Stories from Our Community: The Impact of the ACA

Illustration of 8 people each in their own square in a grid of cream and gray boxes in two rows and four columns. The group of people are diverse in age, race, disability, faith, and more and all are wearing green, yellow, black, and white clothes.

The ACA is vital to millions of people across the country, including the disability community. We asked people with disabilities in our community to share their stories of how the ACA has impacted their lives, and we have shared these stories below:

“As an amputee, the ACA has provided me with the medical treatment, rehabilitation, and mental health care needed to resume a productive life. I have purchased insurance through the CT Exchange since 2014. Without the protection from discrimination against pre-existing conditions provided by the ACA, I would not be able to afford the cost of my healthcare or my health insurance. Healthcare is a human right. Obamacare saved my life!” ~ Brenda

“I am visually impaired due to medical complications from a premature birth. Due to these unexpected circumstances, my family and I migrated to the United States in search for a better quality of life, better healthcare and other services. Throughout my early life, I needed extra care such as eye operations in hopes of recovering my vision. I fortunately do not have life-threatening health conditions that require essential medications, but need assistive devices like talking prescription readers to read medication [labels]. Any dosage mistakes can be life-threatening, especially for people with severe visual impairments if medical devices are inaccessible. There have been instances where I had to take medications at specific time intervals, including a brief course of steroid treatments and antibiotics for respiratory infections. Because of having a visual impairment, I need assistance with reading medication labels to ensure the right dose is taken. With the [Affordable Care Act], people who are visually impaired with preexisting conditions who depend on assistive healthcare management devices like talking prescription readers, talking glucose meters and other medical equipment and medications will have easier access. With the ACA, people with or without disabilities and those who don’t have preexisting conditions will be able to afford short term treatments and stay healthy longer.” ~ Priscilla

“I had to leave the workforce due to my disabilities. The only health care coverage option due to pre-existing conditions was to have my health care coverage come [through] the ACA. I got great care and coverage until I was eligible for Medicare. Access to the ACA was critical for me and my health.” ~ Marian

“The ACA provided my adult children with access to coverage and healthcare. Both have pre-existing conditions and one is still on our policy due to his age. This coverage has been critical to the health and welfare of our family.” ~ S

“I was seven when my doctor told me that if I wasn’t adopted by my family I [would have] been dead. [An] image that always flashes to my head when I think of the endless attacks on on my right to health care through the protections the ACA gives to me so I can obtain health care. It took [me] 7 years to get my undergraduate degree due to my complex congenial chronic medical disability. And I wouldn’t of been able to afford my tuition for my state school if I wasn’t able to stay on my parents health care plan. Now I am getting my masters part time while I am in treatment for my complex conditions that have caused me numerous major surgeries, require me to take multiple  medications and require specialized care from numerous doctors. I find out in the next three months if I will be getting more of my intestines removed (which will be my 8 surgery) or getting a tube to keep me alive. With such a prognosis I am not sure if I’ll be able to work my dream drop or even work full time at a job that will provide me with the quality insurance need. With the repeal of ACA I don’t know what my future will be. I am 27 and running out of time on cobra. And now in the next few months with the Supreme Court option I may losing the essential care I need to survive. My family and I won’t be able to afford my medical care if ACA is repealed. I am part time in graduate school and don’t qualify for the schools health coverage. And even if I went full time their plan would barely touch the complex needs I require in my health care. I am a hard working American who is trying to navigate the world with a chronic medical disability and I only stand a chance with the ADA. Without it, I will have to choose between being in massive debt or to cut back on treatments or flat out go without care, which both could cost me my life. ~ Reis

“I am a single mom. When I got a divorce I had been a homemaker and took care of the family so when I found myself on my own, without work or job skills and no support because I signed A prenuptial I needed the support of having the affordable cares act in place to get back on my feet. I can now afford health insurance but I could not have a couple of years ago. I would’ve been without health insurance entirely. During that time I found a melanoma on my face [and] I needed to have it removed. I believe that without the affordable cares act I might have died because I would not have been going to a doctor. There needs to be a system in place to help people get through tough times.” ~ Kirstin

“I have severe major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and ADHD. In August 2019, I was forced to quit my full-time job due to my mental health, thus losing my health insurance. COBRA was not an option, as it would have cost me upwards of $900 a month to keep my employer’s health plan. Instead, I applied for Medical Assistance via the State of Minnesota and was accepted – I was placed on a healthcare plan with a $0 monthly premium and $0 copays. I am still on Medical Assistance today, as I am still actively working out a care plan with my psychiatrist and therapist. I am doing much better today than when I quit my job in August 2019, and am planning on returning to [University]…The ACA is absolutely critical to me as my current psychiatric prescriptions total over $1800/month if I had to pay out of pocket (which I wouldn’t be able to afford) – and that isn’t even counting the cost of my bi-monthly psychotherapy appointments nor my monthly psychiatric appointment. Without Medical Assistance, I would not be able to afford the prescriptions that allow me to function like a normal human being; I would not be able to return to school, and I absolutely would not be able to return to the workforce due to my disabilities. Minnesota’s Medical Assistance program, made possible via the ACA, is supporting me as I work diligently toward entering the workforce in an in-demand field and once again becoming a productive member of society.” ~ Ana

“The ACA has meant greater and necessary access to Medicaid by the people who need it most. Some of my most beloved friends depend on Medicaid for life-sustaining services and supports that keep them in the community, fully participating alongside me. Right now, I rely on a healthcare plan purchased in a marketplace created by the ACA. The marketplace and the subsidies created by the ACA have created a [healthcare plan] that I could afford after having to leave a job with a terrible workplace environment and do freelance, contract work.” ~ Kathryn

“Before [the] ACA, I dared to use my insurance for an expensive test. Instead of being glad that the test was negative and they wouldn’t have to cover treatment, Blue Cross gutted my policy. They charged me for the PPO1000, but processed bills as if I had Hospitalization Only, therefore everything was ‘not a covered expense.’ The two departments each insisted they were doing it correctly and refused to speak directly to each other so they could tell me that I misunderstood what the other department told me.  For 5+ years, I paid about 1/3 of my income for insurance premiums, and then paid all my medical bills myself because Blue Cross wasn’t giving me the policy I was paying for.  They knew they could get away with it, because with pre-existing conditions I couldn’t get insurance elsewhere. The very first day that Obamacare made it possible for me to change insurance companies, I did, and AARP never gave me a bit of argument about any bill.” ~ Karen

“6 months after getting covered by ACA, I was diagnosed with rectal cancer.  I am a single parent. My daughter was 11 years old at the time. We have no family and at the time I was unemployed. Because of ACA my cancer treatment was covered and I survived. However, my treatment, left me permanently disabled, unable to sit. I spend majority of time laying on my side in bed.  I now have pre existing conditions. ACA helps with my ostomy supplies, my pain clinic appointments, my medicines. My daughter is now 20 years old and a junior in college. Thanks to ACA, she has medical coverage & is able to get regular medical care so she can stay healthy & avoid a similar fate as mine. If ACA is repealed, how will I get my ostomy supplies?  I cannot afford to pay for supplemental insurance to Medicare. SSDI is my only income. And who would cover me with pre existing conditions? ACA is vital to my family. Please do not take it away! ~ Elizabeth

“Without the protections of the ACA none of my family members would be able to obtain health insurance due to “pre-existing” conditions.  The enactment of the ACA assures us that we can not only obtain but maintain critical health insurance coverage.  Healthcare is a basic human right and just as needed as food and shelter. I am perplexed as to why there are some that see this differently and want to entirely dismantle this.  While it is not perfect (and what policy is?) it is far better than anything we have had previously.  If we dismantle this hundreds of thousands will be without affordable healthcare options and will then not be able to work.  As we have already lost more than 210,000 people to the pandemic we cannot afford to lose anymore of our workforce.  Myself and family members would be among those no longer able to work if we did not have healthcare coverage.” ~ Kristin

“I have several pre existing conditions that the ACA doesn’t penalize me for having.  I have excellent health insurance through the ACA.  I have all the specialty medical services that I could use and my prescriptions are at a price point that I can definitely afford. I love the ACA and I don’t want Judge Barrett to remove it because millions of Americans will then be without healthcare in the pandemic!” ~ Kecia

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