"We are one of the many lucky families whose income is just high enough to not qualify for Medicaid; when we had private health insurance, it was a third of our total income every month.
It sucked up so much money, we could never afford the co-pay for a visit; an emergency tooth extraction left us short on rent because our insurance was more than our house payment.
Now I and my children are uninsured, and my wife only has insurance because it is free for her with her job. ACA coverage is our only hope now; and with users like Governor Perry deliberately sabotaging the delivery of those services, we're not even sure we'll be able to use that if the time comes.
Now is not the time to slow down; now is the time to step on the gas. Run roughshod over these obstructionist tools of the Corporate Machine, and let the will of the people come first for a change!"
"As a senior citizen on a fixed income, if the Affordable Care Act was repealed, my prescription costs would sharply increase at a time in my life when it would be impossible for me to increase my income enough to absorb the increased costs. Thank God for Social Security and Medicare! And now, I thank God for Obamacare!
Thank you for the opportunity weigh in on this critical issue."
Raleigh, North Carolina
High health insurance premiums define my life. While my friends are buying cars, first homes and engagement rings, I am dealing with the reality that at 27 years old, I am facing health insurance premiums that demand more than half my take-home pay. As someone who has an autoimmune condition, living without health insurance – even for one day – isn't an option for me.
I frequently hear pundits argue about how detrimental the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to my generation. I respectfully disagree. To increase a young, healthy person's individual premiums $100-$200 is an inconvenience. To put it bluntly, it sucks. But to reduce a young, chronically-ill person's premiums $500-$1000 is nothing short of life-changing.
To say the ACA will change my life is not hyperbole. I will still be paying more than most people my age who don't require "platinum" coverage, but I am looking at a 70% drop in my monthly premiums.
I realize that many Americas are jaded by our health care reform. Perhaps some are worried the ACA will be repealed, while others are annoyed that their premiums are about to double or triple overnight.
If you are in the latter category, I envy you.
I envy your dissatisfaction about rising health care costs. Your frustration over higher premiums means your life doesn't currently – nor likely has it ever – revolved around doctors' visits. It means you've never had the realization that you must choose between rent or health insurance, because you can't afford to pay for both. It means you've never had to make a career decision based upon health, rather than aspirations or dreams.
The ACA means something very different to me. It means that for the first time in my adult life, my health will no longer define me.
That, in and of itself, is priceless.
"I am self-employed and I have a pre-existing condition, so I could not get insurance on the individual market until now. I was able to buy insurance as a small business, but the premiums went up dramatically year after year. Under the ACA I will save hundreds of dollars each month and have a lower deductible than I had previously."
Exeter, New Hampshire
"I was covered during 2012 and 2013 by the PCIP (Pre-Existing Insurance Plan) after being denied coverage by major health insurance companies. Applying for PCIP required that I be uninsured for 6 months, which was a harrowing experience. Knowing that many people have gone years without coverage is all the more frightening. The ACA is a sensible first step toward reforming health care."
New Orleans, Louisiana
"I am terminally ill. I lost my Medicaid two years ago, and cannot afford to go to the doctor. I get my medication from pharma company programs. I have several health issues: lung nodules, emphysema and tumors, among other problems. I only want to spend the time I have left without worrying about health care. Thank you President Obama for your effort to help, God bless you!"
"Two of my children were able to be covered on their father's insurance while in college and after. I am divorced and unemployed with individual insurance. My premiums have doubled in just a few years and even though my plan has been grandfathered, I still cannot afford the high premiums. I have started the application in the exchange by phone and expect to get a subsidy to pay for insurance beginning in 2013. If the law is repealed my son will be uninsured and I will have to pay premiums that I can no longer afford."
Elkins Park, Pennsylvania
"After losing our Kaiser memberships, we worried a lot about what would happen if either one of us were to develop a serious medical condition. Now, thanks to Covered California, the health exchange created in California in response to the Affordable Care Act, we no longer have to worry about being ruined physically and financially by a serious health issue. Beginning on January 1, 2014, we will once again be members of Kaiser Permanente. We enrolled in a Bronze 60 plan that will cost us only $2 a month."
Kevin and Julie Mims
"I have a pre-existing condition. I signed up for coverage on HealthCare.gov and I got a health care rebate. I would not be able to afford health insurance without it."
"I am currently insured through Minnesota's MinnesotaCare or UCare, a state-sponsored insurance. It will be switched to MNCare with the Affordable Care Act.
Our income currently qualifies us to receive state health insurance, but with the Affordable Care Act I can now grow my business and not worry about losing our health insurance or being unable to afford new insurance while my business grows! I can contribute to the economy, pay taxes, and buy my own insurance because I am no longer caught in the 'poverty trap' and need to stay poor enough to qualify for assistance. Thank you, President Obama, for finally changing a broken system."
St. Paul, Minnesota
"Last year, I went on Social Security Disability after working 30 years in the nonprofit sector. I had decent health care insurance for me and my daughter. When my income was reduced substantially by Social Security Disability, I still made too much money to qualify for Medicaid for my daughter. The waiting period for Medicare for me is 24 months, so I am not scheduled to enroll in Medicare until September 2014. My daughter was approved for Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+), but I remain uninsured but receive care at the University Of Hospital under their indigent care plan.
My daughter was disenrolled for CHP+ in April 2013 because I happened to make an extra $400 one month. She was finally re-enrolled in October 2013. This was a major hardship for us because my daughter has severe asthma, bipolar disorder, and a host of other anxiety and mood disorders. Additionally, she takes medications, one of which costs over $700 for one month's supply!
I have multiple medical issues, hence I am disabled. I have diabetes with complications such as neuropathy, chronic kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis, sleep apnea, rotator cuff syndrome, and depression. I take insulin as well as 12 other oral medications.
Without President Obama's Affordable Health Care Plan, both me and my daughter would surely DIE. I don't mean to be quite so blunt, but that is simply the truth. Without our medications and proper care, we would, perhaps, live just a few days."
Diane Mourning Brown
"Our three adult children have benefitted from the extension of coverage until age 26. Returning to the old system of dropping adult children at age 22 would result in our youngest child being dropped. This would be a hardship."
"My family would go back to our overpriced policy where we would be paying $1000 more every month."
Chimayo, New Mexico
"I have saved $350 this year because I don't have to pay co-pays for preventative tests and shots because of ObamaCare's rules that affect my Medicare. My 40 year old son, who lost his job and insurance now can get decent and affordable insurance again that will cover his pre-existing conditions."
San Tan Valley, Arizona
"I recently and unexpectedly lost my job through no fault of my own. Come January 19, I lose my family's healthcare coverage.
I spend my days looking for work and hope to find a comparable position before January 19th. I am sure I can find paying work, and I am more than willing to take two or even three jobs to support my family. But the healthcare coverage is another matter.
I probably could not afford to do COBRA for 18 months at about $1,100 per month. I hope to be able to go to the marketplace and buy more affordable coverage if that becomes necessary.
We are all one accident, one illness away from financial disaster. I cannot bear the thought of a family member needing medical attention that I cannot afford. I've worked in hospitals, and I know what uninsured patients endure--the endless forms, the interviews, the embarrassment, the looks from some of the staff.
Losing my income is bad enough; but that, I can work around. The healthcare coverage is almost irreplaceable. Without the ACA, I would have no options to secure affordable healthcare. I want to be a responsible individual and parent. The ACA will help me do that."
"I am a contractor and I am on COBRA. I have a pre-existing condition and can't get my own policy until ACA takes effect. I tried and was turned down because I take Lipitor and see a chiropractor."
"I had my insurance cancelled by Blue Cross Blue Shield when I moved from California to South Carolina. They said it was because it was a different company and would not honor my transfer papers from California. I was tricked into reapplying when the transfer kept coming back. The man who told me to reapply was never available to speak to after that! I spent close to three years trying to get insurance again."
Beaufort, South Carolina
"Due to circumstances beyond my control, I have not had health insurance for more than 17 years. Individual policies were prohibitively expensive and unreliable. Finally, on January 1, I will have health insurance thanks to the ACA. Without the ACA, if I were afflicted with a serious illness, I would have to choose between destitution and death. The ACA puts human life ahead of money, money, money."
"Our son who turns 26 tomorrow has a pre-existing condition (thyroid cancer, 2 years ago). Fortunately, we were able to keep him on our insurance until he turns 26. We signed him up for a Blue Cross insurance plan to start for him on January 1st. He would not have been able to get this insurance with his pre-existing condition. We are paying for this until he can find a job, he just graduated from college."
"I am a physician in N.C. I have a pre-existing disorder that has always made obtaining insurance nearly impossible. After I had a stroke, BCBS labeled me 'uninsurable' and then offered to write me a policy for a great deal of money. I explained that I would do better 'to put the money in the bank and hope for the best.'"
Dr. Steven Bentley
Boone, North Carolina
"It would devastate me. With pre-existing conditions, I pay as much as $555 a month and looking at plans this morning I could pay as little as $48."
"My adult daughter had a colectomy (removal of her colon, anus, rectum) due to severe untreatable ulcerative colitis. The surgery was 8 years ago. Other than having a couple of problems with pouchitis, she has done well with no more further surgeries necessary. She was recently divorced, and as a single mother of 2 little girls, she is faced with being uninsurable. She applied for insurance coverage under the UW insurance plan and was denied due to a pre-existing condition. If Obamacare was repealed, she would have no hope of being insured."
"For the first time ever, my insurance (through my wife's former employer's group policy) will cost less. It's down 15% for 2014 compared with 2013. It had about doubled between 2008 and 2012. I attribute this to the ACA requirement that insurers take no more than 15% of their premium revenues for overhead and profit. Bravo, ACA!!"
"I am a family law attorney. One of the most frightening aspects of divorce is losing one's health coverage. Some people stay with abusive partners because they simply cannot lose the coverage for medical conditions. Now the Affordable Care Act provides a new option. I have a number of clients who were literally crying with relief when they were able to sign up for coverage and no longer have to depend on an abusive spouse."
Voorhees, New Jersey
"My Experience with the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) I am one of the many Americans who buy their insurance in the individual marketplace. I currently have a high deductible plan, which is one of the plans that will not meet the minimum requirements of the new law, so my old plan is being phased out. With the changes in the law that have been implemented, I have already benefited from Obamacare. Before the law changed and health insurance policies were required to cover preventative screenings, I had put off getting a colonoscopy because I would have had to pay for the entire amount myself (the $3000 cost being less than my deductible). My family history for colon cancer is downright scary. My father and both of his parents had colon cancer. My father was diagnosed at age 45 and died 4 years later from the disease after 'living' with several surgeries, radiation treatment and chemotherapy during his last years. His mother lived into her 80's before succumbing to the disease and his father died of other causes in his 50's before the colon cancer could get him. In the years leading up to and past the age that my father was diagnosed and died of colon cancer, I had a nagging fear that the disease would visit me also. Finally, in my later 50's, the ACA changed what my policy was required to cover and I scheduled my test since my insurance company was now required to pick up the tab. Years of stress melted in relief when I saw the photos of my healthy, pink colon after my test. The peace of mind I was able to experience because of the new law is more valuable even than the money I was able to save. I recently found out through coveroregon.com that I qualify for a substantial subsidy toward my health insurance premiums under the new law. So although my current plan is being phased out, I have the choice of upgrading my plan and keeping my premiums about the same or paying even less, or signing up for a similar (but better) plan to the one I currently have and paying much less than I have been. I am sure there are hundreds of thousands, and probably eventually millions of stories similar to mine. I understand that there are a small percentage of people who will end up paying more for health insurance, but almost all of them are so well off that they do not qualify for government subsidies. Most of these people can afford to pay a bit more. There is a lot of noise from the people who want to kill, stop, impede and otherwise throw a monkey wrench into what is being called Obamacare. The true source of this noise is not anyone who actually cares about helping people; it is about protecting power and money. Too bad the press has been giving this B.S. so much airtime. If I had my way, there would be universal health care for everyone, but the political climate makes that impossible right now. I think the Affordable Care Act is probably about as much improvement to our broken health care system as we could have hoped for right now."
"Falling through all the cracks? Yes, unless Obamacare can help.
My son, who is 48, was born in 1965 with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. At first his father and I were told just to let him die, but new surgical advances saved his brain and his legs, so that he could walk despite difficulties and develop normal intelligence. As was true of most such children, he was born incontinent. He later had surgery to install a urostomy. Despite the difficulties, he not only completed his education, he even got a prestigious scholarship and earned a Ph.D in a humanities field. He had difficulty getting a tenure track job, but did get appointments as an adjunct and was starting out on the rocky path to finding a good position.
That is where the good news ends. With age and inactivity because of his difficulty in walking and because of weight gain, he developed diabetes. Seven years ago, he had to be hospitalized for foot surgery because of gangrene, and nearly lost his foot. Later the other foot had to have the same treatment. He now gets around only with the aid of a walker or wheelchair and has to have home health care almost daily to change the dressings on his foot. The urostomy problem has gotten worse. Even if the feet got well, allowing him to stand, he would have great difficulty getting around at all, much less going regularly to any sort of job. He has also developed atrial fibrillation, and he has contracted MRSA somehow during one of his many hospitalizations.
He did not work enough quarters after finishing his degree to qualify for Social Security disability status. The foot problem developed, actually, when he was one quarter short of the required time. His stepfather and I (his father died when he was a child) have since that time supported him entirely and paid all his extremely expensive medical bills and home nursing care. He is also not eligible for any sort of Medicaid, at least not where we live, in Georgia. My husband and I file jointly, and do not claim him as a dependent, since he does not live with us. We pay for his apartment (he needs the space for his books and equipment, and we live in a two story house.) If my son had never worked, he could qualify for disability under my Social Security; but since he did work for some time, that door is also closed. Thus, as far as subsidy for health care is concerned, he has fallen through all the cracks.
The only ray of hope is that, because of Obamacare, we might at least be able to purchase a regular policy for him, even at a very high premium because of his multiple pre-existing conditions. That would at least somewhat alleviate the drain on our finances from his frequent hospitalizations. I might add that we have both been retired for nearly ten years. Fortunately for us, there are resources through investments; but they are not limitless. We just hope that our own health holds; I am nearly 79, and in good health; my husband is 73 and has numerous health problems stemming from an old automobile accident he had in the 1980's. We are apprehensive about the future, to say the least. All we want is to be able to pay our own way; we do not ask for a government 'handout.'"
"We could no longer afford the premiums on our health insurance through my husband's job. The premiums took half of his paycheck each week, leaving us with little money for groceries. He works for a small business and when they changed insurers in December, I could not get insurance because I would not release my medical records, which I knew wouldn't be needed through Healthcare.gov. and wouldn't be required after Jan. 1st. We just got our new policy through Healthcare.gov and I'm so happy because it's a better plan and we can afford it with the help of our rebate. If I lose this insurance through a repeal of the ACA, I don't know what I will do. I am so grateful for the preventive care and the fact that I cannot be denied or overcharged insurance because of pre-existing conditions. I resent the GOP for trying to hurt us by taking away our basic needs for health insurance."
"I am so excited and thankful for The Affordable Care Act. We are a middle class family - yes, that's right - middle class - and farmers who, up until now, have paid cash for our individual and family plan. Every year we have watched our premiums go up and our benefits decrease. Thanks to ACA, my children are now covered under Washington Apple care - for a small premium that I don't mind paying, and my husband and I are signing up for a better plan at a slightly lower rate. Like all Americans, we don't mind paying our share for health insurance, and now thanks to President Obama and the ACA, we feel that the amount we will be paying is a good deal for the coverage we will be receiving. So, here is what I have to say to the Republicans who want to take that savings away. We are farmers - FARMERS - you know - your so-called base, and you lost us on this issue - as well as soooo many others!"
"I am a 58 year old widow whose late husband's insurance coverage for me expired one year after he died. I have had cervical neck fusion surgery, and to continue his insurance coverage I would have to pay COBRA $1200 per month. I am very thankful for the Affordable Care Act."
"If the Affordable Care Act did not exist, I would probably hit my insurer's 'Lifetime Limit.' For them, the phrase might be a financial expression. To me, hearing that would be a death sentence.
When any of my friends or acquaintances tell me they want to see the ACA repealed, I ask them if they want me to die. That usually stops the conversation..."
"Due to the time I spent with one employer, my wife and I have healthcare for life. So at 67 and 66 and retired we do not have a problem. However, our 35 year old daughter who was in a terrible automobile accident almost 13 years ago and has preexisting conditions, has been struggling to find healthcare that she can afford. For a while, she had questionable care through the county health. However, once she found a position that pays $18 an hour she was dropped from the county plan and could not afford the $600 she was quoted for the cheapest policy. I will fight before I let that be taken from her."
"My husband and I run a small green construction business designing and building natural, non-toxic homes. Because of pre-existing conditions, our insurance premiums were quite high ($1300/month).
When the economy tanked and the construction industry was hit hard, we really struggled. So far this year, about half of our gross income has gone to pay our health insurance premiums. I went on the ACA website and found a plan that is better than the one we have, with the same provider (who we like) and will cost about $400 less per month without the subsidy. We currently qualify for the subsidy (which I hope will change as the economy recovers), so we stand to save about $1000 per month. This saving will help our company grow and might allow us to be able to hire our first employee this year. We've always wanted to be green job creators and the affordable healthcare we have signed up for through Covered CA might make that possible.
My family and my business are counting on the ACA to make it through these hard times and to grow."
San Diego, California