Susan in Texas
My daughter was diagnosed at the age of 44 with Stage IV colon cancer. Besides providing for three teenagers on a teacher's salary, she had to cover all the expenses that her insurance does not cover: deductibles, co-pays, transportation, parking, etc. She also used all of her accumulated sick leave and had her salary docked when she was unable to go back to work for about six weeks. In addition, there were those little "oops" moments that occur when you are battling a life-threatening condition and aren't really paying close attention. For example, her doctor called in a pulmonary specialist. In spite of that specialist being pictured prominently on the website of the in-network hospital, the specialist was out of network. More money. Then, as she was in the middle of chemo, she came to the end of her policy year. Guess what. She had to meet her deductible, which meant that she had to pay for a round of chemo out of her own pocket. I spent hours on the phone and on the computer looking for sources of help. The hospital gave me a lengthy list of non-profits to check, but in each case, the money for the year was already spent, or the money was designated for a different kind of cancer. (Colon cancer isn't sexy.) The bottom line is that even those with "good" insurance can expect to pay a lot of money if they have a major illness. If we still had lifetime maximums as we used to, she would have hit that limit long ago. My concern is that coverage for pre-existing conditions is preserved and that insurance companies are not allowed to re-instate annual and lifetime maximums. Our story has a happy ending. In two days, I will be taking my daughter to get her chemotherapy port removed, because it looks as if she will be one of the 12% that beats Stage IV colon cancer. What a shame that along with battling cancer, she also had to battle the medical establishment. But it could have been much, much worse, and that is what I fear if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.
Casey in Texas
When my brother moved out here to Austin from California (and left the constituency of Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, to join the constituency of John Cornyn and Ted Cruz), he had to change his health insurance plan. My brother has Crohn's Disease, an lifelong, incurable auto-immune disorder which will cause him to need surgery many times during his life. During the change, his new health insurance company took advantage of a paperwork anomaly (not caused by him) to make the case that his Crohn's was a pre-existing condition. Only the passage of the ACA saved him. My brother did everything right – he maintained his coverage consistently and worked with his health insurance company. He was a model customer, and still – they would have removed him, and left him to bankruptcy and death, if it hadn't been for the ACA.
I can't go back to that world. I won't. We need Medicare for all, and we need it NOW.
Nick in Texas
I have chronic Lyme disease. I depend on the aca for the prescriptions that make me well enough to work at a daycare. Without my medicine I have severe chronic pain and can not work. All I want is a chance to contribute to society, but without the aca my prescriptions would cost $2000 a month. I currently earn $3000 a month caring for other people's kids so they can work. Please don't make my prescriptions so expensive that I can't afford them. Living with a chronic illness is a hard road. Don't make it harder by stripping the protections the aca provides people like me.
Jessica in Texas
I work as a medical transcriptionist, and I'm an independent contractor, which is typical for people in this field. That means I don't get any employee benefits even though I work full time. I have to buy my own health insurance. I currently do that through the ACA. If it gets repealed and replaced with any version of the BCRA, my premiums will skyrocket. Realistically, I won't be able to afford health insurance even though I work full time. I am a middle aged woman, and I will have to move back in with my parents in order to be able to afford basic health care.
I beg my senators to oppose the BCRA and/or the so-called "skinny repeal" that is being discussed. Please, I beg you to work with your Democratic colleagues to fix the ACA.
Katie in Texas
The BCRA dramatically & negativity impacts our family. I have a disabled 5-year-old niece, Olivia, who depends on the ACA’s ban on yearly and lifetime benefits caps as well as Medicaid for secondary insurance to cover costs of care that her parents’ employer healthcare insurance does not cover.
Olivia has a progressive neuromuscular disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) that has no cure and is terminal. SMA affects the part of the nervous system that controls voluntary muscle movement including the legs, arms, lungs and GI tract.
If the BCRA is passed into law, the combination of Texas waiving the ban on yearly and lifetime caps on benefits and the cutting of Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) coupled with Texas’ $1.5 billion cut to their Medicaid program will result in Olivia losing access to the only drug that has been approved by the FDA to halt the progression of her disease.
Spinraza, which was one of the test cases for the 21st Century Cures Act, is a game changer to the SMA community. However, because the drug can cost up to $750,000 a year, if a state is able to waive the EHBs & the ban on benefit caps, patients who have been on Spinraza will lose access to the drug and face a dramatic regression in their newly developed physical abilities and the rates of mortality will rise again.
Spinraza has enabled Olivia go from a baby who never achieve her physical milestones, including controlling her bowels and breathing unassisted, to being able to walk over 150 steps at a time with the assistance of a walker.
Before Spinraza, she was riddled with panic attacks because she knew she was different and was frustrated seeing her twin sister achieving physical milestones she could not achieve. But after two years on Spinraza, Olivia has turned into a confident pre-kindergartner who loves her independence and being able to participate in the same physical activities (with adaptations) as her twin sister.
Please do not take away Olivia’s independence.
Tyger in Texas
I am a 60 year old divorced female. I'm in good health and take care of myself by eating right and getting regular exercise. Until Obamacare, I was not able to afford health insurance and could not afford annual checkups and health screenings. If Obamacare is repealed, I will again not be able to afford health insurance. I'm getting older and need to stay on top of my possibly arising health issues. I'm afraid to get screened now, because I don't want to be diagnosed with a possible pre-existing condition, which would cause me to lose my current, affordable health insurance. I'm afraid of a repeal because I would not be able to pay for my monthly premiums or my checkups. I have 5 years to go before I can get medicare. Much can happen in 5 years…
RoseAnne in Texas
My son works as a contractor and is responsible for his healthcare. He would not be able to afford care if he loses his ACA policy. The medication he relies on would beyond his reach. I don't know what he would do.
Kyla in Texas
Pre-ACA, my middle daughter was "uninsurable" in the traditional market. We found this out after her health plan chose to close down (because they were not making large enough profits) and we had to apply for new insurance. My husband ended up having to take a pay cut so she could get the care she needs. Now she is on a Medicaid waiver program that is being threatened by the GOP plans for healthcare. Without Medicaid, she cannot access the care that allows her to survive and thrive. She has a progressive, incurable disease and requires many medical interventions (tube feedings, oxygen, medications, testing, specialists visits, etc). Cuts or caps to Medicaid is absolutely a life and death issue for her.
My youngest daughter was born in 2015 with a large hole in her heart. Medicaid is the reason she had access to the pediatrician, echocardiogram, and cardiologist, that diagnosed her. Medicaid is the reason she could be hospitalized, stabilized, medicated, and have life-saving open heart surgery at 6 months of age. Medicaid has literally saved the lives of 2 of my 3 children. She also has multiple life-threatening allergies and requires ongoing monitoring and medical care for her heart, and the CHIP program allows her to access those things.
My husband and I are still uninsured, even though my husband works hard to provide for our family. We wish that it was not this way. We want to be insured. We live in a state that did not expand Medicaid and we were left in the gap between Medicaid and subsidies being sufficient to help us pay for insurance costs. We have not been penalized by the ACA for being uninsured, because we truly cannot afford it and the ACA makes allowances for that. The GOP plans make no such allowances and if either of us were to get sick and forced to get insurance (that we truly cannot afford), we would either be further penalized with increased costs (AHCA) or be barred from access (BCRA) altogether for 6 months. This will cost people their lives.
Gina in Texas
My father was a hardworking carpenter for many years. Sadly, in that trade benefits such as health insurance were not provided. Later in life, he developed heart problems which at the time, rendered him "uninsurable." As he continued to age, his heart problems became worse and required hospitalization and surgery that cost in excess of $100,000. He was uninsured. He only lived four more months and continued to incur huge medical expenses. He was unable to work, he was not eligible for Medicaid and was too young for Medicare eligibility. Had he lived, he would have been able to obtain insurance at a rate that he could have afforded. As it was, he died leaving my mother with a HUGE medical debt. This story is not only my family's, but many others throughout our country. The new healthcare plan proposed by the Senate committee would undo so many of the great things provided by the ACA. Passage of Trumpcare would devastate millions, as the CBO has indicated. We must find a way to move forward to create a bipartisan, viable solution for our country.
Barry in Texas
My first wellness checkup on January 10, 2014, my doctor said I needed to see a urologist and I was diagnosed with T-4 bladder cancer and was able to get the operation I needed to beat my cancer. I am two and one half years cancer free after chemo. The ACA gave me my first healthcare as an adult and saved me.
I have barely been able to afford my healthcare though, and with the changes that are offered I would not be able to afford healthcare.
My wish is that the US join the rest of the industrialized world and offer Medicare for all.
Meet Bree. She loves being read to, snuggling with her mom and little sister, and playing in the baby pool. Bree has Panhypopituitarism and epilepsy. Currently, Bree requires 3 in-home therapies, two times a week, physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT), and speech therapy to help her overcome oral aversion and developmental delays and to develop muscle … Continue reading “Bree, age 2½ (Texas)”
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.
Margaret in Texas
My son has multiple health problems which forces him to have jobs limited by his wellness. He is just above the poverty line and has been enrolled on the ACA for 2 years with services that have treated his existing conditions.
On April 24, 2017 he was stricken with compartment syndrome in his right leg and was rushed to surgery to open a 10 inch incision in his calf. He spent 10 days in the hospital treating the bulging infected muscle and trying to save his kidneys from toxins. He still has a 6 inch open wound which may need surgery to close after 10 weels.
The original bills without ACA will be over $60,000. His salary last year was $15,600. Without ACA he was likely to lose his leg and have to live on dialysis. Without- ACA local health providers would have to suffer the costs. Without ACA he may have delayed treatment and lost his life.
Do not repeal ACA and put Americans' lives in danger. Work with the Democrats to amend it. I will vote agsinst any legislators who vote to repeal.
Elizabeth in Texas
Loss of the protections gained by the ACA would result in severe financial difficulty for family members, a lower quality of life or even death.
Betsy in Texas
I am a retired Occupational Therapist who worked with children with disabilities in public schools in three states while my late husband served as an Army pediatrician and allergist. My two grandbabies are walking and talking on schedule, but both my daughter and daughter in law had complicated pregnancies, even though they were careful to follow every medical direction. 56 percent of babies born in Texas are born with Medicaid paying. Those mothers are working poor and Medicaid makes sure they do not die in childbirth and their babies do not have medical conditions due to a lack of oxygen or low thyroid or preeclampsia. If you cut Medicaid you will increase the number of children born with handicapping conditions.
Kristin in Texas
People don't realize this, but allowing states to define their own Essential Health Benefits means employers no longer have to cover prescriptions. My ability to work and function depends on an expensive maintenance drug for an autoimmune condition I was born with. It is far more cost-effective to the state if I have medication that allows me to work, as opposed to sentencing me to permanent disability. Please keep a nationwide definition of Essential Health Benefits, so that I'm not forced to move to a blue state just to work and pay taxes.
Mike in Texas
I and my wife are uninsurable without the ACA. I take life-saving medications
Carlyn in Texas
The ACA allowed me to get health insurance despite having a pre-existing condition (hip replacement) after my employer insurance was terminated
Janice in Texas
I am on the board of a Child Development Center. Teachers who are taking care of our youngest children are paid so little they can barely afford to pay rent.
We have been trying to raise their pay, but also to provide them with healthcare for years. Because of the ACA we have been able for the first time to provide group healthcare for them.
Julia in Texas
Anita in Texas
Patricia in Texas
Annie in Texas
Martha in Texas
Diane in Texas
Laura in Texas
Emily in Texas
Jennifer in Texas
Charla in Texas
Beryl in Texas
Charles in Texas
Mona in Texas
Lauren in Texas
Whitney in Texas
Steve in Texas
Mike in Texas
Betsy in Texas
Duncan in Texas
Julia in Texas
Morgaine in Texas
James in Texas
Renee in Texas
Kim in Texas
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.
Cindy in Austin
Lucy in Texas
Noel in Texas
G in Texas
Anne in Texas
Liz in Texas
Eddie in Texas
Lucy in Texas
Jennifer in Texas
Michael in Texas
Ivy in Texas
Sam in Texas
Anonymous in Texas
Craig in Texas
Lora in Texas
Julie in Texas
Michael in Texas
Tanya in Texas
Ann in Austin
Jennifer in Austin
Kathy in Austin
Steve in Austin
Mark in Austin
Anonymous in Austin
Howard in Texas
Anonymous Counselor in Texas
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?
Roseanna in Texas
This is the letter I emailed Senators Cornyn and Cruz.
I do not understand why you are not working to expand and improve what is in place. I simply do not trust the motives of Republicans after Texas Republicans refused to accept Medicaid expansion funds. Do you understand what this looked like to a normal citizen? Let me explain. I am a single mother. My son, luckily, is covered by Medicaid, which is a wonderful, seamless program that seeks to prevent illness with regular checkups and safety gear and education. I have been working since age 13 and decided to pursue a nursing career at age 32. I moved in with my parents, found grants to help with childcare and school expenses and was accepted into an RN program. A huge hurdle presented itself- I needed health insurance to attend. I could only work part time, my school's insurance option was too expensive (over $800 for 4 months) and so I went to the Marketplace to find ACA insurance. My income was around $15000. When I plugged the numbers in I thought there was a mistake. How could my premiums be over $300 for the cheap plan? I called a broker. "Yes, you don't make enough for the subsidy" "Excuse me, I don't make ENOUGH?" "Right, if you make $15,600 you would pay under $50 for health insurance through the marketplace. Because you made $600 less you pay full price."
Do you understand how INSANE this is? And for what? To really stick it to Democrats? You're playing with people's LIVES.
And now I'm a Registered Nurse, as of a week ago (Yay!!) My old waitressing job did me a favor and let me clean their office in exchange for health insurance. They really didn't have to do that. I shouldn't have had to ask for a favor. I start my new job as a nurse in a busy Emergency Room next week. How many preventable illnesses will I encounter? How many strep throats, staph infections, migraines will clog the waiting room because they can't afford to go to a regular doctor? Luckily my son and I will receive great insurance through the behemoth hospital organization I am employed by but we are lucky. Not more moral, or harder working. We are lucky.
Not to mention Planned Parenthood… I never experienced an unwanted pregnancy because I received the education and tools to prevent one through PP. Also- I have multiple friends who had cervical cancer caught early through routine, affordable Pap smears at PP.
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!
Christy in Texas
Our daughter Ruby has survived with Medicaid. If it becomes nonexistent she would not be here. She has a genetic disorder, epilepsy, autism, non-verbal, incontinent, severe cognitive delay, muscular scoliosis and surviving with G-tube nutritional support. Basically, completely dependent on others for daily care and medical support. With Medicaid she has received the medical care and treatment she needs to live and thrive. WIth the support of waivers she has thrived intellectually and socially making her life more fulfilling. Please don't deprive our society our loved ones of a entity that has supported their mortality. Families will be affected in way's that wouldn't be in humane as a country. Let's not go backwards but forward.
Charla in Texas
I'm 69 years old and never had insurance until I turned 65 years old and got on Medicare. I was SO relieved. Medicare should start at age 25. It's so worrisome to be afraid some medical emergency or catastrophe will wipe out everything you have. Let's join civilized, rich countries that can afford to invest in the health and wellbeing of their people. Take some of the military spending on arms and put into to peoples arms and other parts.
Betsy in Texas
Sami in Texas
Sue in Texas
Charles in Texas
Cristina in Texas
Joyce in Texas
Sarah in Texas
Stefanie in Texas
Susan in Texas
Richard in Texas
Annabel in Texas
Cindy in Texas
Stephanie in Texas
Eleanor in Texas
Diana in Texas
Terry in Texas
Kim in Texas
Cat in Texas
Shane in Texas
Christian in Texas
Hope in Texas
Coral in Texas
Roy in Texas
I used to be a pediatric physical therapist at a hospital here in Houston. Fell in love with one of my patients. She was abandoned and had a very uncommon and serious form of diabetes. She touched my heart… I ended up adopting and taking her home. The state of Texas DHHS told me to keep her Medicaid for all the obvious reasons. She had a feeding tube, required all of her diabetic supplies, needed therapy, injections, insulins, needles, the list goes on… Flash forward to last month. Mind you, this is 8 years later and we have lost the feeding tube. She now eats by mouth. She's a healthy girl and you'd never know she had a dangerous illness just by looking at her. I get a letter from DHHS saying her Medicaid has been voided starting Aug 1. I was forced to choose from 3 health plans, 2 of which I would lose all her doctors from birth. I took the obvious option.
That starts in Aug and I pray to god that everything is covered. Her diabetic supplies alone are upwards of $2500 monthly. I'm a middle class guy… I couldn't imagine being in poverty. Plus I'm a single dad. Tough times… Anyhow. Not looking for sympathy. Just thought you should hear the story.
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!
Mary in Texas
My dear mother-in-law has advanced Alzheimer's disease and relies on medicaid for her care. She is in a loving and supportive group home in Arlington, Texas. Please do not take this needed benefit from her.
Tiffany in Texas
Notice: Writing is not my wheelhouse so I apologize in advance for any grammar or spelling errors I may not catch. But the healthcare issue is an important one for me so I’d like to get this story out there if it will help at all.
A little bit about me. I am 41 years old. I have been diagnosed with Depression, Anxiety, OCD, Hypothyroidism, and Celiac Disease. With access to medication, routine blood tests, and a strict diet I can function as a normal, responsible adult and expect to live a normal and relatively happy life. Without that access the world collapses around me and I don’t function at all.
I’ve been jobless twice. First time was pre-ACA (pre-Obamacare). During that time I could not afford COBRA, could not afford my medication, and was turned down 3 time for healthcare coverage because healthcare companies wouldn’t willingly help anybody with a mental health disorder. It was a very miserable time in my life.
The second time I lost my job I was post-ACA. I called I got insurance and because I had no current income other than un-employment I was able to get a rate that I could reasonably afford if I planned carefully. It was like a dream come true. Finally, I was seen as equal to someone with diabetes or a blood disorder. I wasn’t shunned because I have a chemical imbalance in my brain I didn’t ask for.
Okay, enough back story. That was all about me. The real story here is my adorable, lovable, sweet, gifted 11 year old son. We had him tested and his talent for pattern recognition, computers, coding, and math is off the charts. He wants to build robots and computer programs that will help people. His current dream is to help the medical industry build some sort of nano-bot that can be injected into people with Celiac Disease. The bot would find and attach itself to Gluten in the body and render it harmless. Like, I said he’s a sweet child who really cares about other people.
In school, we had been having increasing problems with his behavior and actions. He was having increasing occurrences of meltdowns and explosions at school that were verging on becoming serious. Also, he takes everything to heart, so he was (and still is) a perfect target for bullies. Many days he would come home crying because someone said something mean to him.
Finally, in 4th grade we took him to a specialist to have him tested. The results were clear he had severe Anxiety, ADD, and emerging OCD behavior. We made the difficult choice of putting him on medication to help give him the very best chance we could for him to succeed in life.
He has now been on daily medication for over a year. The difference are night and day. While we still have some problems to overcome. The medicine helps give him a better baseline so he can think logically and overcome hurdles by thinking and reasoning instead of just reacting emotionally.
This diagnosis is not his fault, it’s genetics. He was born with these genes. We’ve taught him that taking medication in no way makes him less of a person. It does make him weak. It does not make him pitiful. He should hide who and what he is. This is not something the world (or Trumpcare) should not be able to take away from him. What is wrong in me wanting to do everything in my power to help my give my child the best life I can?
This brings me to worst case scenario fear that haunts me every day (more since the possibility of Trumpcare became a very real threat). With these types of mental disorders, suicide is a very real concern. I know this because I’ve struggled with thoughts of suicide my entire life. I have never told anybody about this up until today.
In the past 3 years at my son’s school there have been 3 suicides. I see stories in the news of bullied kids killing themselves because they feel hopeless and see no other way out. Each day I try to emphasize to my son that I love him regardless of who or what he is. That he should never think he is worthless and that there is no point in going on with his life. This is not a conversation I should have to have with my 11 year old son. But I feel if don’t do my best everyday, I will lose him one day to suicide. No mother should have to outlive their child.
Obamacare literally save my life and my son’s. The ACA made it so that healthcare couldn’t deny because our brains don’t work right. Trump and the republicans want to take that away from us.
Thank for taking the time to read my story. Please fight for the right to affordable healthcare for those who can’t. For the sick, for young, for the old. For everyone (even those that are currently trying to take it away from you).
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!)
Adele in Texas
Wed Jun 28 2017
This picture shows Liam , our child with down syndrome, volunteering at our Community Summer Theater in Zilker Park last summer. This one was his favorite- “Shrek The Musical”. In the relentless Texas heat, he passed out fans to appreciative theater-goers, offering some relief and a smile. This is what it looks like to have a person with a disability participate fully in his community. The 2nd photo shows how Liam would have lived just a few decades ago- in an institution, where there were no expectations for much of a life. I need your help right now:
22 Million Americans will be losing insurance under the proposed ACA Repeal bill. Medicaid, the program that provides for people with disabilities, the poor and elderly, will be gutted by $770 BILLION to devastating effect. This money will fund tax breaks for the wealthy 2% at $231 BILLION. And $100+ BILLION to the pharmaceutical and insurance industries.
Texas has been at war with people with disabilities for decades now. We have a wait list with 50,000 people on it which is 14 years long. Thats right- no services of any kind for your child for 14 years. No behavioral help, no respite care, no aba therapy, no attendant care, no speech therapy, no physical therapy, no occupational therapy- NOTHING. Nothing to help families. We are in the middle class and highly educated and still nearly imploded from the stress of raising our child with NOTHING from the state of texas. And now- you are asking me to trust the state of Texas to the care for my adult? I would have to move out of state before thats gonna happen- which is i guess what they want me to do. I trust the Feds over this state any day.
Plain and simple- Medicaid will provide everything for Liam as an adult, so he can live in his community, from housing and oversight in a small group setting with a few friends, to job training, transportation and job oversight so he can contribute his gifts and participate in his community. In other words, a life. A life in an institution is not a life. This would be devastating for Liam and for us, his family. We are already terrified of having to die- because that means leaving him behind to an unknown and harsh future. I used to believe we were a nation that took care of our weakest, but I’m not so sure of this anymore. Its no longer a country where we all rise together- but now a country of every man for himself.
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.
Wed Jun 28 2017
"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
Katie 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 starting medical school on Monday at Dell Medical School, and I'm a supporter of the ACA because I think it will allow me to treat my patients better, it will allow patients to not worry about coming in to see a doctor because of a fear of medical expenses, and it will allow more people to get good medical care without becoming impoverished and fighting bankruptcy. I'm about to spend a lot of time studying medicine and learning how to treat people, and I don't want my patients to have more obstacles to obtaining the care they need, especially monetary ones. Given how many resources are available in America, its unconscionable that people in our society dont get health care because they lack the money." – Katie McNiel
Julie and Ryan in Texas
Wed Jun 28 2017
"I remember from before the ACA how difficult it was to get individual insurance. When I turned 24 and was kicked off my parent's plan, I got rejected from multiple healthcare companies because I had lost 50 pounds of weight under a doctor's supervision and also had childhood asthma. It was really arbitrary what they could deny you coverage for, and it took me forever to find a plan that would actually cover me. I priced out plans that covered preexisting conditions, and a plan would have been 800 bucks a month. I was a 24-year-old with asthma. I only went to the doctor's once a year for a check-up. We're worried that if this new law passes we won't be able to buy individual insurance, that it will again be astronomically expensive and out of reach to so many people, especially if they can deny you for things as common as asthma." – Julie Gilberg
"I work in the video game industry, and an awful lot of people in Austin work in video games and film, which means an awful lot of us are freelancers. You can make a good living off of it, but you're on your own for health insurance. It's been possible because of the ACA, but if the ACA goes away, a lot of people in the industry would have to leave Austin or find new jobs because they can't buy individual plans. It's an international industry. The freelance game industry in Austin is bidding against the industries in Europe and around the world. Most of them don't have to pay for individual health insurance, which puts us at a disadvantage." – Ryan Clark
Wed Jun 28 2017
Making a quick stop at a coffee shop on the way to protest, a woman gathered letters from other customers who wanted to add in their voices after hearing she was taking her concerns to Cruz.
Sara in Texas
Wed Jun 28 2017
"These are the very people that are supposed to represent us, and they're not representing us, they're not caring about what we care about. They just care about the money and political theatre of it. So I come down here, and I make my calls and stand in the heat and do my part. I keep thinking of that Kate McKinnon bit as Hillary on SNL where she sings "Hallelujah" and turns to the camera and says 'I'm not going to give up and neither should you.'" – Sara Higginbotham
Leah and Maureen in Texas
Wed Jun 28 2017
"I just realized this summer that I haven't had a depressive episode in a year, which is really amazing for me. I have a really strong support system with my therapist and psychiatrist, and I'm currently able to see them as much as I need. It's terrifying to think that I could stop receiving that care, or might get put in a high-risk pool or hit a lifetime cap." – Leah Markov-Lindsey
"As even our President said, this is a matter of human decency. And even if you're not directly touched, this is about what we want for our community, what we want for our country, and how to help each other lead our best lives." – Maureen Mercado
Macon in Texas
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
Lucy in Texas
Wed Jun 28 2017
"Many of my family and friends, sadly, suffer from mental illness and addiction. I'm standing out here for so many people out there who can't or won't stick up for themselves. They're getting care or they need care, and if we let them all fall between the cracks and into the gutter… I can't let that happen, so I stand here for them." – Lucy Sanchez
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
Susan in Texas
I have a chronic illness and was without health care for over ten years because of being denied coverage for a pre-existing condition. Because of my illness, I was only able to work part-time and so did not have employer health coverage. Under the ACA, I was finally able to get health coverage. The premiums are very reasonable because I am low income. Because I am in my late fifties and have a pre-existing condition, my premiums would most likely increase a huge amount under the Senate health bill. I would not be able to afford coverage and that is very scary. It is also cruel to charge a penalty to people who have a gap in coverage because they can't afford it. Those who are struggling the most financially pay an additional penalty when they try to get re-covered.
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?
Robin in Texas
I am 61. Former school teacher. My mother passed in February and I now take care of my father after helping both parents for eight years. Daddy has high blood pressure, a pacemaker, and a rod in one leg after breaking it last year. I am in good health but I do have to take Paroxetine for clinical depression which was diagnosed when I was 19. I have insurance through the ACA through Molina Healthcare. I pay $8 and change per month. My prescription is $2 per month. I have a wonderful doctor. I am not able to work much because I help Daddy so much – cooking, cleaning, laundry, yardwork, etc. He drives but I'm not sure how much longer he will be able to do that. If I lose my healthcare, I'm not sure what will happen to us. I have no siblings nor does Daddy. I realize that we are fortunate compared to many, many people, but this is our reality. We have both worked for most of our life and I don't think I am asking too much. Don't take away my healthcare.
Mona in Texas
I had a good friend with a congenital back and hip malformations, arthritis onset at an early age. She did remarkably well as a young woman, worked full time, drove a car, had bought her own home and could take care of herself, albeit w limited mobility and off and on assistance with a wheel chair. In her early 40s, she began to need more assistance in home activities, help with bathing, getting in and out of bed. Thankfully, my friend received home help care through Social Security disability and Medicaid. She continued to be able to live in her own home over the next 3-4 years, and at far less expense to the Medicaid system than if she had moved into a nursing home, which she actively opposed. Medicaid was critical to the well being of my friend and so many others in a range of ages, income circumstances, and conditions. The Affordable Care Act enabled my son to buy health insurance for the first time using the subsidy as his income and lack of insurance through work had made it prohibitive for direct purchase. I strongly urge you inform yourself and please begin to strongly consider long overdue Medicare for all in this country and certainly do not put in the unbelievably careless, reckless, and injury and mortality producing bill under consideration now.
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.
Araceli in Texas
Me and my daughter will lose our medical help I was hit by a drunk driver and it flipped my SUV 8 times down a ditch and I was left many injuries and I could no longer work as a teacher. I had been working for thirteen years. I suffered many broken bones and had many surgeries after that and still struggling to get around and to get by. I also have PTSD. My daughter had Kawasaki' disease and Scarlett fever when she was three and was hospitalized and doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with my daughter until she was diagnosed with the above illness and she now suffers with arthritis and lupus and gets help with Medicaid for physical therapy and gets sick often and is always in pain we need the help.
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.
Karen in Texas
I take good care of myself – I have never smoked or used drugs and I don't drink alcohol. My BMI has always been in the normal range. I exercise 3-5x per week and eat healthily.
I have pre-existing conditions. I had gestational diabetes. I was born with eye muscle issues and severe allergies. I've had multiple precancerous moles removed.
The ACA gives my family economic freedom. It meant that my husband could quit work and be a full-time student AND, at the same time, I could quit a job that was literally causing me severe health issues due to stress and take a contract job that I enjoy. We have the flexibility to be home more with our young children, so they don't need to go to day care. Without affordable insurance on the exchanges, this would not have been possible.
We save diligently. We plan to retire from the corporate world before 55 and possibly purchase a small business.
This is only possible for us if:
a) people between 50-65 aren't charged astronomical premiums
b1) people with pre-existing conditions aren't charged astronomical premiums
b2) people with pre-existing conditions aren't denied insurance outright
c) policies actually cover potential health conditions
d) deductibles aren't tens of thousands of dollars per year
The Senate plan will mean we don't retire early. We'll be taking jobs from younger people who might want them. It means we don't start a small business and potentially employ others. It likely means I have to find a new job that provides health insurance and my kids go to day care.
This is not life and death for my family – not yet. We are lucky. It does take away our economic freedom.
Tue Jun 27 2017
Karina in Texas
Testimony at the Tyler Medicaid Forum 6/24/17
Jan in Texas
I'm 62 , recently 'retired' from oil industry. My healthcare would escalate radically in cost– and my Medicare and SicialSecurity are likely threatened too, collapsing basic retirement plans it took 35 years to build. So many preexisting conditions we are all disqualified for coverage in something –despite being basically healthy and living responsibly.
2 out of 7 of family children can't find work and are no longer covered by parents insurance. One niece severely debilitated by unknown disease but covered at least.
my wonderful brother in law with MS will lose affordable coverage. He is basically finally well again–due to expensive medications and coverage under ACA/ Medicaid after a horrific decade of suffering for their immediate family before ACA
Kathy in Texas
If the proposed Senate healthcare bill is enacted, my 4-year-old niece Olivia and her family will suffer greatly. She has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a degenerative neuro-muscular disease for which there is no cure. Its effects include losing the ability to walk, crawl, move the arms, swallow, and breathe. Olivia has Medicaid as her secondary insurance after her parents’ insurance is maxed out. Her parents both have good jobs and work very hard. Under Medicaid, Olivia has thrived with Physical Therapy, wheelchairs, walkers, cough assist machines, leg braces, and many other types of equipment and therapies. There is a very expensive drug that she is on, and it is brand new to the market. Medicaid pays for it, and it slows the progression of the disease, and in many cases, helps the patient grow stronger. Olivia has benefitted greatly from it. Because of it, she is much, much stronger, can hold herself upright, and is sometimes walking in a walker. Her future is very bright. If you ask her what she wants to do when she grows up, she’ll tell you she is going to be an engineer. With Medicaid enabling her to have this drug and all of this great care, there’s no doubt she will achieve all of her goals in life. If Medicaid is cut, she will lose her miracle drug, and her disease will regress to the point where she will need to be institutionalized. The irony is that it will be far more expensive than the care she will get from Medicaid. If this bill is enacted, it will not make her sleep any easier at night knowing that America’s wealthiest citizens gained a huge tax cut on the back of her loss.
Steve in Texas
I help people obtain their disability benefits through the Social Security Administrations. If they are entitled to Disability Insurance they are eligible for Medicare, but have to wait 24 months before they can enroll. Until the ACA came along there was no alternative. Disabled individuals had to wait 24 months. Now folks can enroll in the ACA while they are waiting for the Medicare to kick in. The AHCA and the BCRA would encourage the creation of high risk pools and other alternatives to get these folks out of the individual markets. The BCRA funds this alternative at only $119 billion for 10 years. Not to mention that folks premiums would increase dramatically.
Folks not eligible for Medicare may get Medicaid.
The Senate wants to reduce funding for this important insurance program. That is correct, Medicaid is insurance, not an entitlement.
These are disabled folks who are in desperate need of healthcare. The Senate's bill would harm my clients by limiting access to the care they desperately need.
Lily in Texas
I'm 28, and I've struggled with mental illness (OCD and depression) since early adolescence. I currently get my insurance through the ACA, and I'm concerned that I may be priced out if the law is repealed and an insurance company decides to raise my rates on the grounds that I might pose, say, a suicide risk. Since I have in fact had suicidal thoughts in the past when I was off of medication or out of therapy, stripping away essential health benefits or hiking premiums has the potential to completely ruin my life.
Gray in Texas
I'm attaching a picture of my mother (and my brother) from December 25, 2015. My Mom, marathon runner, who biked across Kansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Wyoming dozens of times, who at 80 still does yoga, was rushed to the KU Med Center in Kansas City by Life Flight for a quadruple bypass at the end of 2015. While at KU Med my Father was checked in to the emergency room with complications from Diabetes. They were fortunate that Medicare covered most of their expenses from these emergencies, but still had several thousands of dollars of out of pocket expenses to pay when they got home. They are not wealthy, just regular people who would have been in very deep financial trouble if it were not for existing healthcare safeguards.I worry that the AHCA will cut services and coverage in a way that could devastate their health and finances.
I've also attached a picture of my Grandmother, my son, and me. My Grandma is 103 years old and lives in the Alzheimer's wing of her assisted living facility. She doesn't recognize me anymore, or my mother who visits her daily, but she is always happy to see us when we visit. She is very fortunate to live in a place that is clean, where she is safe and cared for by kind staff. I have visited other facilities in Austin that are not like that, places that are run down, where residents wear dirty clothes and public spaces smell like urine. We need a healthcare system that protects and provides for the most vulnerable in their hour of need, especially the elderly who should have dignity in their final days. I worry that the AHCA will cut funding for those who need it most. For the most powerful country in the free world this should not even be up for debate or subject to influence by special interest money.
I am also attaching a picture of my friend Brandon. We play together in the music ministry at Alpha Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Austin, TX. Brandon is a young man and an amazing musician who suffered a sudden and rapid loss of his eyesight last year. "Brandon was diagnosed with Pseudotumor Cerebri, also known as Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension earlier this year (2015). One hospital stay, two surgeries, and nine doctors & specialists later, he's now legally blind."
Brandon's doctors have not been able to correct his loss of vision. He had to quit his job and his wife took responsibility for his care while also finishing her college degree. Brandon heard about an experimental stem sell treatment that offered him a chance to get his sight back. Insurance did not cover the treatment and he had to rely on GoFundMe to raise enough money for the chance to get his sight back. I think it is absolutely outrageous that in the richest country in the world many ordinary people have to rely on crowdsourcing for their healthcare. How will you change this??
All of these people are special to me. All of them have real health issues they carry every single day. When I read about closed meetings where a few Senators work on bills that affect every life in this country, with only a couple days of debate and analysis before being rammed through Congress and set into law, I am driven to a fury I have rarely experienced. As my Senator I expect more of you. As a person who claims Christian values I expect more of you. "Set the captives free, make the lame walk, and bring eyesight to the blind." Instead I see partisan rhetoric, expert analysis referred to as "fake news," and Senators wrapping themselves in the flag. I do not support ACA repeal and I do not support the AHCA and I demand the same from you.
Vik in Texas
The Affordable Care Action is not hypothetical for me. I was seriously injured in a car accident on February 20, 2017 where I broke my ankle and my hip. I had other health issues related to the accident, including being on a ventilator for 2 days after surgery and blood clots. I had sepsis, and my understanding is that it was a touch and go situation with respect to my survival. I spent 2 weeks at East Texas Regional Medical Center in Tyler and then 2 weeks at Trinity Mother Frances Rehabilitation Hospital. I am now staying with a friend in Longview and still undergoing physical therapy. Full recovery of my hip is expected to take 1 year.
The total amount of my medical bills is $450,000. My out of pocket for my ACA exchange plan is $3500. Needless to say, I am very grateful for the security that the ACA has provided me.
The ACA has allowed me to have the recovery and treatment that I need. It has given me piece of mind that I wouldn't have otherwise. I am eternally grateful to have this insurance.
And millions of others are grateful for their coverage. For many, it has literally been the difference between life and death. It was in my case, having been on a ventilator.
There are those who look at those the people who may lose their insurance as a number. Well, there are names and faces behind those numbers. There are families behind those numbers. There is a moral compass behind those numbers. For me, one person losing their insurance is one too many.
My story is not the only one. I know many who have seen the benefits of the ACA. I am proud to worked to get the ACA passed in the first place. Back in 2010, I had insurance before the ACA so it didn't have as direct an impact on me at that time. Today, it does. I worked on the ACA because I felt that it was important for all Americans to have health coverage. We have made significant progress in the right direction on that front. And I have no intention of going backwards.
I was reluctant to share my story so soon, since I'm still recovering and going through therapy. But telling the story can't wait. I can't wait. People are making their voices heard on how the ACA has helped them. I'm just one of the many. And I'm proud to do so.
I support keeping the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The alternatives that have been proposed, such as the AHCA and BRCA, will hurt too many people, including myself. I am scared of losing my health insurance. I am scared of potentially having a pre-existing condition (blood clot). I'm scared of having a lifetime cap which I would be almost halfway to reaching because of this accident.
Why should I be scared? Why should I worry about my security? I have nothing wrong. Why should millions suffer so that the wealthiest 1% get a tax cut that they don't need.
In closing, I support the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and am strongly against both the House and Senate healthcare bills (AHCA and BRCA) currently under consideration in Congress. I strongly urge Senator Cornyn/Cruz to vote no on these bills
Shirley in Texas
I would lose my healthcare and my Dad could lose his community based assistance hours.
BJ in Texas
I'm a movement therapist – I work with children with disabilities and the elderly helping them deal with the daily challenges of their conditions. Most of the children receive Medicaid for disabilities they were born with. To have these services curtailed through financial cuts could be devastating to them and their development.
Lou has Downs syndrome, has rheumatism, ear problems, eye problems. He gets speech therapy, movement therapy and frequent check-ups for joint and metabolic conditions. He has three siblings that also need care. One has physical disabilities and needs movement therapy to have use of arms and the seven fingers she has. They are beautiful, happy children with a loving family. Should these children be denied services because they have more needs than others?
Even if things are phased out gradually, we have no guarantee from our elected officials that there will be equivalent/stronger programs through state services. It seems the GOP only think the rich should be served. We only get lip service and falsifications.
Children are our future – please protect our future, our people rather than big pharma and insurance companies that have no heart.
Children have hearts and love. Elderly have given already to the world and deserve care and respect as they pass on their legacies.
Please protect our care, our people, our democracy, our future.
Leslie in Texas
My sister is 34 years old and has struggled with severe depression her whole adult life. She's tried every kind of treatment: therapy, dozens of types of medication, in-patient and out-patient hospitalization, and months in residential treatment. In 2010 she had experimental brain surgery as part of a research study on deep brain stimulation (it probably helped, but wasn't a cure-all). She depends on an ACA plan for insurance, which she wouldn't be able to afford, or maybe obtain at all, without guaranteed coverage for preexisting conditions, and the inclusion of mental health coverage. Without ACA coverage, she could not afford the care and the medicines that keep her alive.
LaGina in Texas
I'm a single mom of two with medicaid. I don't know what i would if i didn't have my kids on medicaid. Medicaid has help my family out so much i would i have to have like 3 jobs to just paid for one visit to the doctor. Medicaid allows me to go to school to get a better job. Medicaid has help me find out that my son has ADHD, GAD,ODD,SAD, and social anxiety. If it wasn't for Medicaid i would be able to paid for therapy, testing, or specialist doctor for my son. With medicaid i got to get all those test done. Medicaid pays for my son medicine when he is in school so he can focus on his school work so he can success in life. If they cut medicaid i wouldn't be able to afford anything he need to have a great life.
Sara in Texas
Christian in Texas
I'd lose my health insurance! And so would my wife and daughters!
Michelle in Texas
When I was 26, I was diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disease and told I would have two weeks to live if I didn't get a transplant. I was still in school, working a part time job, living at home, and was too old to be covered by my hard-working parents. I had a small insurance plan purchased through my college, but it didn't cover anywhere near enough of my office visits and many blood draws, let alone any visits I would need to see specialists outside my smaller hometown. My only hope was being diagnosed as "disabled" and getting on the Medicaid program. I had to quit my job, and went down to half-time in school, to qualify as being "disabled." After a few months long battle with Social Security (I know other people have had it much worse than me), I was able to qualify and received retroactive benefits that would cover much of the medical bills I had accrued. I was able to avoid getting the transplant with the use of medication, and am happy to say that I am doing well now. I am no longer considered "disabled" or on Medicaid, but without the benefit of that program, I would not be here today.
Gerrie in Texas
Senators: Protect out healthcare funding! You are in place to represent human beings, not corporations! Please, please have mercy and provide the people of Texas good, quality healthcare.
Mitzi in Texas
Our goddaughter is fighting a stage IV breast cancer. Her treatment won't be covered under this disastrous, cruel proposal.
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.
Lektje in Texas
My mother-in-law is a small business owner who employs a couple dozen people. She has worked every single day of her adult life. She is still working to this day, and also taking care of her 30-year old disabled son, my husband's brother Nick. We all love Nick. He is the sweetest , most goodhearted guy. My mom-in-law is devoted to him. Unfortunately, due to his disability, Nick has many different health complications. He required heart surgery five years ago and needs his medications to survive. Nick depends on Medicaid for his medical care. If Nick loses Medicaid, he will die. Before that happens, my mom-in-law will be financially ruined, and her employees will lose their jobs. Please stop this bill! Thank you.
Anat in Texas
ACA repeal is a death sentence for many people living with preexisting conditions. ACA enacted protections including essential health benefits, no more lifetime caps, or denials for preexisting conditions.
My mother, widowed and retired (ie, no disposable income), relies on ACA with tax subsidies for medical care that helps her to stay active and monitor her ongoing health needs as she ages. She has preexisting conditions that will make her uninsurable if protections built into the ACA are repealed.
My 'young invincible' brother has a preexisting condition: scoliosis.
I, a working mother of 2 young kids, live with: anxiety, depression and Crohn's disease, a chronic autoimmune illness — all pre-existing conditions. Without protections built into the ACA, if I were to lose my job or have to stop working because G-d forbid I become very sick, I would no longer have access to the ongoing medical treatments and interventions that screen me for cancer, or that help me to maintain an active lifestyle.
My child lives with a chronic preexisting condition: congenital hypothyroidism. Without ACA protections and access to treatments her quality of life would be severely diminished.
My uncle lives with serious mental illness: bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. These are debilitating, lifelong preexisting conditions. He relies on Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security just to survive.
Dear, close friends whose children suffer serious and life-threatening special health care needs (mitochondrial disease, congenital heart defects, life-threatening allergies, Costello disease, Leigh's disease, and others) would not be alive today without Medicaid. These children would simply die. In addition to the daily anxieties and emotional toil their parents endure, these families would have faced financial devastation many times over, if not for lifesaving Medicaid.
I work with and on behalf of all Texans — vulnerable children (and their parents), pregnant women, Texans with disabilities and serious special health needs, seniors/ grandparents — who fear for their lives under the threat of an ACA repeal, and the gutting of Medicaid that has been tacked on to both House and Senate repeal proposals.
I am but one Texan. And, this is my story.
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.
Christina in Texas
My husband and I are self-employed small business owners with pre-existing conditions that had us on the brink of disability prior to receiving care under the Affordable Care Act: He has a spine injury and I have Lupus. Now we are not only able to work full time, we are able to enjoy our hobbies, engage with our community, and even think about buying a house and starting a family. None of this would be possible if we didn't have health insurance to help us afford the tests, treatments, and therapies we need to stay well!
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.
Morgaine in Texas
Duncan in Texas
Katharine in Texas
Catherine in Texas
Debra in Texas
Julia in Texas
A Medical Student in Texas
Samantha in Texas
Jack in Texas
My best friend, now dead, was a victim of the healthcare system/Medicaid when she was alive. This was pre-ACA. She died in 2010. Misty Miller needed a life-saving liver-transplant. She had been sick for many years, but managed to work a full-time job in IT so that she could keep her insurance. Once she finally became too sick to work full time, she dropped to part-time.
When she dropped to part time, she lost her insurance, but was assured that she could apply for Medicaid when and if she needed to. Unfortunately, by the time she needed to apply for Medicaid, she had made too much money by working part-time ($9000) that year, to qualify. Because of her pre-existing conditions, even her family could not get her insured with a private company. Instead of getting the liver transplant she needed when she needed it, she was sent to a nursing home to wait a period of 45 days so that she could once again, somehow, qualify for Medicaid.
During those 45 days, she grew more and more ill, fell weaker and weaker. When she was finally released for the surgery, she was at great risk for failure. They performed the surgery anyway, but she lived for only one year afterward – in great pain and discomfort, rarely leaving the hospital.
The system failed my friend in so many ways. She worked full time to keep her insurance. But when she got too sick to work anymore, how was she supposed to find the healthcare she so desperately needed?
Even when her family and friends got together to purchase it for her, she was then denied based on pre-existing conditions (A FAILING LIVER). The fact that she had no insurance limited the places she could go for care.
How was she supposed to survive this?
She was 36 when she died.
This is the type of healthcare system you seek to restore – one that killed a beautiful, well-educated, beloved woman with much to contribute to the world.
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.
Joe in Texas
I would lose my access to affordable coverage. I'm 62, selfemployed with preexisting conditios, including kidney stones. Because of the ACA my last emergency surgery cost me less than $500 in deductibles. Without it the same treatment would have cost me over $100,000, which would have bankrupted me. The ACA saved me.
Amy in Texas
My family owns are own business and gets insurance through the ACA. This past fall my husband was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. He went from being perfectly healthy to being in surgery for 9 hours! They removed his thyroid and all the lymph noids in the left side of his neck. It was the longest 9 hours of my life. The hospital bill alone was $300,000 that does not include the doctors or diagnostic tests before or follow-up care after. If this happened to someone without insurance they would be done. I have a relative in his mid-40s that works for an employer who provides insurance but he still can't afford that premium so he takes his chances. I told him about how much the hospital bill was and he said 'he would just declare bankruptcy'. What he doesn't get is that we all end up paying for that. Just like we all pay for those Emergency Room visits that go unpaid. The ACA is not prefect; deductibles are high and the 'in-network' of doctors is ridiculously small but three out of four of us now have/had health issues that would be considered pre-existing conditions. Without the ACA we wouldn't have any possibility of insurance at all.
Will in Texas
Back in December I started feeling lethargic and tired, and at night I would get back pains. I didn't think much of it, probably because I was used to living without health insurance. However, by late January I had to be rushed to the ER because I could hardly stand up. Turns out my gall bladder had become obstructed and I was days away from dying without getting emergency surgery to remove it. Luckily they got it out and I made a swift and full recovery.
Before the ACA subsidized insurance premiums I was uninsured. I signed up for health insurance as soon as I could. Without insurance I probably would have waited to go to the emergency room and it might have been too late. Even if they had saved me, I would be faced with a 60,000 dollar hospital bill that would take me literally decades to pay off. I am eternally grateful for the very real positive effect the ACA has had on me, and without it I'm sure thousands of people just like me will either die or be financially ruined when something unforeseen eventually happens to them.
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.
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?
Eric in Texas
My wife has had some preexisting conditions for as long as I've known her. I'm a contract programmer and so tend to move from job to job. Consequently I have gone through dry spells when I couldn't afford any healthcare insurance and before the ACA the fact that I couldn't get any coverage for my wife's preexisting conditions pretty much made it not worth getting anyway.
When the ACA came along we signed up. She had some things such as a bad knee that had been deteriorating for years so we had them fixed. It is expensive but at least it is coverage.
But in the last few years the prices have gone up and the coverage has gone down. I'm currently working for a well known tech company and making better money than most yet about 1/3 of my after tax income is going to pay for two low end HMO policies and her deductible.
Since we got our ACA plans she has developed a new condition. Medical care is so expensive now (BCBS was billed $1300 for a simple blood draw for me) that without insurance we could be financially ruined.
With the Republican plan I can see our insurance rates go up to half of my after tax income or perhaps we simply will be unable to get any meaningful health care at all. This threatens our financial future and potentially threatens my wife's life.
After looking at the situation very carefully we have decided that our best option is for me to quit work, for both of us to start collecting social security and then to leave the country.
Consequently we are in the process of purchasing a home in Spain. We've priced drugs there and they cost 1/12 of what the same drug costs in the US. She can get good healthcare insurance for about 300 Euro that covers her preexisting conditions. I can get insurance for about 100 Euro.
It's my opinion that health care in this country is very badly broken, not just because of the insurance issue but because there are no cost constraints. Everything is unbearably expensive and we are not getting good results. In the WHO rates Spain as #7 for results and the Spanish people outlive Americans. In comparison the US is rated at about #36.
Jane and Ben in Texas
Medicare has been such a godsend for us — paying for Ben's two surgeries and 5 hospitalizations would have put us in bankruptcy along with millions of younger folks who have not been so fortunate. The premiums so far revealed for the AHCA would be simply out of reach for me if he were to pass. Medicare has enabled us to continue to be solid citizens, supporting those around us.
Julie in Texas
As a 60 year old and cancer survivor, I will not be able to afford health insurance premiums of $1,000 or more per month with very high annual deductibles on a $35,000 annual household income. We have received subsidies each year of the ACA. Prior to the ACA, we spend $20,000 from savings on premiums, deductibles and co-pays in the last two months of 2013 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. (Oct., 2013)
I wish Congress would fix what's not working with the ACA and not focus on reducing taxes on the wealthy. Health care should be a right for all, not a privilege for the few.
Melanie in Texas
I am from Texas. I live in a blue county in a very red state. Cornyn and Cruz and their aides don't listen when I call about ACA, and I've been calling almost daily since 1/20/2017. Here is my story:
Fiveyears ago, an aneurysm exploded in my brain.
Sincethen, I’ve undergone four brain surgeries to repair three aneurysms. I’ve beenhospitalized 14 times in 55 days. Ten hospital stays involved “routine” brainscans. Others treated life-threatening anemia, “superbug” pneumonia, and atracheostomy. In rehab, I learned how to walk, bathe, feed, and dressmyself.
I live today because of exceptional medical careprovided courtesy of Obamacare.
When the aneurysm ruptured, I had great insurance with nopre-existing conditions.
Obamacare let me keep that comprehensive insurancepolicy. It could not be canceled when I left rehab. Annual or lifetime limits couldnot be added. I could keep the endovascular neuroradiologist I trusted. My bankaccount stayed safe from endless out-of-pocket charges.
Thanks to Obamacare’s Essential Benefits, I couldreceive the annual scans my brain needed. Three times in three years, thosescans revealed the aneurysms growing and threatening to blow again. Life-savingsurgeries, provided by Obamacare, prevented a repeat nightmare.
TrumpCare, based on a modified American Health Care Act(AHCA), offers no affordable way to give my brain the care it still needs.
Insurance companies could charge me, a 60-year-oldwoman, rates five times higher than a 20-year-old. If that 20-year-old has no pre-existingconditions, rates drop again. And, if it covers a male, rates drop a thirdtime.
Call it the GOP healthcare trifecta: Age Tax, Sick Tax,and Sex Tax guaranteed if you’re a 60-year-old female with a pre-existing.
AHCA lets individual states waive Obamacare’s EssentialBenefits. That translates for me into no brain scans, no aneurysm repairs, nohospitalizations, no emergency room visits, no prescriptions, no preventivecare, no rehab. Who knows what else I’ll lose.
Last year’s brain scan and follow-up surgery cost $204,000.Trumpcare promises tax cuts of $197,000 to the top 0.1 percent of Americans.Ironic, isn’t it: one person’s healthcare costs nearly equal another’s tax cut.
My healthcare expenses since 2012 exceed $1.3 million. Iface five years of brain scans before I reach Medicare eligibility. Does medicalbankruptcy await me and my family, thank you, GOP Senators?
Welcome to your new America.
Lynn in Texas
I could be uninsured, likely lose my business and assets.
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.
Wed Jun 21 2017
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.
Morgaine in Texas
I'm 23 years old and I have a genetic disorder called fragile x syndrome. Defunding medicade would mean that I'd lose therapy and attendant care that I need to stay independent. If I lost this help, I would literally crumble emotionally. I could lose the ability to have a job, drive one day or live on my own. I love my job and my life. Please don't take that away.
Diane in Texas
Medicaid saves lives each and every day. I am the single mother of three children with Fragile X Syndrome which causes neurological problems like autism, intellectual disabilities, and severe anxiety. Before my children got on the C.L.A.S.S. wavier system through Medicaid, I was forced to leave my oldest daughter home alone everyday after she had aged out of public school. Without the support she needed she lost the job that the school had gotten her. It became harder and harder for her to leave the house even to run errands. She became completely agoraphobic. She got to the point where she could no longer eat. I had to take a medical leave of absence to help her regain her strength. I had no idea what we were going to do. Then, a miracle happened. My children who had been on the C.L.A.S.S. waiting list in Texas had become eligible for services. With the help of Medicaid, my daughter can now leave the house and is working with the Texas Workforce Commission to find a job. She gets attendant care and therapy that she needs to stay alive and active in the community. All three of my children are now out of public school and are thriving through Medicaid. I cannot express the fear and the desperation I feel at the thought of them loosing Medicaid's invaluable help. Taking Medicaid away from them is in many ways literally taking their lives. Please, do not defund Medicaid.
Anita in Texas
I am a 62 year old retiree with several non-critical pre-existing conditions. I buy my health insurance on the exchange and qualify for a subsidy. Even with that subsidy I am paying almost $800/month for my coverage, with a deductible of $3250. I know that without the ACA I wouldn't be able to get coverage even if I could pay for it. I fear a life without health insurance because an unexpected accident or sickness could wipe out my retirement savings. Health care should not be a for-profit industry and I pray for the day this country will join the rest of the developed world and offer universal coverage.
Tue Jun 20 2017
Deborah in Texas
At no time in my adult life have I had employer-provided health insurance. Buying a policy on the individual market is prohibitively expensive, so for many years I was among the 25% of Texans who were uninsured. What little medical care I got, I paid for out of pocket, and kept my fingers crossed that I would not develop a really serious health issue. As soon as the HealthCare.gov marketplace opened, I was there, and bought the first truly affordable health insurance of my life. I have renewed the policy each year since. But now, at 61, I'm in that "older and poorer" group of Americans who will see our insurance premiums skyrocket if Trumpcare replaces the ACA. My costs are predicted to go from under $100 a month to more than $1,000, which will effectively throw me back on the "Stay Well or Die Quick" health "plan." I will again be uninsured, not by choice, but because I don't have $12,000 or $15,000 a year to spend on health insurance. The ACA has given me great peace of mind, and while I know it's not perfect, it's much much better than having no insurance at all.
Kelly in Texas
This is my daughter Caroline. She's 35 years old. She was born with a rare condition called WAGR syndrome. She's legally blind, has intellectual disability, chronic kidney failure and a lot of other medical conditions. Even with all this, she's a remarkable woman. She has a job that she loves, as a prep chef in the dining hall of a nursing home. She's worked there for 10 years. She volunteers 3 days a week. She's also the Resource Coordinator for Sunday School classes at church. Her favorite thing is advocating for others with disabilities. She does this by serving on the Board of a local nonprofit called "SALSA – the San Antonio League of Self-Advocates." Caroline lives in a group home. It's just a house in a neighborhood. Six women with disabilities live there, and they have a staff person to help them with cooking, medication, transportation and so on. Group homes allow adults like my daughter to live in the community, not in an institution, especially after their parents are too old to care for them or pass away. Group homes are covered by Medicaid. The companies that run them usually operate on a shoestring, yet most do a great job. The drastic cuts to Medicaid that are being proposed would make it impossible for group homes to continue. What would happen to the 75,000 disabled people in Texas who live in group homes? Where would they go? Four of the six women at Caroline's home have no family at all. What will happen to my daughter when I am gone? There are very few institutions left for people with disabilities – thank God! – so would they be homeless? These are people who wouldn't survive homelessness for a single day. Would they be put in nursing homes? The cost of that would be astronomical. I want to know what these Senators plan to do with people like my daughter. Do they have a plan? Are they proposing any kind of alternative to Medicaid? Or do they simply want people like Caroline to die???
Joe in Texas
Half of my family had some sort of pre-existing condition including diabetes, asthma, severe hearing loss and depression.
Denise in Texas
Dear friends of our family are parents to an adult woman, named Dawn, who is developmentally handicapped. We have witnessed first hand how the benefits Dawn currently receives through Medicaid's community-based services (a.k.a. HCS) have been essential to her and her family. Dawn lives with her parents, both of whom are now of retirement age. They have worked hard their entire lives, as well, to provide an opportunity for Dawn to engage with the community and feel a sense of purpose in spite of her severe challenges. Dawn has held a job for at least the 20+ years I've known her. It is frightening to think that cuts to Medicaid could directly impact the essential services Dawn has come to rely on her entire life. Worse, the thought that her parents may no longer be able to care for her with out this assistance breaks our heart. I hope our elected officials not only understand the impact the AHCA would have on the lives of Americans given our stores, but find the courage to protect the most vulnerable in our society by not supporting this bill.
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.
Emily in Texas
My son has autism. Because of the essential health benefits in the ACA, my son is able to get services like Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, and Applied Behavior Analysis. There is no cure for autism; however, these services greatly help manage the challenges associated with autism. If the ACA is repealed, these essential health services might not be covered, and they will cost my family tens of thousands of dollars. Not to mention, my son's progress in social skills, speech, and sensory integration will be severely impacted if he has to stop these therapies because we can't afford them anymore.
C. in Texas
I'm a single mother of a 4-year old who came to me through foster care. He was drug-exposed throughout the pregnancy and experienced traumatic neglect. While he was in foster care, he received P/T and O/T through Early Childhood Intervention programs and exhibited some sensory integration issues. But because he was adopted under the age of 2, he did not qualify for Medicaid here in Texas, and my income is too high for CHiP. I am self-employed and had maintained an individual insurance policy through BCBS for over a decade – the premiums increased 15-20% each year. But adding my son to that policy would have doubled my premiums, to about $1000 per month. The ACA made my family possible. Premiums have been relatively affordable; until the last year, our doctors accepted the policy. I was able to have 2 surgeries for endometrial ovarian cysts. But my son's sensory integration issues have increased over the past 2 years. The lightning storm in his brain became so debilitating that it interfered with his daily functioning. We were eventually referred to a series of specialists, including a neurologist. Late in 2016, my son was diagnosed with ADHD and Pervasive Developmental Delays. These are issues that will require regular treatment and intervention, which he will lose if we lose health insurance. With treatment, my son is reading and doing math. He is a compassionate, charming, sweet-natured, effervescent person. But both of us now have pre-existing conditions. Both of us are uninsurable without the protections of the ACA.
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.
Kelly in Texas
I am 64 years old and looking forward to the protection Medicare will offer me, because I am greatly concerned about repeal of my ACA coverage. For my entire working life, I carried and paid for quality full-coverage health insurance for over 25 years, either personally or through an employer. I was the guy insurance companies count on to balance their risk—I didn’t have any serious health conditions.
After a layoff, I experienced the first of two heart attacks in 2003, which made me instantly uninsurable. Without health insurance, I was unable to complete cardiac rehab or afford preventive drugs or treatment. The ACA made insurance available to me for the first time in many years. After failing a cardio stress test and a bad angiogram, I had an urgent triple cardio artery bypass graft. The ACA literally saved my life, and I am grateful it exists.
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.
Nora in Texas
I am a 28-year-old entrepreneur. I’ve benefited from the Affordable Care Act, first when I was able to remain on my parents' insurance until age 26, and also because I had a pre-existing health condition for which I’ve been hospitalized a few times. For this freelancer and small business owner, the ACA is only affordable way I can buy health insurance.
When I first started freelancing, I was eligible for tax credits, but now I pay the full premium amount. In 2015 I started a small business with a partner, which is growing, but not quickly enough to cover health insurance for both of us. If the ACA and its protections are repealed, I fear I’ll have to close my business and find a job with employer-based coverage.
Businesses like mine exist because of the freedom entrepreneurs have to take a risk, knowing that health insurance is available and affordable. I believe repeal will stifle new business creation and innovation. If I lose my insurance through the ACA I’ll probably close up shop and look for employment with a company that offers benefits, instead of working to grow my business and eventually employ others.
Mon Jun 19 2017
Stephanie in Texas
My name is Stephanie and I’m 37. In my 20s, I chose jobs so I could always have employer-sponsored health insurance because that was important to me. I was healthy and worked full-time until age 32, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My health insurance plan is a good one, so I’m glad that I didn’t have to go into debt to pay my bills. I’ve been on the same plan since 2005 and luckily, never had to change plans before the ACA was passed, when a new employer-sponsored plan could deny coverage for my cancer as a pre-existing condition. If I had lacked coverage when my cancer metastasized at age 34, I wouldn’t have been able to get the lifesaving treatment I did.
Because I’ve been in treatment for cancer for about four of the last six years, my health insurance plan has paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars. Before the ACA, there were lifetime limits, and when your medical costs reached that limit, just when you were the sickest, they could drop you (and they could drop you before that if you were costing them too much). Before my cancer diagnosis, I was very healthy and had paid into my plan for six years, rarely needing services. But since cancer doesn’t discriminate, any of us could receive that diagnosis at any time. If the Republicans are successful in repealing the ACA in the future, insurance companies will be happy to go back to the bad old days, when they could use inhumane business tactics to maximize profits. If the ACA is repealed, people like me who happen to have cancer could die because someone in a shiny office building decided that my lifetime should have a limit.
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.
Mason in Texas
My name is Mason, and I'm an entrepreneur and small business owner. I started a software company around six years ago, which today employs six full-time and part-time employees.
Starting a new business can be both exhilarating and terrifying. As an entrepreneur, you experience the excitement of creating something new and working hard to realize your dreams, but at the same time you are taking a huge risk, putting your reputation, career, and financial future on the line. Starting a new business is risky enough without having to put your health at risk, too. By providing access to affordable healthcare, the Affordable Care Act not only helps people start companies and create jobs, but makes it possible to attract high-quality employees who might otherwise not be able to take a risk and help build a new company, out of fear of losing their access to health insurance.
I know I'm not alone. I have met many entrepreneurs who credit the ACA with their ability to take a risk, start a new business, and create new jobs in Texas. The ACA has not only provided me with coverage; it's enabled me to create jobs and opportunities for others. For that, I am very grateful.
Mon Jun 19 2017
Tio from Texas
I'm 26 years old. My husband and I eloped in 2014 and we welcomed our first baby in April 2016. I was lucky growing up to have a dad with a state job and good insurance. When I moved away from home, I was still covered by his plan because I was a part-time student. When I ran out of money for school, the ACA had passed, and I was able to stay on his plan until I aged out last November. At that time, being added to my husband's employer coverage was cost prohibitive for us, so I got coverage through the marketplace.
I did not have any major debilitating illness growing up, but thanks to the ACA's essential health benefits I was able to get regular preventative care. I was able to afford my prenatal care and promptly seek birth control after my son was born so I could focus on my family. I was able to access care and continue breastfeeding when I came down with mastitis – twice – before my son was 2 months old.
At my first annual check up after my son's birth, my pap smear came back abnormal. Not very long after that I developed a lump in one breast. A few months later, I developed a lump in the other one as well. With the continued attempts to repeal the ACA, I am looking at a very uncertain and frightening future where I don't know if I will be able to get coverage at all, much less treat whatever issues may arise.
Mon Jun 19 2017
Kyla from Texas
My name is Kyla. My husband and I have three children, two of whom are medically complex. We are hard-working, middle class, tax paying individuals. Without Medicaid and CHIP, we would be financially ruined and there is a very strong chance our children would not be alive today.
Katie, my 11-year-old, is covered by Medicaid as part of the Medically Dependent Children’s Program which has already experienced cuts that have affected her care. She has mitochondrial disease which affects multiple body systems. It took us years to find her diagnosis and build a team of physicians that understand the disease and how to treat it. She relies on a feeding tube for her nutrition and requires supplemental oxygen, along with a variety of other needs. She sees multiple specialists across two hospital systems. The cuts to MDCP have forced us to make difficult decisions between her specialist medical team and the hospital system that is best equipped to treat and monitor her rare disease, but we are thankful that she is still able to access the things she needs to survive. Further cuts could be catastrophic for her and for us. Katie is a very intelligent child with a love for reading, science, and performing in musical theater, in spite of her medical challenges. Her future could be very bright and she could greatly contribute to the future success of our wonderful state, but if she loses access to her physicians and the medical equipment she relies on to survive, she may not have a future. Medicaid is her lifeline, literally, and there are thousands of children like her that depend on it for their very survival.
My youngest child, Josephine, was born in 2015 with a large hole in her heart that required open heart surgery. Medicaid is the reason she had access to the pediatrician, echocardiogram, and cardiologist that diagnosed her. Medicaid is the reason she could be hospitalized, stabilized, medicated, and have a life-saving surgical procedure. Medicaid is the reason we were able to have her multiple life-threatening food allergies diagnosed. If we had not been able to see a doctor and get testing, she could have easily died from those undiagnosed allergies. Medicaid and CHIP have also given her access to life-saving Epi-Pens, regular cardiology check-ups to monitor her heart status, and access to therapy that is teaching her how to safely eat so that she will not be reliant on a feeding tube in the future. Josie’s young life has barely started and for her to have a chance of long-term survival, she needs continued access to the medical care that keeps her alive and monitors her conditions. She deserves a chance at life; a chance to grow up as a proud Texan and contribute to our state.
Mon Jun 19 2017
David and Claire from Texas
My wife and I both work in the arts and depend on the Affordable Care Act for health coverage.
I am a church musician who went uninsured for many years before getting coverage through the ACA. Claire has worked professionally as an artist for five years, and has held apprenticeships. She was on her parents’ insurance until 2016, and now works at a performing arts center.
In August of 2016, I became very ill and passed out. I had an emergency appendectomy, and my insurance protected me and Claire from financial ruin. Our insurance covered more than $10,000 in hospital bills. I don’t know where we’d be without the ACA.
Mon Jun 19 2017
Melanie from Texas
Five years ago, an aneurysm exploded in the back of my brain. I was airlifted to the hospital for emergency brain surgery. Neurosurgeons repaired the aneurysm, and found two others, both waiting to rupture.
After surgery, complications ensued. My lungs shut down from life-threatening pneumonia, a hospital-acquired infection caused by “superbug” contamination from either the breathing tube in my throat or the drain in my brain. The right side of my body was paralyzed. Doctors sedated me into a coma then dripped high doses of powerful antibiotics into my veins.
A nightmarish recovery followed. Yet five weeks later, I began rehab and re-learned how to walk, talk, feed, bathe, and dress myself. I returned to work three months later, after additional brain surgery to seal off the unruptured aneurysm.
In four years, I’ve had four more brain surgeries and nine brain scans. I’ve been hospitalized 14 times, including once for near-fatal anemia caused by blood thinners too potent for my weakened body.
I’m alive today because of an amazing medical team. And also because of the ACA.
Thanks to the ten Essential Benefits mandated by the Affordable Care Act, my insurance covered the lifesaving brain surgeries I needed, along with annual brain scans. Those scans turned out to be exceedingly important because three times in the past three years, they showed that my aneurysms were refilling, threatening to explode again.
Mon Jun 19 2017
Erin and Neal from Texas
I was diagnosed with lupus when I was 16 years old. After college, I began working for a nonprofit that did not offer health insurance. I called all the major health insurance providers but was told over and over again that they could not insure me due to my preexisting condition. Later, after finding a new job, I learned that my preexisting condition would not be covered for the first 10 months. Naïve to this, I saw my specialist immediately after receiving coverage. I incurred $1,200 in medical bills that the insurance company refused to pay because the care was related to my preexisting condition. Although I have since paid these bills off in full, they negatively affected my credit for a few years while I realized they would not be covered and figured out how to slowly pay them off at $50 a month.
I work full time as a birth parent counselor for an adoption agency. I contribute to society and pay my taxes. Working in the nonprofit sector, I cannot afford to see a rheumatologist and pay for my medications out of pocket. Without access to these things I would die.
Now, my boyfriend who has a dual diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, is covered through the ACA Marketplace. Without health insurance, he would not have access to the rheumatologist he needs to see to order his labs and prescribe his medications – medications he needs to live. If the Affordable Care Act is repealed, he would no longer have access to the care and treatment he needs to survive. He eventually would have to stop working, get on disability, and his only access to healthcare would be visits to the ER until he dies.
We do not consider ourselves disabled at this point in our lives, and in order to remain healthy members of the workforce, we need access to thorough healthcare coverage at affordable rates. Please do not repeal the ACA. It saves lives. It certainly saved ours.
Mon Jun 19 2017
Carol from Texas
As a songwriter and musician in Nashville and in Texas, I always worked side jobs to make ends meet. Until the Affordable Care Act, I rarely made enough money to afford insurance. Yearly checkups didn’t happen, and I would go years between mammograms – which are recommended annually for women starting at age 45. I was taking risks. I was gambling my health would be good.
Thanks to the ACA, and because of the mandate that everyone must be on a plan, I got insurance at the age of 61. I found out I had breast cancer a week after I signed up. I think how horribly wrong things could have gone without the ACA—if I'd discovered I had breast cancer and then tried to get insurance on the private market.
The ACA covered almost everything — surgery, anesthesia, post-operative doctor's visits and almost 100 percent of my medications. After I recovered from my lumpectomy I had four weeks of radiation.
The Affordable Care Act saved me from complete financial devastation. Although I'm now in remission, I worry about what will happen if Congress votes to repeal the ACA. I may no longer qualify for insurance, or if I do I may be required to pay a lot more for the same care I received under the ACA. If that happens, I won't be able to afford it. And I know I’m not alone. Millions of us are worried about how we’ll survive without healthcare as affordable and accessible as the ACA.
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.
Jackie in Texas
As a self-employed entrepreneur, I have to buy my insurance myself. Costs have been very high. Last year was a down year for my business but I was able to find very affordable rates for insurance through the ACA marketplace. Thank goodness for this otherwise I might not have healthcare coverage right now. Don't repeal the ACA and replace it with something worse. Let's just improve it!
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.
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.
Cathy in Texas
I work in public education serving students with disabilities. Every day I meet with families and students who depend on Medicaid services and monies to keep their severely disabled child at home and in school. An example of a disability, among many, is being born with half a brain. A student such as this has difficulty swallowing, walking, is dependent in all self care areas. If they lose Medicaid, they literally will lose their child to the ravages of their disability. I invite you to come into the schools and meet these students and the parents who have given their all to keep their children safe at home.
SHE COULD DIE WITHOUT IT. @MELANIATRUMP imagine this was Barron https://t.co/T959484wuD
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.
Heather in Texas
Three members of my family, two of whom are minors, would lose access to affordable health care without the pre-existing protections. My children should not have to face a lifetime of not being able to afford treatment just because they were diagnosed with illnesses as a child. Getting rid of the essential health care coverages could also be catastrophic for one of my children. My daughter has been hospitalized three separate times for depression with suicidal ideation and self injury. Because insurance companies are required to cover psychiatric, we were able to afford to get her the treatment she needed. If insurance companies are allowed to forgo this coverage, my family will face choosing financial ruin or saving our daughter's life. No family should have to go bankrupt to obtain treatment, but that's what we will be forced to do. Coverage through the ACA exchange has allowed my family to obtain coverage at a reasonable price. On the open market, our monthly payment would be more than our mortgage. My husband and I are self employed and make a good living, but we don't have access to employer-sponsored plans. The only way we can afford coverage is through the ACA. If you repeal the ACA and pass your own bill, my family will be one of the 23 million Americans who will lose coverage.
Dan in Texas
As a father of a handicapped daughter, any loss of services would be devastating to our family. Hopefully you understand. Please do not support the AHCA and listen to your constiguents
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
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.
Sun Jun 18 2017
Amanda in Texas
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.
Tara in Texas
Sun Jun 18 2017
My name is Tara, I am 37 years old and I am a self-employed flute teacher. As a self-employed musician, I am responsible for purchasing my own health insurance. Before the Affordable Care Act, I could only afford health insurance that would assist with a critical illness or injury. I had to pay for all office visits, prescriptions, and preventative care – pap smears, blood work for cholesterol levels, etc. I am generally a healthy individual, but I was always worried about a major illness and I worried that my safety net would disappear due to unexpected medical bills. I was raised to always be prepared and my lack of good health insurance caused much anxiety. The Affordable Care Act has given me access to better healthcare. I was able to find a plan with a $2500 deductible, affordable co-pay amounts, included preventative care, and I found doctors that made me confident I was receiving good care. With this policy, I was able to have a minor foot surgery last year. I could not have afforded this before the Affordable Care Act. In January, I learned that my current plan was being cancelled in June so I scrambled to find a new policy. I found a similar policy with a $3500 deductible on healthcare.gov. My monthly premium fell from $445 to $351, so I am relatively happy. I know that not everyone feels this way. I recognize that the current system is not perfect and I agree that it needs revision. My monthly premium rose from $225 to $445 over a few years and I could not have afforded maternity coverage if it had been needed. I am not eligible for tax credit/subsidies and I am very worried about what will happen to my coverage if ACA is repealed. I ask my representatives to make quality healthcare available to ALL Americans. You should be working to improve the ACA, not repeal it.
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.
Sun Jun 18 2017
Imelda in Texas
My grandfather Jose who is 82 years old is a dual-eligible. He has both Medicare and Medicaid. My grandma who passed away two years ago was also a dual-eligible since a stroke left her disabled. Medicaid helped us greatly to give my grandma the best quality of life we could give her in her last years. Medicaid helped pay for a temporary stay in a nursing home for my grandma after her stroke and my aunt who took care of her afterwards said that it was immensely valuable to have the nursing home staff teach her how to take care of grandma once she were released at home. Now I am very afraid that the same support won't be available for my grandfather who has a heart condition. Medicaid currently helps us with part of his medical treatment like visits and drug costs. I am very concerned that the cuts to the current Medicaid program proposed in the AHCA will impact him.
Sun Jun 18 2017
Sharla in Texas
I am the mother and legal guardian of my 52 year old daughter with autism. Since the day she was born, I have been able to keep her at our home in the community and out of institutions even though she is totally dependent upon our care 24/7. Without her HCS Medicaid waiver services, I would NOT be able to continue to keep her in our home. I am extremely concerned about Medicaid services for all Intellectually/Developmentally Disabled persons. I cannot support the AHCA at this time because it would cut Medicaid funding with no guarantee that children and adults would get the services they desperately need for survival. Do NOT allow cuts to our Medicaid lifeline. Caps and block grants would destroy the program in which people with disabilities and seniors rely on for critical health car and community services.
Sun Jun 18 2017
Kelsey in Texas
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.
Sun Jun 18 2017
Linda in Texas
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.
Sun Jun 18 2017
Imelda in Texas
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.
Sun Jun 18 2017
Linda in Texas
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.
Michelle in Texas
Before the ACA, my insurance was very expensive because I was a woman of child-bearing age. The ACA made it illegal to charge more. Now, I'm afraid I will never have kids, because I will never be able to afford having one. I'm also afraid to go to the doctor for my back. I do not want to be diagnosed with a pre-existing condition prior to Congress's new bill. Seriously, what is the point of insurance if you can't use it when you're sick or need it???
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.