what it would mean for me, my husband and my stepdaughter, who also have preexisting conditions.