As you know, after hearing from millions of concerned Americans, the Senate has chosen to delay a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
I hope this will lead to a new approach — one where we can finally put aside partisan games and focus on real solutions for people struggling with the cost of health care. Repealing the Affordable Care Act is not a solution for those problems. In fact, it would make matters worse.
In Sacramento County alone, repeal would mean at least 93,000 people losing their health care. That includes 23,000 children.(1) Premiums for many popular California health plans would more than double.(2)
This is about real people — families who are working hard to make ends meet. It’s more important than ever for politicians in Washington to understand that.
That’s why I’ve been asking local residents to share their health care stories with me. I want my colleagues to see how repeal would harm the people I serve.
Here are just some of your stories — and please feel free to share yours if you haven’t already.
“When I lost my job 9 months pregnant with my first child, the ACA was the only affordable option available to me. During the incredibly stressful time of preparing for the baby, losing my only source of income, and trying to find healthcare, I was so thankful to have coverage through the ACA.
I am a college educated, tax paying, productive member of society…but sometimes, even when you plan ahead, life throws you a curveball and you find yourself in unpreventable circumstances. I know without the ACA, I probably would have incurred huge medical bills that I’d still be paying off.
My son just turned 2. I am back on my feet with a great job where I’ve been for the past year and a half. Life happens and we all face curveballs, but when it comes to healthcare, no one should go bankrupt.”
Nancy, Elk Grove:
“Without the ACA, I would have been without insurance for the year before I turned 65 and qualified for Medicare.
I am a self-employed writer, who had been buying insurance on the individual market for 30 years. As I aged I saw my insurance premiums go up and up until they became the single biggest expense in my budget. Then I saw my income drop by 60% during the financial crisis.
When at the age of 64, I was informed that my premium would go up another 25%, I simply couldn’t afford it. At that time my husband and I had begun helping our adult son, who is an opioid addict in recovery, to pay for his methadone program and for community college because he was making good progress on rebuilding his life. Because I was healthy and we couldn’t absorb the insurance increase, I decided to take the risk of going without insurance for the first time in my life.
Then the ACA “Covered California Exchange” came into being and I was able to get a Kaiser Permanente Plan with a tax-credit subsidy that bridged me to Medicare. I didn’t get sick or suffer an injury in that year, so my story isn’t a dramatic one that makes powerful telling in a hearing or a protest. But fortune could so easily have gone the other way. Thanks to ACA, I remained covered with a plan I could afford, we were able to help our son in recovery, and we had peace of mind.”
“I work for [a local home health and hospice provider]. We used to have patients who had no insurance, but needed home care. We took them as charity cases.
I recall a woman who had a terrible fracture to her leg, compound and comminuted, non-weight bearing post op x 6–8 weeks. She could only afford 2 visits because she had no coverage. It was a terrible feeling trying to cram everything she would need to know over the next 2 months into 2 visits.
That was before the ACA. The incidence of charity cases went way down after that. I cannot recall the last one because it has been so long since we had to accept someone without any insurance whatsoever.
Please keep our neighbors insured.”
I don’t want to go back to a time when too many of my patients were one catastrophe away from losing everything. As we continue this fight, you can be sure that my priority remains putting the needs of our community ahead of politics. That’s what Making Government Work for Sacramento County is all about.
Ami Bera, M.D.
Member of Congress