Sara in MarylandI am a physician, and the ACA allows me to document better and more fully. I no longer need to worry that if a person is designated as for example having acne and they have a serious condition later, they will be denied insurance for a preexisting condition.
Sara in MarylandI am a physician. I have a patient with AIDS who is doing great on er HIV medications. No other medical problems. She works for a large company and enjoys her work but has not liked her bosses. She wants to leave and start her own consulting business and has been planning this for years. With the ACA, no problem -- her large company has insurance currently, and she can go on the individual marketplace. Without the ACA, she leaves her company, can't find affordable individual insurance, can't pay for her very expensive HIV medications, and is back in the hospital (or worse, i.e., dying) within months. She is not leaving her job.
Tracey in MarylandIn 2011, I began dialysis due to End Stage Kidney Disease.. Before dialysis, and well into it, I worked as a preschool teacher, a notoriously low-paying profession. In 2007, when I changed jobs, I lost my employer-based health insurance. After one year of COBRA, a local insurance person and good friend of ours told me about the Maryland State Health Insurance Plan. Through that plan, I was able to obtain quality, affordable insurance. When the ACA began, the MSHIP plan ended. In a meeting with a member of Howard County’s Health Dept. to figure out how to replace my insurance under the ACA, he told me that because of my end-stage kidney disease, I probably would qualify for Medicare. He was right. I also have a supplemental plan (Care First) and a drug plan (AARP), and my parents help pay the premiums for those. In 2015, I had to stop working because of exhaustion caused by dialysis. I then qualified for disability. In June 2016, I had a kidney transplant. Medicare will continue to insure me for three years after the transplant. Our hope is that by then, I will be back to work, but my biggest concern is that without the ACA, my pre-existing condition will prevent me from finding health insurance.What will I do then?
Debbie in New JerseyI am a 48-year-old woman with chronic health issues that require me to visit doctors every few weeks and take prescription medications. I suffer from chronic migraines, which would prevent me from working entirely were it not for the medications I take. I also have some herniated discs in my back, so I see an osteopath every few weeks for treatment so I can function without pain. I am self-employed and run two businesses. I purchase my coverage on the federal ACA exchange. Before the ACA, I had nowhere to buy affordable insurance coverage that would actually cover my health issues. Repealing the ACA will have a devastating impact on small businesses and the self-employed, especially those of us with health problems. I am terrified that I won't be able to afford coverage as I inch closer to the 50-64 age bracket. And if the ACA is repealed and there is no marketplace for me to purchase insurance, I will be forced to close my businesses.
Stephanie in MassachusettsI was born with hip dysplasia. I had surgery to correct it at 9 months old. At best, the issue was corrected to 85% of what a normal hip can do. In college, I had an active lifestyle and experienced lots of hip pain. I underwent four separate surgeries to fix cartilage that tore because of my dysplasia. That meant four sets of pre-op AND post-op MRIs or other scans, four sets of post-op hospital stays.
In 2012, I had a Periacetabular Osteotomy (PAO) to correct my dysplasia one last time. if it didn't work, I'd need a hip replacement. It was an invasive surgery with a long recovery: 1 week in the hospital post-op, multiple PT appointments, 4 months out of work (and on short-term disability), and many follow-up appointments with scans and tests.
I experienced a severe complication 1 month post-op which resulted in 2 separate ambulance rides, 2 sets of scans and ultrasounds (the issue wasn't properly diagnosed the first time), and emergency exploratory abdominal surgery. I almost died because of that complication. The incredible staff at Yale New Haven saved my life. After another hospital stay and more follow-ups, I recovered and underwent surgery one final time 7 months post-op to remove hardware installed during the PAO.
In just 27 years, my family and I racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. In recent years, insurance covered everything but my deductibles so ultimately, I paid less than $5k.
I'm honestly not sure what repeal of the ACA means for me, but I guarantee it'll make life harder for a lot of people. I was lucky to have insurance that covered my health issues. Under Trumpcare, I don't know that I could say the same. I'm guaranteed to be considered a pre-existing condition because of my dysplasia (though corrected, and without issue for five years now), and because the emergency surgery I had after the PAO was to remove an ovarian cyst that had hemorrhaged. They couldn't save my ovary, so I expect that complicates things if I ever decide to start a family. Trumpcare has vowed to increase premiums and lower coverage for pregnancies and maternity care. This will effect me even more so because of my reproductive complications.
Please, vote No on any bill that repeals the ACA. Save my care. Save care for millions of Americans.
Tegan in OhioIt would put me at risk of losing coverage because of a genetic pre-existing condition. Congenital dilated cardiomyopathy killed my grandfather, nearly killed my aunt, killed my sister, and nearly killed my brother. When my brother, a 12 year old at the time, needed a heart transplant, doctors told our parents that the insurance company could simply decide to not cover the procedure. They had buried a toddler just 4 years earlier, and they were faced with the possibility of losing another child. No family should face that kind of pain and fear.
We need to ensure that all Americans have access to care. You can't predict when you will get sick, or injured, and you can't predict when a dangerous genetic mutation may emerge in your family. How we treat our fellow Americans is a measure of who we are as a people.
Shirley in MassachusettsMy second daughter was born with liver disease -- biliaryatresia and congenital hepatic fibrosis -- which was diagnosed nine weeks after her birth and required surgeries and lots and lots of medications and rehabilitations. Pediatricians, cancer specialists, heart doctors and family physicians all agree that the House and the Senate bills on health care reform will make things worse, not better.
I request that the Senate Better Care Reconciliation Bill be amended to make sure that everyone across the country has coverage for congenital and pre-existing conditions that includes all ten essential services as defined in the Affordable Care Act, that annual premiums and deductibles not be increased more than the overall percentage of annual inflation, and that everyone who qualifies currently for Medicaid will not find that their coverage is reduced or eliminated.
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!
Leonore in New YorkI have Parkinson's for 18 years, and have Medicare Disability since 2008. I am 62 and the ACA allows me to have a preexisting condition and a team of excellent multiple doctors who treat my neurological symptoms, my GI symptoms, and my urological symptoms. Because I'm on Disability, my 24--year old disabled son who lives upstate has been able to obtain Medicaid to treat his health problems.
We'd both be in terrible trouble if we lost our coverage.
Joanna in CaliforniaMy name is Joanna and I am here to share the story of my daughter Jasmine Winning. I will start at the beginning of her life, three years ago, when she was just a tiny little fetus inside my belly.
I was four months pregnant, here at UCLA, meeting with the Director of the Heart Center, when I received the most devastating and heart wrenching news. I was told that my precious little unborn child had Hypoplastic-Left Heart and Heterotaxy. I was told that she has one of the most complex and deadly medical conditions around, and when she is born she will struggle with every breath to stay alive.
I was told that she would have half of a heart with many of her organs flipped in different positions scattered across her sweet and innocent body. And then in total and complete shock with tears streaming down my face, I knew just how serious this diagnosis really was when I was given three options on how to move forward. The first, to terminate the pregnancy. The second to do compassionate care and let her die in my arms at birth with no medical intervention. And the third, to do a series of three heart surgeries starting at birth with an eventual heart transplant one day. With these three options racing through my mind, I prayed for a decision. A decision in which my baby would not have to suffer. I knew I had all the love in the world to give her with a very supportive family, but questioned the financial ability and healthcare system needed to support such a medically complex child. I was quickly reminded of the recent Obamacare legislation that would give Jasmine a chance at life. One that is hopeful and compassionate, that protects innocent children like Jasmine from being denied medical care due to preexisting heart conditions, one that refuses to put a dollar sign on her life by imposing lifetime caps, and one that would ensure Essential Health Benefits needed to keep her alive throughout the course of her medically complex life.
When Jasmine was born she struggled to stay alive. She fought her way through two open heart surgeries and spent the first 5 months of her life in the hospital.
Thank goodness for no lifetime caps, since she has surpassed over $3 million in medical bills covered by insurance with one more heart surgery and an eventual heart transplant to go.
Thank goodness for no denial of care due to pre-existing conditions as the Heterotaxy has touched almost every single one of her organs that is managed by a cardiologist for her half a heart, a pulmonologist for her two left lungs and chronic lung damage, a gastroenterologist for eating issues and mal-rotated intestines, an immunologist for extra spleens and immune issues, and a urologist for kidney stones and abnormal renal veins.
And finally, thank goodness for Essential Health Benefits that allowed me to receive proper maternity care when Jasmine was in the womb, emergency services when Jasmine almost stopped breathing and her heart rate and oxygen saturation plummeted, hospitalizations due to fevers and cardiac issues, mental health benefits when I nearly lost my mind having to watch my child nearly die one hundred times for months at a time, the prescription drug coverage that covers Jasmine's four daily medications, the rehabilitative services that has allowed Jasmine to learn to crawl and walk after spending months in a hospital bed, laboratory services that check her blood to make sure each one of her complicated organs are working properly, and preventative and pediatric services that help manage her chronic and lifelong medical conditions.
I am sharing my story today as a plea to not steal these lifelong protections away from Jasmine that were promised to her when she was in the womb. Please do not tell my child and children like her that they are too expensive, not worthy of life any longer. Please know, this is a life and death fight for me and my daughter, and I will do everything in my power to protect her and to stand up for whatever is needed to keep her alive.
Kendall in OklahomaThe moment I finally realized what it meant to be poor and sick in America, I was sitting by myself in the cancer center an hour from my home. I had arrived early for my infusion that day, checked in and gotten that day’s hospital bracelet. Before I could be hooked up to an I.V., I was pulled into a side room, and told my insurance had declined my claim. Unless I could pay the $15,000 the single infusion would cost, I had to go home — without my medicine.
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Jennifer in Oklahoma
- My husband Chris is one of many ACA success stories in redstate Oklahoma.
January2006, age 29 at the time, Chris began working for a non-profit that offeredhealthcare benefits after a certain period of employment. A few months later, we went to the ERthinking he had appendicitis. Doctors quickly took him to surgery thinking thesame. After several hours, the surgeon(accompanied by a chaplain) said he removed a large tumor from Chris’ colon. Hewas on the brink of death with a rare, aggressive form of colon cancer. Removingthe tumor increased his chances for survival but the cancer was far too advancedfor traditional chemotherapy. The only courseof action at that point was to see an oncologist every month for CEA labs and acolonoscopy every 6 months until the oncologist determined he was out of dangerfor a recurrence. So we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best.
Between2006 and 2009, Chris tried to get health insurance but rejected due to cancerdiagnosis being a pre-existing condition. Once the ACA became law, because ofits protections for people with pre-existing conditions, my husband was able topurchase a BCBS policy through the federal exchange and continue seeing anoncologist for needed care. The premiumshave never cost more than $70. per month. In fact, the premium decreased to$0.00 by January of this year.
Neither the AHCA nor the BCRA offer him thesame—not even close.
Miraculously, Chris has not had a recurrence—so far. WithoutACA protections for pre-existing conditions, my husband will be forced (priced)out of the market. Given the highprobability for recurrence and increased costs impeding an early diagnosis ofrecurrence, survival is less likely for my husband. I cannot bear the thoughtof losing my love, my best friend, my world—my hero.
Mike in TexasI and my wife are uninsurable without the ACA. I take life-saving medications
Amanda in TexasMy 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.
Adele in MassachusettsI was diagnosed with Epilepsy at 18 years old. Beforehand, I was dealing with chronic depression which required high doses of anti-depressants that costed in the $35-&275 range. My mother is a single parent and I am currently 22, so we try our best to be able to afford my medications as well as her own. If the ACA repeal is put into action it is possible that we will no longer be able to afford our medicines and that I could fall into a deep depression that could possibly end in suicide. In addition, without my epilepsy medication I could struggle to find work as well as possibly pass away if the seizure is severe. If the ACA repeal is passed I will no longer be proud to be an American and will most likely move to Europe, where health care is guaranteed for all it's citizens--no matter the circumstance.
Helen in North CarolinaInsuring me through COBRA when my husband retired would have cost us a full third of our small, fixed income. The ACA provided not only assured access to health insurance for me, but insurance with a premium and an out-of-pocket maximum that fits with our budget. That insurance allows me to continue my treatments for my illnesses. Without my medications, I will be in extreme pain, will have more joints eroding to the point of being non-functional, and will be landing in the hospital multiple times a year for complications of Crohn's disease. Without the tax subsidy I get through the ACA, my insurance premiums plus the OOP max for my current plan would cost 80% of our income. Even worse, under the AHCA passed by the House, I have calculated that my current insurance premiums + OOP max will hit $28k+
by 2020 – more than our income!
All of our living expenses will have to be drawn from our retirement investments. We are fortunate to have those funds, but they too are limited. By the time I qualify for Medicare, our retirement funds and those of my siblings will be markedly reduced, even with us cutting other costs as much as we can. I'm lucky to have resources and to have a husband and siblings who are willing to do whatever is necessary to get care for me, but I will be faced with the decision to bankrupt the people who love me or go without treatment. If I have to return to the levels of pain and GI distress I've known in the past, suicide is the only answer even though it would deeply hurt those who love me. I just can't go through that again.