A broken system

By Tina Tchen, Former, Assistant to President Obama and Chief of Staff to First Lady Michelle Obama

Before the Affordable Care Act became law, our country’s health care system was broken — and Americans suffered the consequences.

I traveled with the President and First Lady for eight years, and I met the people whose lives and livelihoods were at stake.

At an event with the First Lady, I met a breast cancer survivor who needed screenings to save her life. Because of her pre-existing condition, her premiums were so exorbitant that it was a choice between paying them, and, in her words, “keeping a roof over her head.”

In 2012, I met an organizer who stood up at an event and said, “My brother died because he didn’t have health insurance. He got sick and waited to go to the doctor because he didn’t have coverage.”

I met small business owners who simply couldn’t afford to offer their employees insurance. People who’d never had coverage at all. Cancer survivors who were turned away from plan after plan once they got sick, and were forced to pay for treatment out-of-pocket.

These are the stories we knew so well eight years ago when we were fighting for affordable care. They’re why President Obama worked so hard to make the Affordable Care Act a reality. He truly believed that no one should be denied health coverage — especially when they need it most.

It’s tempting to let numbers like our country’s uninsured rate (which reached its lowest point ever under Obamacare) speak for themselves. But there’s more to it than that: lives were saved — or even just made slightly easier — because people had health insurance.

So you can imagine how disappointing it is to me that the bill Mitch McConnell and Senate leaders have drafted will take us back to a broken system.

The Senate bill will reverse so much of the progress we’ve made under Obamacare.

Millions could lose coverage. The uninsured rate for children and the elderly could skyrocket. Costs would go up for millions. I have a friend whose adult son — who has a serious mental illness — finally got the coverage he needed under Obamacare. That could be taken away.

And we’ll go back to a system where women can be charged more just for being women, one where we’re denying women cost-saving coverage to get the contraception they need — at a moment when unplanned and teen pregnancy rates are at their lowest ever.

Those are real consequences for people all over the country.

That’s why we can’t just sit back and do nothing as Senate leaders keep working to repeal a law that’s helped millions of Americans get the coverage they need.

If you’re ready to make your voice heard, get in touch with a key senator now.

Call a senator

Originally published at www.ofa.us.

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