Share your healthcare story
Earlier this week, I was honored to have Mary Williams, a cancer survivor from Wilmington, join me as my guest at the President’s address to Congress. Mary was battling breast cancer last year when her employer closed up shop, leaving her without a job and without her healthcare benefits in the middle of a health crisis.
Unsure of how to find coverage, Mary turned to the health care navigators at Westside Family Healthcare and got insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace. With a pre-existing condition, finding affordable health insurance before the ACA would have been nearly impossible for Mary. Through programs established by the health care reform law, Westside was able to help her find an affordable plan that allowed Mary to continue her treatments and work toward remission – a word she used hopefully throughout the evening.
Since the Affordable Care Act became law, it has provided more than 20 million Americans – including 38,000 Delawareans – with good quality, affordable care. The ACA requires insurance plans to meet minimum levels of coverage, limit maximum out-of-pocket costs, prohibit lifetime or annual limits on care and prevents coverage from being denied to anyone with a pre-existing condition. It has helped so many Americans – our mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, neighbors and friends – who otherwise would have been left without healthcare in their hour of greatest need.
I’ll be the first to admit the ACA isn’t perfect. In everything we do, we must always strive to do better, and the Affordable Care Act is no exception. But repealing the ACA or gutting its basic provisions without a comprehensive replacement plan to protect healthcare for those who currently rely on the ACA would put millions of lives at risk. Delawareans like Mary could be stripped of the life-saving care they receive today, or be left with nowhere to turn in a healthcare crisis.
When Mary and I sat down to discuss how the Affordable Care Act had been a vital resource for her, I asked what she would say to members of Congress before they cast any vote to repeal or harm the Affordable Care Act. Her answer: Stop and Think. Any action Congress takes on healthcare has real-life impacts for millions of Americans who have come to rely on the ACA. Over the past few months, I’ve been traveling around Delaware, listening to patients tell stories about what the ACA means to them. These stories have been incredibly powerful, but I know there are even more stories about how the ACA has helped people in the First State and I want to make sure I hear from all Delawareans.
I look forward to reading your stories and making sure that my colleagues in Congress stop and think about every one of them before trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act.