The Affordable Care Act saved my life, TWICE. There are many stories out there that our representatives need to hear. PLEASE tell yours this week! Below is a rough draft of a letter I am sending to mine.
Dear Senator Toomey, Senator Casey & Representative Smucker,
I am a Pennsylvania voter and small business owner writing to implore you to NOT repeal the Affordable Care Act, specifically the “pre-existing conditions” elements.
My husband and I lived in worked in the Washington DC area for more than 15 years. We decided to sell our house and move to Pennsylvania in 2005 to open our own business. For the last 11 ½ years we have successfully built and operated Lancaster County’s only independent bookstore, serving not just Lancaster, but the surrounding areas that are without an independent retailer of new books. We invest not only every dime we make into the community but also all our time and energy. While the business is successful, it is not as profitable as to afford us luxury healthcare.
2006-2008 I was unable to find an insurer that would cover me due to what they called expensive “pre-existing “conditions. Those conditions were the fact that over 6 years I had had 3 surgeries due to losing 3 pregnancies. Nothing life threatening and nothing that would cost an insurer more than a few thousand dollars, IF I was still able to get pregnant. However, the last surgery tied my one tube and I would no longer be able to get pregnant, thus the “pre-existing condition” was no longer any condition.
In 2009, I was able to find ONE insurer that would take me (at that point it had been 3 years since the last lost pregnancy), and a high deductible on a very limited plan. We didn’t know how limited until I slipped and broke my shoulder. We went to the nearest hospital (as one is want to do in that situation). We didn’t know until the bill came that this hospital was not “in plan” and the insurance company refused to pay for any care relating to my shoulder. 8 years later we are still paying the ER bill and expect to still be paying it off in monthly payments for the next 8 years at least.
When the ACA bill passed, it was a relief to us. We went from $700/month insurance to $100/month. That difference meant we could afford groceries without having to charge them on credit cards. We could pay down some of the previous medical bills. And for the first time in 5 years get dental insurance.
Soon after we were covered I had to have a lifesaving hysterectomy. Without ACA, I have no doubt that I would have suffered much more for fear or medical bills; bills that we would still be paying off well into the 2020’s. Two years after that I had another life-saving surgery on my ovaries. Again, without ACA this would not have been possible, and I would have had zero chance of having insurance to alleviate the bills accrued. Now when I say “bills”, I’m not talking cancer treatment sized bills in the 100’s of thousands. I’m talking about 3-5 thousand dollars. A drop in the bucket to an insurance company, but 3 months of income for my entire family. Without ACA, my life and livelihood would have been in jeopardy those two times. I fear now, that with losing ACA they will be again.
I am the daughter of a 30-year Army veteran, who worked her way through two graduate programs, who owns her own successful business that serves the community in a variety of ways, who is raising a straight A student who wants to serve the world though studying science and the environment. Things that politician laud on the campaign trail. Yet, I would not be writing this today without the Affordable Care Act, which gives someone like me a chance at being healthy and not destitute. The ACA is a vital need for so many small business owners and their families. It is not something that just a few people use to abuse a system. It is not something that can be replaced with “savings accounts” for families like ours that live week to week on a small income. Letting the insurance companies dictate who is of value to be healthy and get healthcare speaks against everything our forefathers and mothers fought for before us. The first word in the famous Declaration of Independence phrase is LIFE. Something that hundreds of thousands could be denied with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Thank you for your time and consideration,