Mel and his wife don’t know what they will do if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed without a replacement.
Mel voted for Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. But he says he’ll never vote Republican again. He’s angry about the climate of divisiveness in this country, about Republican threats to cut Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security — which he’ll be counting on in three years when he turns 65.
But most of all, he’s upset that they would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, without having a replacement plan in place.
I would be legally blind if it wasn’t for Obamacare. I had cataracts in both eyes and was almost blind. My wife and I only make about $23,000 a year and, before the ACA, we couldn’t afford the $800 a month for insurance — and I couldn’t afford $5,000 per eye for cataract surgery. Because of President Obama, I could get insurance and have my cataracts removed. Now I can see.
Mel is semi-retired and works as a handyman. He jokes that “blind people can’t be painters,” but if he hadn’t been able to have his cataracts removed he would not be able to work. Before the ACA, he and his wife, who is 56, relied on a government-subsidized doctor they paid on a sliding scale.
Right now, he and his wife pay about $100 a month for health insurance, with the help of tax credits available under the ACA. Mel says there are some months they have to scrape it together, but they always pay their premiums. “I won’t have to lie there and die if there’s an emergency,” he says.
Plus, his wife has severe ligament and tendon damage in her ankle. She has to wear a brace and walks with difficulty, and will need surgery in the near future. Without insurance, they don’t know how they’ll pay for her care, which will include nine months of rehabilitation.
“We can’t believe this is happening,” Mel says about Republicans’ zealous pursuit of ACA repeal. “I don’t think they should be able to repeal anything unless they have a plan to replace it with.”
Given the chance to stand before Congress, what would Mel say to them?
Don’t you care about me as an American? Don’t you care that I have a Constitutional right to pursue happiness — and without the ACA, I have no hope of pursuing happiness?
The people wanting to vote these things out — the ACA, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security — they have prize healthcare, they get the best of everything. Don’t they care about the American people? We’re the richest nation in the world, yet we don’t feel like we should have to insure our people. I’m trying to appeal not just to their minds but to their hearts. What are they thinking about me?
I used to be a Republican, but never again.
Congress has already started the process of repealing the ACA. Contact your Representative in the U.S. Congress HERE and your U.S. Senator HERE. Urge them to vote against repealing the ACA unless a replacement plan with the same level of coverage and consumer protections is enacted at the same time — and make sure they know you’ll fight to elect their Democratic opponent in the next election.
Meanwhile open enrollment for 2017 coverage continues through January 31. Get covered today at HealthCare.gov.
Has Obamacare helped you or someone in your family? Tell us about it HERE if you’d like to be considered for a future post.
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[Image credit: LaDawna Howard via Flickr.]