One story of why we need the ACA

From J. Brown, Green Bay, WI

I would like to take a moment to tell you about something that happened in my life recently and how a government program helped my family in the months since.

In December my mother suffered an aneurysm at the pre-school where she worked in North Carolina. She was rushed to the nearest hospital and then airlifted to a top-tier hospital in Charlotte. The medical professionals there performed surgeries and procedures in order to decrease the amount of blood on the brain and decrease the swelling. They provided the highest level of care to her for the next 7 days until my father made the difficult decision to allow her to move on from this world.

I was able to be there when she passed away and had the opportunity to speak about her life at her memorial. So many people who knew her showed their love to me. My mother’s passing left a void in our family and in the community. I’m taking it one day at a time and holding on to the many good memories that I have of her.

As you can imagine, the costs of the medical care my mother received were very high. She didn’t have health insurance through the church that ran the pre-school where she worked. My father is a self-employed tile installer and never had health insurance through his business.

My father is a conservative Republican and my mother voted the same way he did even though she was a registered Democrat. Neither one of them wanted to get health insurance through the government program created by the Affordable Care Act, which is often referred to as Obamacare.

However, they signed up in late 2017 in order to avoid the penalty. They paid a total of about $2.50 per month for coverage. Their decision to get coverage through the government saved my family from financial ruin. The costs of my mother’s hospitalization would’ve been around $150,000 without insurance. Instead, my father has been billed around $2,900. Donations from family and friends will be able to cover most of that.

Our family is all too familiar with how medical bills can burden a family. In 1996, my mother had thyroid cancer, which she overcame. My father is still paying off the bills that came while my mother was in the hospital back then. Those bills made it difficult for my parents to pay the mortgage, buy vehicles, put gas in the car, pay for food, and cover the many expenses that families have. Sending me and siblings to college was out of the question because the money just wasn’t there. Those bills made all of our lives much more difficult and put a lot of stress on my parents.

Without the health insurance that my parents got because of the Affordable Care Act the rest of my father’s life would’ve been much more difficult. He could’ve lost everything or spent the rest of his life deeply in debt because of the medical bills. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act my father will be able to move into the next phase of his life without the crushing debt he would’ve had without insurance.

For that reason and many more I will continue to support progressive candidates and causes. The policies that we as Democrats fight to advance are important and worth fighting for because of how they help improve this country and the lives of Americans from coast to coast.