During our last big fight against TrumpCare, Indivisible Austin created ProtectOurCare.us, a mass story-banking project designed to put the human stories of those impacted by health policy front and center. The story bank was created with support from Children’s Defense Fund-Texas, Indivisible KC, the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS), and other groups.
Below are just a few excerpts from their many collected stories. These stories happen to come from constituents whose senators are still in play as Graham-Cassidy gets down to the wire.
Megan in Kansas
Eleven years ago, I had just turned 23 years old and was working as an account executive at a small public relations firm in Kansas City. After a year waitressing while the economy was in the tank, I had finally gotten a job in my career field. I was ecstatic! They didn’t have a company insurance policy, but they did pay us a significant stipend to get our own insurance independently. I was too old to be on my parents’ insurance, so I found a plan that was awful, but I could afford.
About two months into my job, I found out my boyfriend of four years and I were unexpectedly pregnant. But there was a problem. Pregnancy was considered a “preexisting condition” so my insurance dropped my coverage. Which was TOTALLY LEGAL. We researched how much it cost to have a baby without insurance and the panic was back.
I went to the only place I knew…Planned Parenthood. They gave me prenatal care when no one else would. Eventually, I found a local clinic that worked with many that either didn’t have insurance or were on government aid, and they helped me give birth to this beautiful human.
Under the Affordable Care Act, this wouldn’t happen. Pregnancy wouldn’t have been a preexisting condition. I could’ve still been on my parents’ insurance. I would have had more private options and the ability to shop for the coverage I needed. In fact, I used the ACA when I first started my photography business because my husband’s work insurance didn’t cover me (until then I had my own coverage through my corporate job). I believe in the ACA. I am so grateful, and I think it would be a huge tragedy to repeal something that not only has changed my life personally, but has helped so many of my friends and family members. I also strongly condemn the current talk of cutting funding to Planned Parenthood. I have them to thank for this beautiful baby, and the amazing girl she has become.
See Megan and other Kansans’ stories here.
Tegan in Ohio
Graham-Cassidy would put me at risk of losing coverage because of a genetic pre-existing condition. Congenital dilated cardiomyopathy killed my grandfather, nearly killed my aunt, killed my sister, and nearly killed my brother. When my brother, a 12-year-old at the time, needed a heart transplant, doctors told our parents that the insurance company could simply decide to not cover the procedure. They had buried a toddler just 4 years earlier, and they were faced with the possibility of losing another child. No family should face that kind of pain and fear.
We need to ensure that all Americans have access to care. You can’t predict when you will get sick, or injured, and you can’t predict when a dangerous genetic mutation may emerge in your family. How we treat our fellow Americans is a measure of who we are as a people.
See Tegan and other Ohioans’ stories here.
Amal in Tennessee
I feel ridiculously lucky that the A.C.A. existed when I had my baby, and here’s why: My husband and I were both freelancers when I got pregnant and were on Obamacare in New York. When I was five months pregnant, we moved to Nashville for his job, which didn’t provide insurance. Because of the A.C.A., we were able to buy coverage, even though somehow pregnancy is considered a pre-existing condition. It could once again become the basis for an insurance company to reject you, or to increase your premiums, if the A.C.A. is repealed.
Denying a pregnant woman insurance coverage can have far-reaching effects. She might stay in an unhealthy or abusive job to maintain coverage, or stay in an unhealthy or abusive marriage to maintain her husband’s coverage. A family might forgo a good opportunity to move for a better life for their child; after having the baby, a family might be saddled with debt.
Republicans who are so concerned with saving the lives of unborn humans (after all, their bill guts Planned Parenthood, too) should show at least the same respect and care for the women who bring them into this world.
— Amal Bouhabib, Nashville
See Amal and other Tennesseans’ stories here.