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  1. Liz in Tennessee

    The ACA has allowed me to become self employed by providing affordable access to insurance coverage. Without it, one single accident or healthcare incident could make all of my hard work for nothing, wiping out what I've built for my family. Even in Tennessee where we don't have a lot of options, the ACA is better than what we had before, but it seems my senators here care more about their party than their constituents that they would even consider a repeal of the ACA without a viable replacement rather than working to fix the issues with the current bill (caused by lack of Republican care for those impacted).
  2. Amal in Tennessee

  3. I feel ridiculously lucky that the A.C.A. existed when I had my baby, and here’s why: My husband and I were both freelancers when I got pregnant and were on Obamacare in New York. When I was five months pregnant, we moved to Nashville for his job, which didn’t provide insurance. Because of the A.C.A., we were able to buy coverage, even though somehow pregnancy is considered a pre-existing condition. It could once again become the basis for an insurance company to reject you, or to increase your premiums, if the A.C.A. is repealed.

    Denying a pregnant woman insurance coverage can have far-reaching effects. She might stay in an unhealthy or abusive job to maintain coverage, or stay in an unhealthy or abusive marriage to maintain her husband’s coverage. A family might forgo a good opportunity to move for a better life for their child; after having the baby, a family might be saddled with debt.

    Republicans who are so concerned with saving the lives of unborn humans (after all, their bill guts Planned Parenthood, too) should show at least the same respect and care for the women who bring them into this world.
    — Amal Bouhabib, Nashville
  4. Phyllis in Tennessee

    We will all get old someday, God willing. Investing in health coverage for the elderly isn’t just the right thing for our parents, it’s the right thing for our future selves.

    My mom, Phyllis, was one of 14 children in Chicago, Illinois. Her parents separated, and her dad took half the kids while she and her mom moved with the other half of the kids to Tennessee. She had lead poisoning from when she was younger and that has really affected her health over the years. She has lived in poverty for her entire life but she has always done the best she could. She has been hospitalized and in nursing homes various times. Her health has gotten worse, and I knew she couldn't go home and live on her own. I love my mom and I want what's best for her. At the same time, it has been a lot on me trying to look out for her every need. There's no doubt in my mind that if she weren't in the nursing home, she would die on her own. With CHOICES, now I know she's taken care of at the nursing home.

    The process to get on TennCare was so confusing. I've had to wait a long time to reach actual people to talk to. I can see how someone who didn't have an advocate would fall through the cracks. I am incredulous that people could possibly assume that people on Medicaid are abusing the system when it is already so difficult to manage. If our representatives had ever been on the same health plans as our loved ones, I would wager that they would have a completely different perspective.

    I’m very concerned with the future of our country’s health care. Cuts to Medicaid funding are going to directly hurt people like my mom. It is inexcusable to do this to us.
  5. Phyllis in Tennessee

    We will all get old someday, God willing. Investing in health coverage for the elderly isn’t just the right thing for our parents, it’s the right thing for our future selves.

    My mom, Phyllis, was one of 14 children in Chicago, Illinois. Her parents separated, and her dad took half the kids while she and her mom moved with the other half of the kids to Tennessee. She had lead poisoning from when she was younger and that has really affected her health over the years. She has lived in poverty for her entire life but she has always done the best she could. She has been hospitalized and in nursing homes various times. Her health has gotten worse, and I knew she couldn't go home and live on her own. I love my mom and I want what's best for her. At the same time, it has been a lot on me trying to look out for her every need. There's no doubt in my mind that if she weren't in the nursing home, she would die on her own. With CHOICES, now I know she's taken care of at the nursing home.

    The process to get on TennCare was so confusing. I've had to wait a long time to reach actual people to talk to. I can see how someone who didn't have an advocate would fall through the cracks. I am incredulous that people could possibly assume that people on Medicaid are abusing the system when it is already so difficult to manage. If our representatives had ever been on the same health plans as our loved ones, I would wager that they would have a completely different perspective.

    I’m very concerned with the future of our country’s health care. Cuts to Medicaid funding are going to directly hurt people like my mom. It is inexcusable to do this to us.
  6. James in Tennessee

    My husband is a dynamic person. He has a background in music and health and education. He has traveled all over the world doing this. He taught music students in Metro Parks for 33 years. He retired from that. Once he was retired, he had his own band. He has entertained and played music for the mayor, for the governor, for a lot of people. He has shared his talents and abilities with a lot of people.

    When he retired, he started having some issues with his memory. We went to a neurologist and after some testing, they found an aneurysm near the center of his forehead. At this time, we were on Medicare and had secondary insurance. He needed surgery to take care of this, he had been traveling all over with his band.

    The surgery was successful, but within 12 hours, he had a stroke, a hemorrhagic bleed, and then full-blown Parkinson’s set in on his body. He stayed in the hospital for two months, sleeping. They sent him to rehab, and that's when the expenses were sky-high. We were able to make it at first because we have Medicare, BlueCross Blue Shield. After the first 100 days, Medicare wore off, and that's when everything started to get really rugged.

    Then someone told me about CHOICES. We've been here since August, and my prayer and my hope is that with CHOICES I can take him home by the end of May. It will help me get my house situated so I can have him at home. He can get physical and occupational therapy at home. That would cut the costs to have him at home.
    If it wasn't for CHOICES, I would have had to figure out some other way to pay someone. CHOICES has been a lifeline for me, it took a lot of the burden off. I still have financial woes and problems, but it relieved the pressure so that I can have him where he needs to be, to get the care he needs to get. Sometimes the burdens get heavy, but I try to keep on the bright side. By the grace of God, and with a little help along the way, we're still here.

    The repeal plan is so ridiculous and so cruel. I understand cuts, but why would you start with the babies and the old folks? These programs are lifelines. Without CHOICES stepping in, I don't know what I would have done to keep his health at the level he should be at. Medicare is good, but up to a point. I don't think I would have been financially able to keep him getting the care he needs without CHOICES.
  7. Joe in Tennessee

    My son, Joe, is bipolar and has learning disabilities that were a serious obstacle in school. He got married when he was about 25, and then had a son. Joe was working 3 jobs when he and his wife eventually separated. The divorce was extremely hard on his mental health. We helped raise Joe's son and he's a good kid.

    Six years ago, Joe had multiple heart attacks, bypass surgery, and a stroke. He was on CHOICES at one point and was in assisted living further away from us. It’s set up now so that his caretaker comes for three hours a day, seven days a week. She's more of a friend than a health aide. He seems to be fairly happy right now with this set up.

    Joe has frequently had to decide between groceries and medicine. If I was 20 years younger and healthy, I would have been able to help take care of him. It’s just not a possibility for me to do that at this point. If I get sicker, at least I know that he'll get taken care of somehow. That's my main concern at this point in my life: what's going to happen to Joe? He only has 30% of his heart function left and he is just 50 years old.

    Life is the most precious thing we have, and it should be protected. One way of protecting life is having this care. Even if life isn't 100%, God put them on this earth and they should be taken care of. Congress can talk all it wants about supposed entitlements, but I don’t see why our lives are being debated as some kind of privilege. You either believe we deserve to be sick and die, or you believe that we should be given our God given right to be alive; and that means having health coverage.
  8. Venice in Tennessee

    My aunt, Venice has cerebellar ataxia, a condition in which the cerebellum becomes inflamed or damaged. It's hereditary, so several people in our family suffer from it. Despite that, she goes out in the community a lot, especially church. Thankfully, because of her symptoms, she qualifies for the CHOICES program.

    Overall, CHOICES services have been a huge advantage for her. In particular, having assistance with meals is of immense importance. She also has a social worker come by and help her with medications and doctor’s appointments. It has really helped her disability. Healthcare is important because of the benefits.

    Being disabled, Venice can't do a lot of things on her own. Having someone to advocate for her, it takes a lot of stress off of me as a caregiver. Changes to Medicaid would really affect people. I've been shaking my head because I have no idea what people like my aunt are going to do. I don't know what the world is coming to.
    She loves talking with her CHOICES social worker. She had been suffering from depression and anxiety, but she is doing better now that she knows she has the help she needs.

    I don’t know how anybody could ever take away the care that Venice needs to keep her dignity. Congress must acknowledge people like my aunt exist and they must acknowledge that cutting Medicaid will hurt them.
  9. Emma in Tennessee

    My aunt, Emma, was born in 1928 and she worked as a waitress for most of her life. Eventually, she began to work in factories. She drove her car up until she was about 85.
    Approximately one year ago, she started having trouble walking. She's 88 years old now. Her physical deterioration got to a point where she was falling more often. It is so difficult to watch someone you are close to go through this degree of suffering.

    We got in touch with the AAAD and they sent out a caseworker. We experienced some serious delays. I'm exhausted, but I’m so glad that we have access to these services because they will greatly improve her quality of life. Hopefully, if we can get her an electric wheelchair, she'll be able to get out in the sunshine.
    It's been hard to get here, but TennCare is working for us. I think it's a good program.

    I absolutely do not want Medicaid funding cuts to happen. They don't need to snatch the program up as if it were a tablecloth under dishes. They need to slowly phase in changes. That would make the transition to a better healthcare plan more palatable. It wouldn't be as bad.
    My political affiliation is Republican, and I really do believe that both parties want the best. The issue is that they disagree on ways of getting to that ‘best’. It's just a mess right now. It's going to hurt when they start trying to ‘fix’ it, because those roots go deep now.
  10. Carla in Tennessee

    My mom is 73 years old, and she worked for Boeing Electronics for many years. It was factory-type work, and she had a high school education. She retired and started having strokes about 10 years ago. She could still walk and get around back then, but 7-8 months ago she had another stroke that left her unable to walk at all. She's totally wheelchair bound, blind in one eye, has blurred vision in the other eye, and she gets dizzy and can't transfer. She has fallen several times. She lives alone and was unable to care for herself, eventually had to go to a nursing home. Someone came to the nursing home to see if anyone would qualify for home-based services.

    My mom was really excited about going home. CHOICES allowed her to get a ramp and some modifications at home. Someone came to help with grocery shopping, pick up medicines, help her do housework, help her bathe. She doesn't have the money. She wouldn't be able to live at home without Medicaid services.

    There's no way that she would have been able to afford rehab services and be at the nursing home before without Medicaid. I can't imagine it being any harder for someone to get Medicaid than it is right now.
  11. Robert in Tennessee

    I am 59 years old and live with my wife and our two children in Middle Tennessee. I have always worked, but I don’t receive health coverage through my job. In early 2016, I began to experience pain, but I put off seeing a doctor because I was uninsured. In April 2016, my symptoms got so bad that I was forced to go to the hospital for an exam. I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. I applied for TennCare but the state never acted on the application.

    Without insurance, medical debt quickly overwhelmed our family, which only added to the pressure of dealing with a potentially fatal illness. In July, a hospital application counselor helped me submit a preliminary application to TennCare that qualified me for temporary coverage pending submission of a full application.

    TennCare terminated my temporary coverage in September, claiming that it had never received a full application as required. In November, I got help with following the paper trail, collecting documents from the hospital, TennCare, and the Federal Marketplace. After discovering the mistake that had been made, I received TennCare retroactive to April which eliminated $500,000 of medical debt and assured prospective coverage for my whole family.

    Over the course of this whole thing, I’ve learned a lot. I learned how important having health coverage is to be able to receive preventative care, before things get really expensive and scary. I’ve learned that Medicaid not only gives people access to care, but it takes financial devastation out of the diagnosis of a disease. Right now, the administration has the opportunity to send a message. Either they value the live of all Americans, or they value political power and wealth. Their choice will be clear in the votes they make.
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