President Donald Trump signed an executive order to make it easier for Americans to purchase bare-bones health insurance plans that could circumvent ACA requirements. Those requirements include the mandate all health plans cover 10 essential health benefits: including maternity and newborn care, prescription drugs, and mental health and addiction treatment.
The action could be open to legal challenges. But this is the most recent step of many taken by President Trump to roll back the ACA since taking office in January: He halved the open enrollment period, greatly reduced the ACA outreach budget, and did not commit to making billions of dollars of payments to insurers, guaranteed under the ACA.
Where will these changes leave the millions of Americans who are in need of health care access? We want to hear from you. Has the ACA allowed you or your family to access health insurance? What is at stake for you if the Trump administration's exective order successfully stands? Tell us your story and we may feature it on the Sojourners site.
We Don't Need to Decide Between Paying for Groceries or a Doctor Visit
When I was 16, my father died from pneumonia. This was in 2005. He got sick on a Monday and couldn't pick us up for his scheduled days. On Saturday, I went to the hospital at 9 a.m. because my dad was sick; and at 3 p.m. that same day, a doctor came in and told us that he had died.
My father worked as a steel worker his whole life. He was a union president for most of my life. He fought to get education for his coworkers when the plant closed. He died because he couldn't afford to go to the doctor and pay the exam fees and subsequent medication regimen. He chose between paying his rent or the doctor and unfortunately he chose wrong.
My Year-Old Son with Brain Cancer Was Denied Insurance
ACA's Age Extension Helped My Son Avoid Overwhelming Student Debt
My son has been going to college for eight years because he was working full-time and only taking one or two classes per semester. With that plan he hoped to avoid graduating with overwhelming student debt.
It was the Affordable Care Act that kept him on our insurance until he was 26, but we were very anxious as that 26th birthday approached. He would no longer be eligible to be on our insurance and has a chronic health problem which he takes prescription medication for.
After hearing all the horror stories about the health care marketplace, you can imagine how relieved we were to find out that he qualified for insurance that was not only affordable but had great prescription medicine coverage.
The Affordable Care Act was just that for our family. Thank you!
I Worry How a Repeal Would Affect My Children
My daughter is a professional who has recently left employment with an organization and entered private practice. The ACA marketplace has allowed her to find an affordable health care plan which alleviates one worry during this transition.
In addition, the coverage for pre-existing conditions allows my son, who had two heart surgeries when younger, to carry coverage. I worry how a repeal would affect him.
My Son Has Been Clean for Almost 4 Years with Help of the ACA
ACA helped my son get sober. Our son got addicted to prescription opioids when he was a college freshman. Within a couple of years he became addicted to heroin. He was addicted to heroin for several years and went into a number of recovery centers. By the time he came out of the last detox/recovery facility, he was 26 and had to be dropped off our insurance policy. He succumbed to heroin again and this time he was on his own to get help. He wanted desperately to get clean. His life was a cauldron of misery. He finally found a clinic that enrolled him in their program that included detox, diet, therapy, massage, weekly drug tests, case management, and suboxone.
In order to afford this program, he had to have health insurance. He was working part-time as a waiter while going to school and he didn't have insurance. He was making too much to be on Medicaid. This state participated in Medicaid Expansion under ACA, so my son enrolled in the program. He was one of the many first-time enrollees. His coverage helped him stay in the recovery program. My son has been clean for almost 4 years with help from ACA. He graduated from university this past December!
Losing the ACA Would Leave Me With No Practical Options
I have a rare hereditary blood defect. My condition is life-threatening and the daily medication is very expensive, which is hard on our family's finances. Over the past 20 years obtaining health insurance has become increasingly difficult and stressful, a constant battle. The outcome has almost always resulted in outrageous fees or a complete denial of coverage. I am willing to pay a fair market share but when a provider demands more than my husband's salary, what am I to do? One of the reasons my husband took his present job was because I was covered under the company's health insurance. However, last year the cost to us to continue covering me through his workplace became prohibitive at almost $1,000/month. It was a great relief to us when the Affordable Care Act picked me up, providing me very good health care at an affordable price. The possibility of losing this valuable benefit is discouraging and frightening, as it leaves me with no practical options.
We Must Begin Somewhere
My son-in-law has juvenile diabetes, and he spent most of his late twenties without health insurance because of this pre-existing condition. He got his insulin by going to his doctor's office, where they would give him a handful of insulin samples. He also owed a lot of money to the company that provided his sites for his insulin pump and often used sites longer than he should have; they wanted payment on some of the outstanding balance before sending him the new sites.
He and my daughter visited me in San Diego to spend a few days at the beach. As the days passed, he felt worse and worse. Within four days he ended up in the local hospital with diabetic ketoacidosis. It turned out that the receptionist had given him the wrong samples, and the insulin he was using was only one-quarter of the insulin strength he was supposed to be taking.
I Would Go Bankrupt
I was rear-ended at high speed on a California freeway 25 years ago which injured my neck. A neurosurgeon recommended an operation, but I refused. Thanks to yoga and chiropractic, I've been relatively symptom free all these years. Yet under the old system, I tried and could not get individual insurance and went without for 7 or 8 years. I figured if I had a non-emergency, I would go to Thailand or India, and if I had an emergency, I would go bankrupt. This is not a choice I wish for anyone. People do no realize how easy it is to be in a similar situation. I am extremely grateful to have Obamacare.