Erin in IllinoisHad Medicaid not been an option available to my family, I would not have been able to continue pursuing higher education when my grandmother entered a skilled nursing facility and spent down all her savings on rehabilitative services following hemorrhaging caused by a brain aneurysm. I was raised by a single mother, who in turn was supported by my grandmother for much of my childhood. Unfortunately, my mother died of breast cancer in 2006, three years before my grandmother fell ill, and four years before the passage of the ACA. My mother was uninsured when her breast cancer was diagnosed at an advanced stage, and she refused treatments she feared would not only be painful, but also too costly. I wonder at times if ACA had been available to her, if she would have been diagnosed earlier, or in the very least, if she would have been spared the sort of life-and-death calculus that characterized the last months she spent visiting doctors and hearing from bill collections services.
My life course has been significantly affected by the availability of health care to members of my family, but I count myself among the lucky. At least my grandmother benefited from the existence of a safety net that not only saved and extended her life, but enriched her final years once she was placed in a quality senior living facility. She relearned basic skills such as how to speak and how to walk with minimal assistance, made new friends within her community, and reconnected with family members who could rest assured that she was provided with world class, round the clock assistance that we would never have been able to rival in a home care setting. If she had not qualified to Medicaid, I don't know how my family would have managed to provide her with the care she needed. In the meantime, I was able to finish my studies and find a stable, good paying job in downtown Chicago. I support myself and am in the process of starting my own family. I know in my heart, none of that would have been possible had I been in the position of having to care full time for my grandmother in her final years.
I hope that members of Congress will keep families like mine in mind as they move forward with health care reform. The proposed bills that have made their way through the House, and now the Senate, have carelessly promoted the decimation of many provisions and protections necessary for Americans seeking adequate coverage. I may not be a member of the political elite or the healthcare industry, but I pay taxes and I vote. American citizens such as me deserve to be a part of the conversation, and we are watching closely how well our voices are being heard by our elected representatives.
Jessica in IllinoisI'm a type 1 diabetic and I live with severe depression, so there has never been a moment in my life when I wasn't worried about healthcare. I took a 5th year in college because it allowed me to stay on my parents plan and was cheeper the cobra. A year latter I married my first husband a week before graduation so I could be put on his work insurance without a gap in coverage. I feel as if every decision I have made as an adult has been related to the question: will this impact my heath and health insurance? Obamacare allows people with chronic conditions to get the care they need to live productive lives without having to worry as much about coverage.
Sheila in IllinoisACA allowed us to start a new business in spite of the fact my husband was diagnosed in 1992 with hepatitis C after receiving a tainted blood transfusion in the '70s. We became "job creators" because we were finally able to get coverage for him outside of employer provided coverage. I have been self employed for 28 years but have gotten a job because at the age of 61 the fear of losing affordable healthcare at my age could ruin our finances. I have an opportunity to run for county office but can't even make that decision until the GOP decides to leave ACA alone. Time for single payer!
Nancy in IllinoisI am a psychologist in private practice. Although I see patients with means, I also see many indigent patients who rely on psychotherapy as a lifeline, and a whole range of patients in between. In my work as a cochair of the Psychotherapy Action Network, I am aware of the research that shows that dollars spent on psychotherapy are a wise investment from a personal, social, and economic standpoint. Yet nowhere is this point driven home more than in my day-to-day work with people. I confront, on a daily basis, the devastation that would occur in peoples lives if they lost their mental health coverage, lost the part of their mental health coverage that subsidizes psychotherapy, or lost their medical coverage entirely. A side note is that practitioners like me who treat people without funding and other social supports could not afford to practice without the AC and other insurance coverages . Our organization is working to raise consciousness on this issue, and anything we can do to add our voice to the chorus pointing out that the ACA repeal would be a huge blow to our country and its citizens we would be glad to undertake. Thanks for collecting peoples' stories, and for speaking out!
Virginia in IllinoisMy husband has had Preexisting conditions all his life. My employer-based coverage is a necessity, but we also want to move closer to our families. If the ACA is repealed, we'll be chained to my job, unable to take the risk of moving.
Debra in IllinoisOur older daughter is severely disabled. Essentially a pre-existing condition since birth. In 2014 I underwent treatment for Stage 3 inflammatory breast cancer. After Trump's election, I was horrified. Then i pulled myself together. If I can survive cancer, I can survive Trump. But will I be able to survive Trumpcare? If this becomes law, you may as well put my daughter and me on an ice floe and wave at us as we float away into oblivion. #breakouttheicefloes
The attached photo is one of me that was taken in between chemo sessions. I was pretending to flail. With Trumpcare, I really will flail. And then I will continue to fight.
Patrice in IllinoisLoss of Medicaid coverage would have severe consequences for my Sister who has Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a debilitating and devastating condition that she has lived with for 44 years. This condition makes it impossible to work. People with Schizophrenia must be on medication to reduce the severity of the symptoms that never really go away. If my Sister loses her Medicaid coverage when is very likely to become unstable and homeless. Medicaid is literally a lifesaver for this dear girl.
Mac in IllinoisMy youngest sister is developmentally disabled and relies on Medicaid for her care, as so many millions of Americans with disabilities do. My two other sisters, my partner, many of my friends were only able to purchase insurance for themselves because of the riles put forth in the ACA; my employer-provided insurance improved and now covers my birth control, well woman visits, and other preventative services that it once did not--all because of the ACA. To take us backwards would be devastating for millions of people. My friend Carlo, who was able to fight his leukemia without going broke thanks to the end of yearly/lifetime caps, would be fearful not just of a recurrence of cancer, but of bankruptcy coming with it.
I advocated for the passage of the ACA on Capitol Hill two weeks before it was voted on. It was the first advocacy victory I was ever personally involved in as part of my work as a nonprofit consultant, and the joy and sense of progress felt that day by myself, my compatriots, and millions of people around the country was palpable--and a vivid memory to this day. It was the first historical policy moment I had ever witnessed. Efforts to dismantle the law are not the first national shame I have experienced, but certainly some of the most cruel. Repealing the ACA will affect me the same way it will affect everyone else: people will die. They will die when they don't have to. And shame will become the defining characteristic of our country.
Rochelle in IllinoisI am a special education teacher in a suburb that borders the city of Chicago, and I live in the city of Chicago. My students and many of my neighbors depend on Medicaid not only for their healthcare, but also to provide the necessary services such as speech and social work in order to be successful in the classroom. One hundred percent of the students at my school are of low socioeconomic status, and qualify for free or reduced lunch. They also receive Medicaid. These cuts in Medicaid will devastate them in and out of the classroom. They are considered to be among the most vulnerable in our community, and I will not stand by and watch their opportunities to be successful in the classroom get taken away.
Janet in IllinoisI have a son who survived cancer and a daughter with Crohn's disease. My daughter's husband has Cystic Fibrosis. While all three now have insurance, under a repeal of the ACA, this could easily change. If they were denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions, the results could be disastrous. This is the next generation, with so much to offer to the world. Let them stay healthy and make the world a better place!
Kathryn in IllinoisMy 91-year-old father is a disabled WWII vet. He has been living in a nursing home for two years since he broke his hip. Cutting Medicaid would mean that after he has spend his *entire life savings* on his medical care, there would be no way to pay for his needed medical care. Each month, his nursing home costs over 2x as much as I make in a month. Like 65% of the older adults in nursing homes, he needs to depend on Medicaid, and TrumpCare would leave him with no where to live.
Elizabeth in IllinoisI am lucky (for now), in that I have coverage through my employer. That said, even I could be impacted if lifetime and annual benefits caps are put back in place. I have two family members undergoing cancer treatment right now, what happens to them? What if one of my children is diagnosed with an auto-immune disease, like my best friend's 5 year old daughter? That's a pre-existing condition that will haunt that child for the rest of her life (and there's no guarantee that she'll have coverage through an employer as an adult). She's in the hospital monthly, has injections at home weekly, takes multiple medications and undergoes regular physical therapy. What happens when she's no longer covered under her parents' plan? What if they lose coverage?
How can we let a bill that disproportionately impacts the elderly and poor, women and children, and people of color move through Congress at the behest of individuals who look nothing like these people and who are not keeping their best interest in mind? All this without proper discussion or debate? The answer is simple and disgusting. Everything is happening so quickly because if this bill were to see proper debate, it would die...just like the people who will die when their coverage is impacted when this bill passes. I know that sounds dramatic, and I fervently wish it were simply drama; but it's not - it's reality.
Patricia in IllinoisI have a preexisitng condition as I have Multiple Sclerosis. My treatment includes MRI's yearly and medications that cost nearly 60,000 dollars yearly. I am now in Medicare and Medicaid and would be left with no options as I am on disability and could afford no insurance and would likely end up in a nursing home though that might not be covered either. I would be crippled with no care available.
Jeffrey in IllinoisI have Multiple Sclerosis(MS), a progressive autoimmune disease that, if unmedicated, produces symptoms of increasing severity.
Every 48 hours I inject myself with prescription medication to prevent the disease from advancing. This medication costs $6,500 for a 4 week supply. A cost covered by my insurance. I worry that a repeal of the ACA would result in loosing my insurance. If that were to happen, MS would be considered a pre-existing condition, I would not qualify for this coverage and would be unable to afford my medication.
The ACA has allowed me to remain a productive wage earner supporting myself and my family. Please consider the personal and societal costs of repealing the ACA.
Affordable health care needs to provide affordable medications.
Nicole in IllinoisMy husband and I battled infertility for seven years before we had our son. It was through the process of IVF that we discovered my husband had Hepatitis C from blood transfusions he received during open heart surgery as a child. Shortly after our son was born, I became critically ill with a chronic, incurable fungal lung infection known as valley fever. Any one of those conditions is a pre-existing condition or would hit the average lifetime cap for insurance coverage very quickly. Combined? We could be bankrupt in under a year. We've done everything "right". We've had full time careers with healthcare our entire adult lives. We've saved. Put money into retirement accounts. Lived frugally. Sometimes the air we breathe or the hearts we're born with make us chronically ill, and no insurance companies or GOP health policy should have the right to force the choice between a home for our child or death.