A chance to create a better life

By Jaclyn L., Tucson, AZ

When my son was two years old — so, about six years ago — we were in a car accident that left him with a severe brain injury, resulting in both physical and intellectual delays. After the accident, he was in the hospital for about five months, during which time we weren’t sure how his eyesight was or much of anything about his emotions.

Today, Aidan can sit up, he can say a few words, and walk a little bit. But he’d like to do more.

Part of the reason why he’s doing so well is that we’ve been able to utilize therapy services. Not only did they teach me how to take care of him, but regular weekly and biweekly sessions have kept pushing him. He’s gotten a little better every year.

These services are expensive, though. My son currently sees 11 different physicians. It’s a lot, but this is care he needs.

These things would not have been possible without health insurance, something that I never thought we’d be without. That was my reality, though, when about two weeks after the accident, we were dropped from Aidan’s health insurance without notice. I didn’t find out until two months after it happened, leaving me with bills upwards of $100k from my son being in intensive care.

Thankfully, about a month and a half before being released from the hospital, Aidan was covered under Arizona’s Medicaid program. Now that they might get rid of essential health benefits, I don’t know what I’ll do. Preventative care and emergency room coverage is much needed for us. The only other way I would be able to get him the care he needs is through a job that has health care, though we may still face exorbitant fees for having pre-existing conditions.

I’m a full-time student — I attend classes at Pima Community College and I just got accepted to the University of Arizona’s honors program. I’ll be getting my Bachelor’s in Biology, possibly to pursue a career in the biomedical sciences. It’s hard enough being a single mom and a full-time student; I don’t know how I could also start a health care savings plan. Between all my son’s medical appointments and school, there’s no feasible time to work.

The Affordable Care Act has made it possible for us to make steps towards a better life. Aidan makes progress every day, and I’m able to work towards the career of my dreams. Repealing the ACA would be a huge obstacle for us. Congress needs to know that for countless Americans, Medicaid is not a privilege but a means to give families like mine a fighting chance to have a better life. Please, don’t undermine our health care.

Originally published at www.ofa.us.

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