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Thursday, February 2, 2017

What Will Happen to All of Us with Life-Threatening Chronic Conditions?

This story was shared with us by Maryann H. of California. She is one of the millions of people who would be harmed if Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act without an equal replacement. Learn about the campaign to Protect Our Care.

I have late-stage ovarian cancer. Stage 3C. And the Affordable Care Act saved my life.  

The last few years haven’t been easy. I’ve been through two major surgeries, just a year apart. My first surgery is often referred to as “the mother of all surgeries.” Or to put it more bluntly, “gutted like a fish.” Each surgery was followed by six rounds of debilitating chemotherapy. Lost my hair, my eyelashes, my eyebrows, my white blood cells, and a fair amount of my dignity.  

But thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I did NOT lose my life. I did not lose my home.

Cancer is horrible. If you’ve never had to go through it, you can’t imagine what it does to you — physically, mentally, emotionally. The stress and scariness are unimaginable.  

But one thing I did not have to stress about: Health insurance. In 2014, I purchased a plan through Covered California. My plan has carried me through my treatments.

I was, and will always be, eternally grateful to President Obama and the lawmakers who passed the Affordable Care Act.  

Before the Affordable Care Act, I often put off important health screenings and didn’t always have annual checkups. My income is modest, and I worried about huge doctor bills.  

My cancer might have been caught much earlier if only, if only...

Well, I can’t change the past. But now I am beyond worried about the future. If the Affordable Care Act is in danger, if it goes away, if Trump succeeds in his goal of ripping away this safety net from those of us who need it most... what will happen to all of us with serious, life-threatening chronic conditions?

I have worked my entire life, from the time I was 17. I have always paid my bills on time. With the Affordable Care Act, I’m not looking for a handout. I just want access to affordable health insurance.  

Getting health care shouldn’t be a privilege reserved for those whose employers offer insurance. Our lives matter too.