Cat in KansasI 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 KansasMy 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 KansasMy 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 KansasMy 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 KansasI 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 KansasI 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 KansasBecause 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 KansasLast 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 KansasIn 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 KansasI 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 KansasMy 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 Kansas11 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 KansasI 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 KansasEvery single one of us (except the dog) have insurance through the ACA. My son has asthma and food allergies, that depending on how things turn out, could be considered pre-existing conditions.