Meet Frankie. Frankie was born with a genetic disorder called Neurofibromatosis (NF) but NF doesn’t define Frankie at all. He is a happy, sweet 3rd grader at an elementary school in Kansas.
Cat in Kansas
I had advanced stage 3 breast cancer + inflammatory breast cancer + pacemaker. Chemo drugs ALONE were over $500,000. My bill? Under $2,000 TOTAL.
I'm now on disability, due to damage from chemo/radiation. I can't feel my hands or feet due to Peripheral Neuropathy. I can't drive, or stand for more than a few minutes. Can't walk more than a few hundred yards without resting. I can't type. I can't do any jobs I used to do. Can't exercise like I used to, due to lung damage.
Contrary to what many have said, I did nothing to bring this on myself. I ate right, and exercised. I didn't smoke. My cancer was genetic. So was the heart problem. I did not ask for this.
Disability is no picnic. I can barely make ends meet. And this is without Medicade. I would rather be working. But, I can't. I would like my old life back. But, that will not happen. I have to adjust to my new life.
If the new bill passes, at the very least, I will be homeless. At worst…dead.
Christine in Kansas
My husband is a self-employed musician of 20 years. He regularly tours the world playing music. I am a speech language pathologist who works in early intervention. My husband was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 12. He requires multiple medications, daily, to keep his disease under control. Before the ACA I had to work, just for health insurance, OR he had to apply to, and be denied, by 6 health insurance companies, take those letters of denial to the state high risk pool and pay almost $1000/month for coverage. Just for him. In 2014 I took a job in our hometown and healthcare was offered. However, within a few months, due to budget cuts, it was taken away. The ACA gave our family financial security, health security and peace.
Leiola in Kansas
My beautiful daughter who is pregnant with her second child has benefited from the Affordable Care Act. She is a school teacher and supports her family on her salary. Her husband and four year old daughter are not covered by her work insurance. Nor will the baby be covered when it is born. Without the Affordable Care act they will be at risk.
Colleen in Kansas
My husband and I have spent our lifetimes either working for small local businesses or owning our own (2 so far!) and struggled to be able to justify paying monthly premiums that were more than our house payment for 2 very healthy non smokers. The ACA was truly miraculous for us. We've been on it since the beginning. Last year my husband was diagnosed with a heart issue…the testing alone would have bankrupted us pre ACA. Now, my husband has a preexisting condition, so if the ACA is repealed it will kill our chances of getting insurance on the open market. Having insurance for the past few years has been such a relief. I didn't realize how much it had affected me until it was gone. Now the worry is back but worse.
Nicole in Kansas
I am writing on behalf of my 15-month-old daughter, Mira. I experienced a normal pregnancy, a normal birth, and a normal maternity leave. But around the 4 month mark, we learned that Mira has a neurological disability that may very well render her unable to walk or talk. I could not return to work for a year while I acted as lead therapist, advocate, and worried mother. The ACA is the only thing that kept our family afloat in the most difficult year of our lives. If the ACA is repealed, Mira, who has absolutely no control over the state of her health, will suffer needlessly. Please help Mira maintain appropriate access to the healthcare she deserves.
Jane in Kansas
I am a psychologist with a PhD, employed for the past 30 years in Community Mental Health Centers. I have a serious pre-existing condition that made me completely uninsurable before the ACA. Narcolepsy is a neurological condition that causes dysregulation of the sleep/wake cycle. If I do not have access to the very expensive medication that allows me to stay awake and functional, I will not be able to stay awake to do my work, and will likely end up unemployable. Before the ACA, as funding for mental health was repeatedly cut, I lived in fear of losing my job and my health insurance. Before the ACA, I could not start my own business (and create jobs for others) because I could not go without health insurance. Access to health care matters.
Amy in Kansas
Because the ACA mandates access to free mammograms, I got one this year that resulted in a breast cancer diagnosis. Because the ACA mandates coverage for genetic testing in my situation, I was able to have that done, and found out that I am BRCA1 positive. My risk of ovarian cancer was 60%. My risk of breast cancer recurrence was 70%. I get to ensure that won't happen to me. Yes, early menopause and a mastectomy suck, but they are a whole lot better than radiation, chemo, and possibly death. But I'm still at increased risk for colon, pancreatic, and skin cancer. If I lose my job and insurance companies are allowed to exclude me based on my cancer history, I would not be able to afford the annual screenings I need.
Emily in Kansas
Last year I gave birth to my daughter and six days later lost my father. Two months after June was born, I lost my state sponsored health care. I have suffered from undiagnosed postpartum depression and anxiety this year, and for most of the year, due to my partner being in his final year of grad school, couldn't afford insurance.
When he began his job this fall, I was thrilled to have the luxury of health insurance again, only to discover that for just the two of us (not including our four children) we would have to spend $1200 a month.
In November the marketplace opened and I was able to get a plan for less than $400 a month. That meant that we would save around $300 a month.
My husband has a great job as a school psychologist, but if the ACA ends, if there are cuts to government sponsored health care for children, my family won't be able to afford to our rent because our money will have to go to healthcare. If I went back to work, I would spend my whole salary on childcare. Our family would fall through the cracks, and because of my mental illness, could be denied a policy.
I have heard person after person say that those who want the ACA are lazy, or taking advantage of the system, and that a privatized system would be so much better. I'm here to say that we aren't, and it won't. It won't be better for my family. We are already pinching pennies. I desperately hope that we aren't left with nothing to scrape from the bottom of the barrel.
Ashley in Kansas
In 2012, at the age of 29, I had my first child and was diagnosed with post-partum cardio myopathy. This is a pregnancy-induced form of heart failure that occurs in women with no prior history (or family history) of heart disease. My recovery has been a long and brutal one. I was on a Life Vest (a portable defibrillator) for the first month, and I should have been on it longer, but insurance wouldn't cover any more of it. It's been a lot of cardiologist appointments, maxing out on medications, echos and low-sodium foods. I now have a pacemaker and am considered recovered, as long as I stay on my medications. Because of this, I will always be a pre-existing condition. The ACA made me feel safe, and I no longer do.
Leah in Kansas
I am a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, Aunt, and Great Aunt. I have lived in Kansas for over thirty years. In my family, my husband and I owned a small business and couldn't change health insurance, because of a pre-existing condition in one of my children. As a sister, I watched my older sister fight cancer while still working 12 hour shifts as a RN. As a Great Aunt, I am watching my Niece handle two sons with medical conditions that will be with them for life, one scoliosis and one with juvenile diabetes. You cannot allow the Insurance companies to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. Or allow Insurance companies to set lifetime limits. These people deserve to have health insurance coverage that does not have any life time maximums and reasonable premiums or help to pay these premiums throughout their lives.
Hilary in NYC (and Kansas)
Though I live in NY now, Kansas City is home. I was raised in KC, attended Shawnee Mission schools & KU. My friends, family and a piece of my heart remain there. I was born with Spina Bifida, so I've always had a pre-existing medical condition. I rely on the use of medical equipment multiple times a day every single day to continue my existence. I don't have insurance through an employer. When ACA was enacted and Medicaid was expanded, I stopped having to pay out of pocket for my supplies and I no longer had to pay a premium almost equal to my rent in NYC. I need the government of my country to continue to guarantee I will never be denied access to coverage & healthcare and that I will always be able to afford to pay for it.
Melinda in Kansas
My family is on ACA. We are a one income household after I was laid off while on FMLA maternity leave. My husband works for a very small company (3 people) so he does not get employer coverage. We are going to lose our insurance with the repeal. We are paycheck to paycheck and any little injury or illness will threaten to bankrupt us. We have worked very hard for what we have… a car, a house, a daughter. I'm so scared now.
Megan in Kansas
11 years ago I had just turned 23-years-old and was working as an account executive at a small public relations firm in Kansas City. After a year waitressing while the economy was in the tank, I had finally gotten a job in my career field. I was ecstatic! They didn't have a company insurance policy, but they did pay us a significant stipend to get our own insurance independently. I was too old to be on my parents' insurance, so I found a plan that was awful, but I could afford.
About two months into my job, I found out my boyfriend of four years and I were unexpectedly pregnant. But there was a problem. Pregnancy was considered a "preexisting condition" so my insurance dropped my coverage. Which was TOTALLY LEGAL. We researched how much it cost to have a baby without insurance and the panic was back.
I went to the only place I knew…Planned Parenthood. They gave me prenatal care when no one else would. Eventually I found a local clinic that worked with many that either didn't have insurance or were on government aid, and they helped me give birth to this beautiful human.
Under the Affordable Care Act, this wouldn't happen. Pregnancy wouldn't have been a preexisting condition. I could've still been on my parents' insurance. I would have had more private options and the ability to shop for the coverage I needed. In fact, I used the ACA when I first started my photography business because my husband's work insurance didn't cover me (until then I had my own coverage through my corporate job). I believe in the ACA. I am so grateful, and I think it would be a huge tragedy to repeal something that not only has changed my life personally, but has helped so many of my friends and family members. I also strongly condemn the current talk of cutting funding to Planned Parenthood. I have them to thank for this beautiful baby, and the amazing girl she has become.
Danna in Kansas
I know a lot of people have strong opinions about "Obamacare" but for our family it is a lifesaver! Adam and I are self-employed so we don't get insurance through work, and Adam was denied coverage before this law! If the people elected to represent us repeal the ACA, I can't imagine how we will pay for insurance for our family. I really hope they do the right thing, and work TOGETHER to improve the ACA instead of throwing out a program, developed with all of our hard-earned tax dollars, that benefits millions of Americans like my family.
Ana in Kansas
Tue Jun 20 2017
Amy in Kansas
These are my twin girls, A and Z, just minutes old. They were born nearly 2 years ago, at 36 weeks gestation (technically preemies, but pretty good for twins) and weighed about 4.5 lbs each. We lived in Lincoln, Nebraska, and at the time, my insurance had a waiver for being ACA compliant. First, I can't even imagine having a high-risk pregnancy and premature baby, much less TWO babies that require NICU care, without having insurance. Our combined hospital bills were >$90K. What I CAN imagine is not having the benefits of the ACA. While I had insurance, I was not eligible for: 1) a breast pump (despite the fact that breast milk is considered critical care for premature babies), 2) coverage for breast-feeding support, which I paid out of pocket because the girls were too small to learn to nurse on their own, and 3) birth control coverage, because few things make you think about birth control in the same way as having twins does. Every woman deserves these things as services as part of comprehensive health insurance. And as a woman, I appreciate that under the ACA, I don't pay more than men do for health insurance, preventative care is fully covered, and screening preventions, like mammograms are also insured. Don't repeal the ACA, work to improve it.
Laura in Kansas
My son, Danny, was born at 30 weeks gestation via emergency C-section. At 6 months, we were told that he had delayed development. He was diagnosed with spastic cerebral palsy at one year of age. With the protections of the ACA, we did not have to worry about lifetime limits, pre existing conditions, and had the security of knowing we could keep him on our insurance until he is 26. Healthcare is a constant worry in our home and my son's life depends upon it. I cannot imagine living without the ACA.
Harmony in Kansas
I'm a single mom, raising two boys on a fairly meager salary since my divorce. Each of us takes monthly medication that we sincerely need to live quality lives. Without my medication, I would have uncontrollable seizures. With it, I can afford to work, drive, etc…effectively living a normal life, thanks to good meds and the ACA allowing me to purchase insurance at a reasonable rate for my current budget. Not to mention get generic meds at an affordable price. I genuinely don't know what I would do without it, and am so grateful to President Obama for enacting a program which would ensure health for all.
Tue Jun 20 2017
Alan in Kansas
My daughter was covered by my insurance after she left college until she turned 26. She received medical treatment with a big impact on her life during that time. She is currently covered under her boyfriend's insurance plan due to his company's extremely liberal benefit package, but this coverage would be gone should he change jobs. At that point without ACA coverage her pre-existing condition and life situation would make health insurance unaffordable.
Michelle in Kansas
I am widowed, & the mother of two very young children. We live on Social Security Survivor benefits to the tune of $730 a month. I am too poor to qualify for the ACA tax credit, but because of Sam Brownback's penny-pinching, I do not qualify for Medicaid. I am the sole caretaker for my children and am terrified about what could happen should I ever become seriously ill. Nobody should have to live this way, yet if the GOP has its way, millions will. You are in an almost ungodly position of power. You literally have people's lives balancing on the point of your pen. Please, consider the morality of that, and choose either to refine the ACA or expand Medicaid. We, the people you have sworn to serve, are watching you.
Carrie in Kansas
My initial injury, a bulging disk, happened when I was 17 and a senior in high school. When I was 18, the disk herniated. I had back surgery at 19. I felt like a new person. No more crawling to the bathroom every morning for a hot bath, which was the only way that I could stand upright in the morning. No more chronic pain that was present day and night.
In June 2003 I was days away from and being kicked off my parent's insurance when I re-injured my back. It took a bit of time to build up so I didn't realize how bad it would get. About a week after I turned 23, I was unable to be upright or bear weight with my legs for more than about 5 seconds without them shaking. The pain was unbearable. I only made $1000/month working with children with Autism and their families through my graduate program. But I signed up for health insurance anyway. I was prescribed Lortab which helped with the pain but zonked me out to where all I could do was sleep. I needed an MRI and cortisone injections to be able to function again.
The insurance I signed up for had a pre-existing condition clause. They denied payment for all the services related to my back injury. The costs ended up being around $8000 that I could not pay. I continued to call the hospital billing department and tell them that all I could send was about $10 at a time. After a few months, they sent me financial hardship paperwork and absolved my medical debt.
I got my Masters in Speech-Language Pathology in May 2004 and have been a pediatric speech-language since that time working mostly with children with special needs but specializing in Autism and visual impairment. I am a wife and a mother and depend on my healthcare to keep me on my feet, going to work and caring for my family.
Angela in Kansas
When I graduated college in 2006, I was no longer eligible for insurance under my mother's plan. I had $20k in student loan debt and no job. I found a few jobs teaching voice lessons and tutoring math and science. The money was inconsistent and I was constantly looking for other work. A COBRA plan to continue my old insurance cost $450/month. I made only slightly more than that per month and could not afford it. The cheapest plan I could find (providing very limited coverage) was over $250 a month. So I went without insurance.
One night I was making dinner. I was trying to remove an avocado pit with a knife – I missed, skimmed the pit, and the blade went right into my hand. I panicked. I wrapped my hand and drove to the nearest ER. But when I got there I remembered I had no insurance. I wondered if I should use the remaining credit on my credit card? Would this trip to the ER bankrupt me? So I left the ER and called an Ask-a-Nurse line instead. They told me I might have cut a nerve. I still have a scar, and for years my inner index finger tingled slightly.
I wish the ACA had existed then. I would have still been covered by my mom's insurance. I would not have been terrified that one simple mishap would set me back for years. It's something so simple that means so much in stability and dignity in the majority of American's lives.
Leslie in Kansas
Both my sister and her daughter are independent businesswomen, supporting themselves and their families, and strengthening their communities. As an independent, small-business owner for nearly 15 years and as a newly single parent, my sister relies on the ACA – her sole recourse for health insurance. With two chronic health conditions to manage, this coverage is her vital link to keeping healthy and retaining control over her busy professional life. My niece is just two years out of college; she started a good job working for a large multinational company where she was covered by a robust health insurance plan. But she was not happy. So, just last fall, she decided to pursue her dream of starting a fitness and nutrition consulting practice, while also competing in national bodybuilding events. The only way she could accomplish this was by being able to go on to her mother’s ACA insurance as a young adult under the age of 26. Thankfully, these strong women do not have any life threatening or difficult health challenges. They clearly illustrate however, that a vital ACA helps strong, independent citizens achieve their version of the American dream… healthy Americans working passionately and productively… contributing to and expanding our American economy. They are who you were elected to stand for and NOT simply overwrought, stale GOP ideology.
Emily in Kansas
My husband Steven and I are self-employed musicians. Steven taught high school orchestra in KCMO for 24 years until he retired in 2011, the year this photo was taken. We lost our employer-based insurance and were denied coverage through private carriers because of preexisting conditions. We had no coverage except catastrophic for 6 months until we qualified for PCIP, the interim coverage before the ACA market opened in late 2013. Just weeks after gaining coverage through PCIP, Steven had emergency gall bladder surgery. Later, he underwent two heart procedures. The ACA not only saved Steven's life, it saved us from bankruptcy. Years away from Medicare, we have no other option. Our HSA is not insurance. Improve the ACA — don't repeal it.
Patty in Kansas
I am 61, and in good health, insured through work. However, I have pre-existing conditions. Thanks to the ACA, underwriters can no longer ask intrusive questions about my health, or choose to hold my healthcare hostage by demanding that I pay a much higher premium.
The very rich have the means to pay higher rates, and the very poor qualify for public assistance. It is the middle class that is being decimated financially. We're too rich to get assistance, but too poor to keep up with cost increases across the board.
In the state of Kansas, we have one of the highest sales tax rates in the nation, high property taxes – and if healthcare rates rise, the middle class is faced with a zero-sum game of Russian roulette. When the price of a prescription doubles with no warning (which our Congress made possible), what bills can wait a month to be paid – gas or electric or water?
Did you know that high medical bills, together with high deductibles, is the biggest contributor to filing personal bankruptcy?
Please do not throw out the baby with the bathwater by repealing the ACA. Keep what is good, fix what needs to be fixed, and know that your constituents are waiting and watching to see what you value more – profits for insurance executives, or the quality of life you are creating for the citizens whom you represent.
Nancy in Kansas
I live in Overland Park and practice medicine at the University of Kansas Hospital. These are my own. Please reconsider repeal of the ACA without a plan to replace. Repeal of the ACA will directly impact my patients and pull the rug out from under them in terms their healthcare needs. Every single one of my patients has a preexisting condition. Removing the protections for not denying healthy insurance because of preexisting conditions afforded by the ACA will cause some of them to lose health insurance and not be able to afford the treatments they need. These treatments and medications are what allow many of the to have jobs and live independently.
Katie in Kansas
This is me and my two babies. I am a 31 year old grad student. I graduated with my undergraduate degree in 2009, during the recession, and applied at roughly 100 jobs before I was finally hired at one: a daycare, where I made $9 an hour. I eventually was able to move to another job that I loved, provided crucial services to families who were considered at risk for child abuse and/or neglect. I had insurance through my employer. Once I became pregnant with my second child in 2013, I quickly realized that the cost of daycare for my two children would be more than I was making at my job. I had wanted to go back to school to pursue my masters degree; frankly, I didn't have a choice because for my family to survive, I needed to make more money. In my field, that required a masters degree. I also had no other choice on timing because I couldn't afford childcare for my second baby. So, with a 2 year old and 4 month old, I scaled back to part-time at work and began a 3 year graduate program. I lost my insurance through my employer, but fortunately, was able to receive insurance through the marketplace. I am now in the third and final year of my graduate program and have used the marketplace all 3 of those years; without the ACA, there is no possible way that I would have been able to afford insurance while I went through the journey of returning to school. I am going to graduate with my Master of Social Work in May, and I will continue for many years to come to use my voice for all of the people in this country who need and deserve such vital programs such as the ACA.
Julie in Kansas
My grandson Tristin (now almost 12) and I on the first day he came to live with me in 2015. He had Medicare from MO but since he moved in with me in KS they revoked his insurance. I contacted the state of KS multiple times but because of the MO/KS issue we were denied support, insurance, and other assistance. Thanks to ACA on Jan 1 2017 I was able to afford medical and dental insurance for both of us. Please don't take this much needed insurance away from us. He needs dental work and braces, without my insurance I will be unable to provide what he needs. And, I will be caught up in the MO/KS loophole where neither state will help us.
Lauren in Kansas
At 15 I found out, during emergency surgery for a ruptured ovarian cyst, that I had a medical condition that could be treated with the birth control pill. After college, I worked for a nonprofit, a Domestic Violence Shelter, which didn't offer health insurance. I used Planned Parenthood and had to pay for my birth control out of pocket. ACA would have saved me thousands.
Inge in Kansas
This is me & my hubby of 25 years. He is retired & on Medicare, I am a entrepreneur & pay for my own insurance via BCBS (the only one left in Kansas since my home state did not sign on with ACA).
So with a monopoly in Kansas for healthcare my premium increased 50% for 2017.
Elizabeth in Kansas
I fear that repealing the ACA without a replacement plan will affect my access to birth control, along with millions of other women across the country who rely on it.
I also rely on the ACA to allow me to stay on my parents' coverage until age 26, because I am choosing to further my education so I can become a more productive member of society. Unfortunately, as a full time graduate school student with a limited budget, without my parents' coverage I will have few options for affordable health care.
Repealing the ACA without a more effective, replacement plan will affect millions of Americans, the very people you were sworn in to serve and protect. I pray that you make the responsible decision and vote to protect Americans.
Stacey in Kansas
This is a photo of me the day after I donated a kidney to a stranger, in June 2014. I made the decision to do this knowing that with the ACA in place, I could not be denied insurance due to a pre-existing condition in the future (a point that the hospital made to me more than once.) My donation gave a man more years with his children and grandchildren, and kickstarted a "pay it forward" chain of 6 more donations.
Having one kidney is a pre-existing condition. If the ACA is repealed, I may be denied health care in the future because of my deed. I knew the surgery was risky, but I did not know my risks included members of Congress voting directly against my future health care.
Thousands of people already die on the waiting lists every year for new kidneys. Without the ACA, even fewer people will be willing to be live donors. That's just one of the reasons I believe a repeal is callous and irresponsible.
Kendall in Kansas
My husband was laid off of Sprint before ACA came into being. We tried to get private insurance but we were denied because of preexisting conditions. My husband has well controlled Bi-polar and I have a non functioning thyroid and slightly high blood pressure. All of these conditions can be well and easily controlled with fairly cheap medicine but left untreated would eventually result in hospitalization for both of us. The problem was that we couldn't afford the doctors' visits and blood tests without insurance. Once we could sign up for ACA, we could pay for five months of insurance for the cost of one doctor's visit and blood test. Please GOP, think about the families that you swear to represent…all the families!
Todd in Kansas
My Name is Todd, I’m 46 years old and I’ve been married to my wife, Tracy for 27 years. I’m the father of 5 adult children aged 26 to 18. We live in Olathe, KS, A suburb of Kansas City. I’m also the COO and partial owner of a growing small business in Kansas City, KS called True North Outdoor. We are a commercial landscape maintenance and snow removal contractor. We have been growing our business at about 15-20% annually. We now employ about 40 people. In early February of 2016, My middle son, Matthew, age 19 at the time, started to suffer severe pain in his abdominal area. Following almost two months of tests, he was diagnosed with a rare disease called Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) with Ulcerative Colitis (UC). While colon diseases like Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis are bad enough, the PSC designation meant that he also would also likely experience the failure of his liver sometime during the next 10 years. Not only were we looking at a lifetime of chronic disease management, we were faced with trying to figure out how he would get insurance once he turned 27, now our fears have increased to wondering if he’ll even have coverage next year. We also have another problem. As a small business, our insurance rates are driven by a relatively small pool of people. Prior to the passage of the ACA, a single employee (or covered dependent.) suffering an chronic disease requiring expensive medication or surgery (like a liver transplant) could drive our premiums through the roof or worse yet, make our group uninsurable. The ACA put a ceiling on what rates carriers could charge us, ensuring that regardless of that type of scenario, we would be able to keep our employees and their loved ones covered. A few weeks ago, shortly after the passage of the house passed the AHCA, my son came into the living room and asked me with real fear “Are we going to be ok? Will you be able to keep up with the medical bills?”. I can’t tell you how hard it is to watch someone you love suffer from a debilitating illness. He went from an athletic 6-0” 185 teenager to a 145 lb skeleton in a year. It can be all consuming, but at least when you know that whatever happens, he will have access to the best medical options available, you have some peace. Now we go to bed each night wondering if our son will have healthcare coverage, if we’ll be able to afford it and if our company will be able to maintain healthcare insurability. In every way we have “played by the rules” and been good members of our community and helped build a thriving business yet this single disease could wipe out everything we’ve worked to build. That’s not the kind of America I want for my kids or anyone else who calls America their home.