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Affordable Care Act Stories

When I put out a call for people to share their stories of how the Affordable Care Act has helped people in Maine, I received over a thousand responses in just a few days. Here's just a small sample of those powerful stories.

"Under Obamacare, we now pay one-third of our old premium and have a $2,500 deductible. I had my first physical in over 20 years." 
- Patrick, small business owner from Winthrop

"I am a 63 year old small business owner who has health insurance for the first time in my adult life since passage of the ACA. The same is true for my partner of 17 years. She was diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and has recently undergone a mastectomy with follow-up care. After her diagnosis, I went for my first-ever mammogram." 
- Eleanor, small business owner from Belfast

"Five years ago I left a comfortable job with good benefits to start my own business.  Those first years were tough on my family. My wife and I were able to put our children on Maine's Dirigo Health, but we had to do without... Today, through God's grace, hard work, and the support of my wife; my business is prospering. Food assistance is a thing of the past and we're actually contributing more in taxes now than we ever did before. We still have to watch what we spend but we're breathing a lot easier. Each year that I've made more money our subsidy has gone down, and that's just as it should be. That subsidy still matters though. If the ACA were eliminated today and I had to buy health insurance on the open market I'd be paying an extra $4,800 a year. That's real money." 
- Matthew, small business owner from Brunswick

"...The ACA means that as a self-employed resident of the state of Maine, I can actually acquire coverage with a pre-existing condition. After working search & rescue/recovery at Ground Zero in 2001, I developed a lung condition necessitating costly medication. Before the ACA, I was terrified of losing my job and losing health care because of my pre-existing condition." 
- Ret, 9/11 First Responder from Rockland

"In 2014… my husband died from early-onset Alzheimer's. I was 50 when my husband was diagnosed. Eventually I left the workforce to care for him… and, of course, lost my employer-provided health insurance at the same time. The ACA has provided me with options ever since then; options that I never had before its passage. In 2014 I had three joints replaced; life changing surgeries that restored my active lifestyle and removed chronic pain from my life. These were only possible because I was able to access health insurance as an individual, at reasonable cost. " 
- Elisabeth from Phippsburg

"I have 2 adult daughters who were not expected to live to adulthood. They have a rare digestive disease that makes it impossible for them to digest food. They depend on intravenous feedings to keep them alive. Both of my daughters work full time. My older daughter has insurance through the Marketplace, and my younger daughter is able to be on our insurance for 3 more years thanks to the ACA. If the ACA is repealed I worry that we will lose the protection that it gave my daughters from being denied healthcare coverage due to a pre-existing condition or from losing health care if they meet a lifetime cap. My daughters will literally die without the healthcare they receive. Please do not repeal this law without a realistic alternative. This family has been fighting to keep healthcare for 30 years. I am terrified that we will have to start all over again." 
- Anna from Leeds

"One of my adult sons is an alcoholic. He has now in recovery and has been sober for almost one year. One year ago when he finally realized he needed to stop drinking. He only had insurance because of the Affordable Care Act. His insurance did not pay for the entire cost of the time he was in the hospital or for the program that he attended but it made it much more manageable. My son is now sober, alive, attending college and healthy, I am not sure this would have happened if he did not have insurance." 
- Woman from Gardiner

“Last spring, I experienced severe abdominal pain and went to the emergency room. I ended up being admitted and spending 4 days in the hospital with severe diverticulitis that had nearly perforated my intestine. I was unemployed when this happened. If it weren’t for the ACA, I would have been uninsured, and may not have gone to the hospital at all - which could have ultimately resulted in me dying if my bowel had become perforated. If I had not had insurance and gone to the hospital anyway, I would be bankrupt right now. The hospital bill was around $20,000, which I absolutely would not be able to pay. But thanks to my insurance, I only owed $3,000 - which is still a difficult amount for me, but not impossible. I am terrified of what is going to happen if the ACA is repealed. Thank you for fighting for all of us who want to see it stay.” 
- Woman from Portland

"Four years ago, after a 29 year career as a successful engineer, we moved to Maine and I started my own consulting business. The ACA was an enabling event. Being self-employed means buying your own health insurance. Before the ACA, given my age and other factors, quality health insurance was either unobtainable or unaffordable.When the Republicans repeal the ACA my wife and I, who do not qualify for Medicare, may not be able to find health insurance of an acceptable quality and price. Most likely I will have to take a job out of state leaving my wife behind until I retire at age 65." 
- Robert, engineer from Brunswick

"I moved to Maine this summer and was able to get affordable health insurance through the ACA. I am young and generally healthy so I'll admit that I considered not purchasing insurance and crossing my fingers that I'd stay well. Luckily, I found an affordable premium because this fall I was a passenger in a
car accident. Having quality health insurance while injured was a blessing. I can't imagine going to work with the back spasms I was suffering or enjoying time with my family outside of work. Now though, I'm genuinely concerned about losing my health coverage. Before I would've been cavalier about my health, but I have first-hand experience that accidents happen and it's important to be insured. Thank you, Congresswoman Pingree, for taking the initiative to protect the ACA." 
- Man from Portland

"I have recently been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. This particular illness also made it impractical to continue on my career path. As a result of the need to leave my career to attend to my health, I suddenly was faced with the insurance market for the first time. The Affordable Care Act made it possible for me and my spouse to access insurance that was affordable. The coverage also allowed us us to keep our current medical team in place. Given my recent diagnosis, without the ACA coverage I would not have been able to find affordable coverage." 
- Man from Cumberland

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