Tue Sep 05 2017

Leeann in Massachusetts

I grew up in poverty I didn't have health insurance after traumatic sexual assault at age 14 I became pregnant I had 2 make the hardest decision to terminate the pregnancy thank God I was born at a time it was safe & legal I got no help or support & blamed myself for being assaulted my young life spiraled into alcohol & drugs I grew up in violence so during this time I got an std that lead to me being diagnosed with precervical cancer. I'm not a waste of a human being I'm as living, caring as they come. I thank God for planned parenthood for their support education an always non judgmental care that saved my life.

Wed Jul 26 2017

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.

Thank you.

Wed Jul 26 2017

Lora in Massachusetts

I had a knee replacement and subsequent postoperative infection. My insurance covered two full weeks of hospitalization, visiting nursing care and 6months of physical therapy. It also covered the care of an infectious disease doctor, numerous tests and outpatient services. Without insurance coverage, I would be unable to walk without devastating pain. Insurance allowed me to resume my life and go back to work.

I request that theSenate Bill be amended to require that employer and private insurance include rehabilitative care, hospitalization, outpatient care, and labs as essential services, and that no subsequent BCRA Amendment in 2017 can remove such services.

Wed Jul 26 2017

Thea in Massachusetts

My friend’s wife had a relatively minor stroke in her late 50’s. As a result of the stroke, she needs daily medication to go along with the physical and occupational therapy she had to have. She is now working again but might not have been able to return to work without rehabilitation services. She also currently relies on medication to maintain her health.

Please amend the Better Care Reconciliation Bill to eliminate lifetime caps on all 10 essential services as defined by the Affordable Care Act and require that all employers offer the broadest coverage required by any state in which they do business.

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Wed Jul 26 2017

Pam in Massachusetts

Ten years ago, I found an abdominal lump that ultrasound revealed to be a potentially cancerous ovarian cyst. My CA 125 test for ovarian cancer was negative, however, and a local surgeon therefore offered to remove the cyst laparoscopically by chopping it up and pulling out the pieces. Thanks to a second opinion with a Dana Farber surgeon,I learned that particular test for ovarian cancer is incorrect 50% of the time until the cancer has spread beyond the ovary. The Dana Farber surgeon successfully removed the cyst, which was later found to be cancerous.

If I had not been covered for second opinions and laboratory tests, I might not be alive today.
Please amend the BCRA so that all the services currently available under the ACA continue to be required in all employer and private BCRA insurance policies and that such services are also covered by Medicaid.

Wed Jul 26 2017

Amy in Massachusetts

A friend’s daughter,diagnosed with liver disease soon after birth, required many services and medications. Her family hoped for a transplant, however even after moving to another state with more likelihood for a transplant, she did not survive.

I request that the Senate Better Care Reconciliation Bill be amended so that that everyone legally in this country has insurance for congenital and pre-existing conditions for at minimum, all ten essential services as defined in the Affordable Care Act, and that people seeking treatment for chronic illness not be denied or restricted because they cannot afford private insurance. There cannot be a cap on medical expenses incurred for treatment of chronic illness.

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Wed Jul 26 2017

Margaret in Massachusetts

My mother-in-law is at a point physically and mentally where she must be moved to a nursing home. She worked hard all her life and has good savings, but her resources will be depleted within two years. At that point,she would be covered by Medicaid, which currently covers two-thirds of all people in nursing homes. The drastic reduction toMedicaid funding in the BCRA is a huge concern to our family.

Please amend the BCRA to continue the expansion of Medicaid underlying Obamacare and continue the federal funding for the original program.

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Wed Jul 26 2017

Andrea in Massachusetts

I was at the Boston Marathon in 2013, the year I which terrorists bombed the finish line, and I have a special feeling for those who were injured. Many the victims required multiple operations, rehabilitation, and prostheses. Even with insurance policies and the One Fund, several have already gone bankrupt, and more are sure to follow.

According to Kathryn Watson of CBS News, the Senate bill will allow states to opt out of offering essential services like rehabilitation. I propose that the BCRA be amended so that no victim of a terrorist attack be denied treatment or coverage for any of the ten essential services set forth in the Affordable Care Act. Since no one knows in advance what will befall them, all potential victims of a terrorist attack should be entitled to such protection as well. In other words: all of us.

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Wed Jul 26 2017

S.T. in Massachusetts

At the age of fifty-seven (57) I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and put on several blood thinners to avoid potential blood clots. Two years later I suffered an Embolic stroke from a clot which developed in my heart. This happened even though, I was having blood tests every three weeks and was very reliable about taking my medication. As a result of the stroke I require daily medication and required physical and occupational therapy. I am quite concerned about life-time caps, the cost of medication, and the possibility that essential services will be restricted to eliminate the ongoing medical monitoring and services that I need. I also worry that I will never be able to change healthcare providers due to this pre-existing medical condition.

Please amend the Better Care Reconciliation Bill to eliminate life time caps on all 10 essential services as defined by the Affordable Care Act and require that all employers offer the broadest coverage required by any state in which they do business.

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Wed Jul 26 2017

Nancer in Massachusetts

I am pretty healthy. For many years I barely used my health insurance. Until I was attacked by a dog while running, and my writing arm and hand were “partially degloved” –which is pretty terrifying when you aren’t wearing gloves. It would have been even more terrifying, if I hadn’t had insurance coverage for the three surgeries,hospitalizations, intravenous and oral medications, visiting nurses, dressing care,occupational therapy, physical therapy, and the PTSD therapy that I needed to return to work and, eventually, to running.

Please amend the BCRA to continue the requirement that insurance cover the ten essential health benefits required under the AffordableCare Act without lifetime caps or deductibles that exceed those allowed under the ACA. Health Insurance allows life to go on when something you never thought would happen occurs. It allows people to return to work and return to contributing to the economy. It prevents families from going bankrupt.

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Wed Jul 26 2017

Karin in Massachusetts

I am concerned that people who are victims of terrorism will not get the services they need if the BCRA is enacted. A friend of mine ran the Boston Marathon in 2013, the year of the bombing. Victims of that incident required endless surgeries to save limbs, had limbs amputated, prostheses required, and many lost their jobs due to an inability to work. Without Medicaid, they may not be able to receive the treatment they needed. If this bill is passed, how many innocent victims of terrorism will die or go bankrupt after the next act of terrorism or violence?

Please amend the BCRA and/or AHCA so that all victims of terrorism or violence are covered for the 10 Essential Services mandated by the ACA with no lifetime caps.

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Wed Jul 26 2017

Margaret in Massachusetts

My daughter has a job at a small company that is unable to provide health insurance for its employees. She has good insurance through Obamacare. Because the BCRA allows states to waive essential health benefits,she could potentially be one of the young people able to get insurance at a lower cost. However, she may not have coverage for pre-natal and natal services should she become pregnant. This is not a benefit to her or any children she may have.

Please amend the BCRA continue the requirementfor insurance to cover the essential health benefits.


Wed Jul 26 2017

David and Laura in Massachusetts

Our 26-year-old son had a stroke and required emergency open-heart surgery. This involved weeks of hospitalization and the intervention of world-class doctors. If we hadn’t had the option of keeping him on our health insurance policy after he graduated from college, or our health insurance policy hadn’t covered all of the 10 EssentialServices in the Affordable Care At our family would have incurred crippling debts that would have tragically affected our lives.

We urge that the BetterCare Reconciliation Act be amended to require that all 10 Essential Services mandated by the Affordable Care Act continue to be required in all BCRA insurance policies.

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Wed Jul 26 2017

Laurie in Massachusetts

My breast cancer was detected early, after I felt a lump in my armpit. I was very fortunate. I had a biopsy and then a complete mastectomy but because it was caught early I did not need radiation or chemotherapy.

Breast cancer is extremely common. About 1 in 8 women will get it. It is also the second deadliest type of cancer for women. Over 240,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer each year and 40,000 die from it.

Many women depend upon Planned Parenthood for their breast exams. Regular breast cancer screenings and mammograms enable early detection of breast cancer and extend women’s’ lives by many years. It is unconscionable to place women’s lives at risk when breast cancer can be caught early because some people object to family planning counseling.

Please amend the BCRA to provide funding for breast exams and other non-abortion services provided by Planned Parenthood. Also, I urge that theBCRA be amended so that no one can be denied insurance or Medicaid directly or indirectly because of a pre-existing cancer condition. Children should not lose their mothers because Congress wants to give a tax cut to the wealthy.

Wed Jul 26 2017

Susan in Massachusetts

I have rheumatoid arthritis,and I am on self-injected medication that I must take twice a month, along with five oral medications. The retail cost of my medications is over $6,000 a month. Because my income is low, my medication cost is covered by Medicaid although I do have a $25 co-pay. If I were to lose Medicaid now, or in the next ten years, my medical expenses would likely exceed my ability to find a job that would pay for them, and I would end up in a wheel chair or worse.

Please amend the BCRA to eliminate the proposed cuts in Medicaid and require that prescriptions be offered as a required Essential Service. I understand that 45% of the $800 billion-dollar tax cut being proposed in the Senate bill will go to people earning in excess of $850,000 per year. I have not heard any of them claiming that they need to put me and others like me in wheel chairs or worse so that they can get a tax cut.

Wed Jul 26 2017

Pam in Massachusetts

In the 1960s, beforeAmerica had any kind of universal health coverage, my grandmother was diagnosed with bladder cancer. She was operated on at Mass General, and every day her bill was presented on her breakfast tray. She did not have the resources to pay, and this was the source of intense anxiety. When she was sent home, she was not given any outpatient rehab services or follow-up nurse visits. When her leg started turning black, she did not seek treatment as she was still being hounded by the hospital for her previous bill. By the time she was seen, the leg had gangrene and ultimately had to be amputated.

The kind of rollbacks of coverage embodied in the BCRA would mean a return to this kind of tragedy for millions of Americans

The BCRA needs to be amended so that the 10 essential services continue to be covered without crippling deductibles or any lifetime caps.

Wed Jul 26 2017

Naomi in Massachusetts

The 50-year-old, self-employed woman who cleans my house once a month is a true professional. She has been cleaning houses and doing housekeeping for 20 years. As a result of her labor, she has injured her back and shoulder. She must limit the hours she can work. She is not disabled, but her prospects are very limited. She is very independent and proud of her self-sufficiency, but she is vulnerable. She has no other marketable skill.

Medical treatment,including physical therapy, has made it possible for her to continue working despite her physical vulnerability. Her annual income is below $40,000. Without governmental assistance, she would not be able to afford insurance. (She lives in a shared apartment with shared bathroom, not exactly luxury for someone who has worked hard for over 20 years and is approaching old age.) Without insurance, she could not get the therapy that enables her to keep working. And, of course, she would not have access to medical care should she develop any other medical condition, which is likely for someone her age.

Our uncertain economy and its lack of security for all workers means that any of us could lose sources of income at any time. The human toll in illness and anxiety is terrible. A wealthy country like ours should provide a better floor of security for its citizens. I propose as an amendment that by 2030 we will complete a transition to a national program of Medicare for all.

Meanwhile, I urge that the BCRA be amended to require that rehabilitative and habilitative services be included as a non-waivable essential service. Thousands, if not millions of people’s work prospects depend upon the availability of physical therapy after they are injured or struck down by illness. Cutting the requirement that insurance and Medicaid provide these services, or increasing deductibles to effectively make them out-of-reach,is short-sighted and ultimately costly for the entire nation.
Wed Jul 26 2017

Lydia in Massachusetts

A close friend's daughter has had multiple hospitalizations and outpatient treatment for ulcerative colitis. As part of her treatment she was prescribed prescriptions for pain under a doctor's care. When she was in her early thirties my friend’s daughter developed an opioid addiction.

Opioid addiction is now so wide-spread that more people in the United States die from overdoses than from car accidents. People with opioid addiction often face a long costly course of care, but they can lead happy productive lives if treatment is available, and their condition is not stigmatized.

Reducing Medicaid by 25 percent will devastate the recovery prospects of many opioid addicted Americans and impair the ability of the many wonderful organizations and agencies that work with them to function.

Trying to disguise the horrendous impact of Medicaid cuts by creating a $2 billion (or even a $10 billion) dollar opiate fund does not begin to address the issue. Even Republican Senators have estimated the real cost of fighting the opiate epidemic to be more than $40 billion without Medicaid cuts. The $2 billion proposed in the Senate bill is less than a single fine levied against Google for allegedly skewing its browser search results.

I propose that the BCRA be amended so that Medicaid funding is NOT reduced, and that the BCRA, like the Affordable Care Act, cover opioid related treatment and other substance abuse treatment under all insurance policies. Eliminating a requirement for EssentialServices that includes substance abuse treatment or rehabilitative care is cruel to the hundreds of thousands of Americans (to say nothing of their children and families) who have a chance at a happy and productive life with supportive treatment.

Wed Jul 26 2017

Lydia in Massachusetts

I have fallen and needed emergency and surgical services at least three times for broken bones. I have also needed emergency services for pneumonia that I contracted ten times during a period of two years. Many costly lab tests were associated with these emergency visits. Please amend the BCRA to prevent cuts to Medicaid and private insurance services and limits.

Mon Jul 24 2017

Nancer in Massachusetts

My own child and my friends’ children have needed unanticipated health care ranging from asthma interventions to in-patient treatment for mental health issues or eating disorders, to neuroblastoma that required two bone marrow transplants, to emergency heart surgery. In each case they were lucky enough to have parents with employer-provided insurance that covered the services that they needed and provided other support services from their savings. However, there are at least as many children in families that need the same services but do not have comprehensive employer-provided insurance or an emergency savings fund.

Dr. Fernando Stein, President of the American Academy ofPediatrics has noted that the Senate bill includes misleading so-called ‘protections’ for children with medically complex health issues by purportedly exempting them from certain Medicaid cuts.”

Paying lip service to certain children through “carve-outs”does little protect children’s coverage when the funding of the program providing the coverage is cut by 25%. If you don’t think 25% is a lot, imagine that four kids in your children’s school contracted an illness and the principal informed each of the parents that one of the four children would not receive the treatment required to recover.

Stripping the Medicaid program of hundreds of billions of dollars and transferring responsibility for health care to the states through inadequate block grants will force states to chip away at coverage for needed services and/or fail to adequately cover children living in poverty who do not have complex health conditions. In other words, the Senate and House bills as currently constructed are forcing states to play “Sophie’s Choice,” with their children.

Medicaid currently allows a college student with cerebral palsy to live independently. Medicaid pays for a toddler’s wheelchair, and as he grows over time, it covers the next one and the one after that.” The damage that will be done if Congress fails to provide adequate coverage for children and teenagers with complex and normal health issues will be incalculable.

I urgently propose that the BCRA be amended to maintain current Medicaid funding levels (or increased if that is appropriate) unless and until it has been demonstrated for three consecutive years that all ten essential services defined in the Affordable Care Act can be provided to everyone who would qualify under current Medicaid rules.


Mon Jul 24 2017

Amy in Massachusetts

I have End Stage Renal Disease and for the last two years I have been receiving dialysis treatment 3x/weekly at a local clinic. I am seeking a kidney transplant as an alternative treatment. I am over 65 so I was already eligible forMedicare, but I am not eligible for standard Medicaid coverage. I have obtained secondary insurance to cover the 20% that is not covered by Medicare for these treatments, and for doctors’ visits and other services that are required in conjunction with my treatment.As a renal cancer patient, I also qualify for certain Medicaid Assistance. If any of the services for which I qualify for Medicaid assistance, such as payment of my monthly Medicare premium, prescription Extra Help, Health SafetyNet for inpatient care, and subsidies for health care transportation were not available any more, it would be impossible for me to continue treatment. I will die without dialysis. That is a certainty, and with good treatment,I may be eligible for the transplant.

If there were caps on medical coverage or caps in my secondary insurance, I could be unable to continue with dialysis or be eligible for a transplant. I worked most of my life, and so the amount of Social Security I earn from the contributions I made, surpasses the income requirements for eligibility for full Medicaid. Even with the assistance I now receive, I cannot meet monthly expenses, so I can only imagine how impossible it would be if Medicaid subsidies were not available in the future.

I request that the Senate Better Care Reconciliation Bill be amended to make sure that everyone across the country has insurance for pre-existing conditions with no caps on treatment for all of the services required to treat a life-threatening illness or acute care.

I also request that people of any age or severity/longevity of illness not becharged higher premiums or deductibles for private insurance than they were charged under the Affordable Care Act or be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition.

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Mon Jul 24 2017

K.C. in Massachusetts

A student of mine was watching in the 2013 Boston Marathon and was standing close to the backpack that exploded. She was able to run from the scene but one of her legs had dozens of bits of shrapnel embedded in it. It took months, many operations, and lengthy physical therapy before she could walk again.

If employers’ policies are no longer required to provide hospitalization, rehabilitation, and lab services this young woman might never have walked again.

Please amend the BCRA to be sure that these services continue to be available to Americans. If this young woman had not had the benefit of this insurance she would not have been eligible for the ten essential benefits covered by her employer and she would forever be handicapped.

Mon Jul 24 2017

Susan in Massachusetts

If reproductive and family planning services are restricted under the Better Care Reconciliation Act, more children will almost certainly be born as a result of such legislation, and they will need health care.

I request that the Senate Better Care Reconciliation Bill be amended so that all children in this country born after the passage of any health care reform act that restricts funding for family planning services, or any other legislation restricting or eliminating funding for Planned Parenthood or other organizations that offer family planning services, be fully covered for the ten essential services required by the Affordable Care Act until their 26th birthday without regard to their or their parents’ ability to pay.

Mon Jul 24 2017

Nancer in Massachusetts

My wife was diagnosed with AFIB seven years ago. Even though she was conscientiously taking her medication and having regular lab work, two years later she suffered a stroke. As a result of the stroke she requires daily medication and regular lab work, and she required physical and occupational therapy for some months after the stoke. She is now working again, but we are very worried about life-time caps,exorbitant deductibles, the cost of medication, and the possibility that essential services will be restricted to eliminate the ongoing medical monitoring, laboratory tests, medication, and the other services that she needs.

Please amend the Better Care ReconciliationBill to prohibit life-time caps on any of the 10 essential services describedin the Affordable Care Act regardless of whether they are in a base orsecondary policy and require that all employers offer all of their employeesthe broadest coverage required by any state in which they do business.

Mon Jul 24 2017

Pam in Massachusetts

A childhood friend’s first grandson was diagnosed with a brain tumor at 20 months. He lives in Denver, Colorado, but the surgeons with expertise in this kind of tumor were at Boston Children’s Hospital. His family spent two months in Boston while he underwent surgery and post-surgical treatment and rehabilitative services.

If specialty surgery, hospitalizations and post-surgical treatment and rehabilitation had not been available he might not have survived. Please amend the BCRA to preserve these as essential services that all employer –offered and individual policies must have.

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Mon Jul 24 2017

Shirley in Massachusetts

Mon Jul 24 2017
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.


Fri Jul 21 2017

Barbara in Massachusetts

In December of 2016 my daughter was rushed to the hospital unable to breathe and had to have an emergency tracheostomy placed. She spent 9 weeks in a hospital facility finally being able to be discharged for home. Upon discharge she had to have complete overnight nursing care and to this day continues to have night nursing care. She still has the tracheostomy in place, Medicaid has helped tremendously they covered not only her Hospital stay but all of her medical supplies she has needed since being discharged. If we were to lose this coverage I don't know where we would be she would not have survived and would not have continued to flourish as she is now. Please vote no on Trumpcare!

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Fri Jul 21 2017

Naomi in Massachusetts

My youngest daughter, now forty three, was a ‘blue’ baby, i.e. she was born anoxic. Either she had a stroke in utero or it happened while I was giving birth. Fortunately she was able to be immediately revived, but had some developmental issues subsequently.

Yosano, as her father uniquely named her, was born just in the nick of time to benefit from Chapter 766, Massachusetts’s implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (the IDEA). For the very first time in history the possibility of some educational justice for kids with disabilities was in reach.
From age three and a half till she was twenty two, she was armed annually with her Individual Education Plans (IEPs). Through this she was able to access both physical therapy, which helped her greatly with tremors, ataxia, and generalized weakness, and speech therapy, which helped her, again greatly, with her receptive and expressive aphasia.

At first she was mainstreamed in a regular classroom, and learning that was tailored to her needs was outsourced, meaning she could be part of all of her peer group. Sadly that ended when she was seven when we were forced to accept the school’s moving her to a segregated “special needs” classroom. Throughout all of her school years, if and when learning was being offered (and it wasn’t always), Sano was an eager and delightful student.
Her labels were cerebral palsy, which is a one size fits all diagnoses for brain damage, and mild to moderate developmental disability. Her strengths were her willing spirit and grit: She was going to learn no matter what!
She left school at age 22. Two years prior to that, at yet another IEP meeting, she heard the vocational high school’s job developer/coach pontificate that she would never be able to work in the community. Since she’d already had two years in a school sponsored ‘workshop’ setting, she decided that yes, she would. So that very same week she went out and found herself a job and proceeded to work there from ten to twenty hours each week for the next four years. (By the school way, the school claimed this as a “slot” and many students subsequently worked there.)

When Sano was 26 my own disabilities caught up with me and I was no longer able to provide a home for her. She moved into a group home which served mostly older folks who had finally been “discharged” from the horrid “Fernald School”. (read The State Boys Rebellion by Michael D'Antonio, for an interesting account of this place.) She didn’t like it, she wanted her own place. So she self-advocated for four years to be allowed to get a Section 8 and her own apartment. “No, no, no and NO”, were all she ever heard until we located the right resource, Deputy Commissioner for Developmental Services, Jeff Keilson. Jeff said, “YES, WHY NOT?” She got her Section 8 within months, and her ISP (annually mandated service plan) was amended with a Medicaid Waiver to ensure that she would get adequate supports to make having her own apartment work. And it has, and she has. As a result Yosano has continued to work, to grow intellectually, and to contribute.

If the Medicaid Waiver had not been attached, her dreams and her abilities would never have been able to come to fruition. Now, the supposed “representatives” in Washington are considering taking away these types of supports. Yes, I agree that Medicaid, along with the whole “medical industrial complex” needs to be overhauled. But thrift is understanding that subsidizing autonomy and not institutions (among which most people include group homes) is the most viable method available. Thrift is built by getting the word out that continuous community supports work, and not build by denying services to people whose resources are already marginal.
If I could hold a parade every day for my daughter, I definitely would! I am so proud of her I could burst. My personal belief is that housing, health care, and education through the level of doctorate ARE human rights. Many countries with very stable economies, countries that are winning the competition in science, are in agreement. But whether or not you share my understanding that we can and must offer these to all our residents, you can understand the story I told you, and the catastrophe killing it would produce.

Finally, I have to leave you with a word about Sano’s future. I am almost seventy. Her father and her many siblings along with him pretty much abandoned her when she was fourteen and it became apparent that she would never ‘outgrow’ or ‘overcome’ her developmental delays. While she has developed strong friendships, as have I, there is no one who would provide care for her should these be taken away, as is being proposed. She would become fodder for the group home or, even worse, a nursing home. This would be a terrible waste, for her, and for everyone else. Please vote no on this pernicious plan!

Fri Jul 21 2017

April in Massachusetts

My husband's job was eliminated when he was 58 years old. The job market, although the law states age discrimination is illegal, does not look kindly on anyone of that age. He ended up going into an early retirement. Fortunately, living in MA, we had a strong statewide health insurance market to look to for coverage, and the ACA went into affect shortly thereafter. Our premiums were higher than when he was employed because we didn't have any employer contribution to help cover the cost. But we were able to purchase a 'gold plan' with better benefits than we had received through his employer at a cost that was manageable for us. Two years later, the premium had risen to the point where we had to reduce coverage to a silver plan to stay within our budget. But we still have good coverage that is affordable for us. If the republican plan, as currently proposed, goes into affect, we will be in the 'gap group': now aged 62, meaning too young for medicare coverage, with possible 300% premium increases, which would make coverage beyond our reach financially, and no realistic alternative to return to work to earn enough to cover the exorbitant price increase or secure an employer sponsored plan. At age 62, ones health can turn at any time…we fear our retirement years will be overtaken by fears of no access to affordable care, or bankruptcy. HEALTH CARE SHOULD BE A BASIC HUMAN RIGHT. Private, for profit, health insurance is archaic and serves the insurers ( note they build sports stadia and sponsor golf tournaments, etc. with the profits they make from insurance they sell us) while we spend wasteful amounts of money on coverage that citizens of other countries operating on a single payer/government run system receive as a basic right. It doesn't have to be this way. We must stand united and demand better: single payer insurance plans and cost controls on drugs and services, NOT gutting coverage. Thank you for reading this.

Mon Jul 03 2017

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.

Wed Jun 28 2017

Alex in Massachusetts

I'm a transgender person, and left my job a year ago due to anti-trans mistreatment. Because of universal health care, I was able to go freelance and support myself and my partner, rather than having to find another job just so we would have health insurance. He is also transgender, and is a long-term survivor of AIDS. He depends on Medicaid for the medications that keep him alive, which cost upwards of $30,000 a year. I'm terrified about what will happen to both of us — as well as other trans people and HIV-positive people — if Republicans are successful in destroying the health care protections we currently have.

Wed Jun 28 2017

Samantha in Massachusetts

Opinion | If We Lose Our Health Care …

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


Wed Jun 21 2017

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!

Wed Jun 21 2017

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.