I just wrote the President a letter in honor of today being the first day of the ACA. This law and my new coverage is so personally meaningful and life-changing for me. I volunteered for my local OFA this summer helping to get information to the students at our local community college in honor of my father, myself and a late friend of mine. Here is my letter to our President:
Dear Mr. President:
Today, thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Americans can no longer be turned down for health insurance due to a pre-existing condition.
This law is personal to me and also in memory of my Dad, who went through his entire Cancer battle uninsured. He had just started working for a new company and was waiting the obligatory 3 months for his insurance to take effect. During that time he was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and, therefore, had a pre-existing condition and no coverage.
My Dad died in 1993 after a seven year, uninsured battle with cancer. But I know that he will rest easier on the other side, knowing that what happened to him can no longer happen to his daughter, thanks to the ACA.
Today I also remember my friend Giselle who died a few years after my father. She worked as an independent contractor and, therefore, couldn’t obtain employer-based insurance. She was young but still couldn’t afford the premiums on the private market so she did without insurance coverage, ignoring some minor symptoms because she couldn’t afford to go to the doctor uninsured. One night, something seemed terribly wrong and she went to the emergency room. They discovered late stage ovarian cancer and she passed away within a few weeks.
I am self-employed and have bought insurance on the private market for years now. Even with my excellent health, every year the coverage got more expensive and covered less. The only plan I could afford had a deductible so high I avoided going to the doctor except for my annual preventative check-ups. Even those appointments filled me with fear that the doctor would order a test that wasn’t covered, since my high deductible plan meant I would have to pay for it in full.
Today, January 1st, 2014, thanks to the ACA and Covered California, I have an insurance policy with a monthly premium that’s a fraction of what I was paying and co-pays that won’t keep me from going to the doctor. I can finally sleep easy at night knowing that if something doesn’t seem right, I can afford to go get it checked out.
Thank you, Mr. President and everyone in Congress who fought for this law’s passage and for continuing to work for its successful implementation.