Affordable Care Act
For release to new sources.
T. Fox Dunham
I wrote this piece in support of the Affordable Care Act for the Joe Sestak campaign for Pennsylvania, and it was published by a major newspaper in the state. Joe didn't make it, but the words are true.
The Affordable Care Act saves lives. It requires work, but to repeal it would be a death sentence for millions of Americans including myself. Because of the ACA, the poor and sick no longer need live in fear.
The #ACA was a humanitarian breakthrough in equal healthcare. It removed restrictions that inflicted suffering and financial hardship on sick and poor families. The act ended discrimination against Americans with pre-existing conditions, which had become a death sentence. You can no longer exceed a lifetime annual coverage amount, which meant that once your healthcare cost x-amount, they could legally just leave you to die. The ACA keeps #Medicare solvent through 2030. When the act became law, the cost of healthcare dropped to its lowest rates in half a century. In 2014, the number of uninsured adults dropped for the first time. Fewer adults reported difficulties paying medical bills or had medical debt, or delayed medical care because of costs.
At 16, doctors diagnosed me with Lyme Disease. Two years later, surgeons removed a malignant tumor from below my ear, initiating a life-long battle with cancer. I need low medical costs to survive. I support Admiral Joe Sestak for Senate because he fights to protect the ACA, to protect me and my family. Joe will prevent the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. He got into this fight because of his daughter, Alex. Like Alex, I was given a small percent chance to live if I underwent intense chemotherapy and radiation that would leave me struggling with medical issues and disability for the rest of my life. In September, the cancer grew back in my neck. Surgeons cut it out. Now, my wife and I wait. We worry over healthcare. Without the ACA, debt would destroy our future, and I would become a second-class citizen. We wouldn’t be able to afford even basic medications.
Allow me to explain our medical system in the west. Healthcare comes down to three components: diagnosis, surgery and medication. Prescriptions are the foundation of treatment. Recently, I fought with my insurance company to get a medicine that would greatly ease my symptoms thus improving the quality of my life. After several attempts and switching brands, wasting my and my doctor’s time, we settled for an inferior version. If I had better healthcare, my symptoms would be treated, and I would be a healthier member of society, thus making the country stronger. Joe’s plan would permit Medicare to bargain with the drug companies, lowering prices, saving Medicare 123$ billion by 2023. He would lower the prohibitive costs of drugs for families by allowing people to import drugs from Canada, a practice that has already saved $400 per person in states that have had to wisdom not to punish their citizens with import restrictions. And finally, he would end a criminal practice by drug manufacturers. I would have been able to get those drugs if a generic brand was manufactured; however, drug companies are paying their competitors to hold off on producing generics. This is called ‘pay for delay’, costing consumers and taxpayers 3.5$ billion every year. CEOs like Frank Baldino of Cephalon are far more interested in “patent-protection” instead of “patient protection.” He generated 4 billion dollars in sales by paying off other competitors to keep generic forms of the sleep aid Provigil off the market. He, like most Big Pharma, profit from negligence and pain. It can’t continue. We need a change.
I don’t trust Pat Toomey with my family’s healthcare. Toomey voted in December for a plan to phase out the Medicaid expansion for low-income Americans. This would undercut healthcare for 430,000 vulnerable Americans: working families, the elderly, pregnant woman who are single-moms, low-income children as well as veterans. Toomey’s vote would have removed those Americans from protections against pre-existing condition discrimination and “lifetime limits” on cost of care. He even shut down the government to kill the ACA. As an American fighting cancer for the rest of my life, I cannot trust this man with my future and health. If he had been successful, I couldn’t have paid for the lifesaving surgery I needed in September, thus widowing my wife before we saw our first anniversary.
Obamacare is not perfect, but it’s the first viable solution presented in decades of debate and stalemate. The sick and poor don’t need to suffer. We are better than this. As a wealthy country, we have the chance to create a compassionate and great society. The ACA isn’t perfect. But less people die. Less people suffer. And the quality of life for poor families has improved. With study and adjustment made by the right people in office, it can work. We, the sick, no need longer be terrified of the future.