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Why Repealing Obamacare Without a Replacement Will Hurt American Families Like Mine

Stephen Hackett
Jan 12, 2017 · 3 min read

There are two things you should know about me:

  1. In 2009, my wife and I had our first child diagnosed with brain cancer at just six months of age.
  2. In 2014, I started my own business.

I’ll never forget the day we were told our baby had a brain tumor. It was Mother’s Day weekend. We went from being a new family to being parents of a child who was very, very sick.

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Our son, four months after his tumor resection.

In the years after that, our son underwent numerous surgeries, countless MRIs and 18 rounds of chemotherapy. He finished his treatment before turning two years old, and has been closely monitored ever since. In the years since his treatment ended, he’s had increasingly strong seizures and on-going physical, occupational and speech therapy.

All of his cancer-related care is covered by St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, located here in our hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. His care has cost millions of dollars, and my family has never been billed a dime for it. Thank God that will always be the case, regardless of political climate.

If he gets hurt on the playground, gets a cold or needs to see a doctor for any other reason, however, that is left to our health insurance, as it would be for any other family.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we’ve been able to keep insured, despite me changing jobs — and eventually starting my own company — in the years since his diagnosis.

Thanks to Obamacare, my family cannot be punished for having the horrific misfortune of having a child with cancer.

Waiting for an MRI in 2013.

In 2014, I founded a podcast production company with a business partner. We both work on it as our full-time jobs, creating a life for ourselves doing what we love with people we admire.

As such, my wife and I have been purchasing coverage for our family via the healthcare exchange for three years now. It is not a perfect system: costs have risen, and our options for coverage aren’t as robust as they once were.

There’s no doubt that the Affordable Care Act has issues. It will probably be repealed, but it should be replaced with something that protects families across the nation.

Senate Republicans are pushing forward with repealing the law now. To dismantle the Affordable Care Act, both chambers will have to agree on the same budget resolution.

Then the act of replacing it would begin.

The problem is Republicans haven’t presented a plan to actually replace the law. Many Republicans, including Tennessee’s own Lamar Alexander, have said that the protections put in place by Obamacare will stay in place.

I hope he’s right, but I’m not willing sit quietly while we wait and see.

If things like preexisting condition protection, contraceptive coverage and allowing young people to stay on their parents’ insurance longer are important to you, now is the time to act.

Call your representatives. I’ve been on the phone with the offices of mine most of the day today, and they’ve all been understanding and willing to listen. I simply shared my story, and I am appreciative of them taking the time to listen. Find yours here.

I don’t know what’s going to happen. I fear that we will be unable to insure our son because he was diagnosed with a brain tumor as an infant. I fear that I am going to be in a position where I have to choose between my company and my family.

That — in no way — is something that I should fear as an American citizen, an entrepreneur or a father.

Stephen Hackett

Written by

Co-founder of Relay FM. Noted iPod Sock Enthusiast.

Stephen Hackett

Written by

Co-founder of Relay FM. Noted iPod Sock Enthusiast.

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