By Julie Buckholt
This week marks the 12 year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act and it couldn’t be more important to me and my family.
Twenty-nine years ago, my entire life changed when I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, an autoimmune disease that impacts my ability to control my voluntary muscles.
When I was first diagnosed, a million questions ran through my mind – Will I be OK? What will my life look like? Can I afford treatment?
And in a rare occurrence, both of my daughters were diagnosed with the same condition. Meaning all of the worries, all of the questions, and all of the bills tripled in an instant.
Before the ACA, we would have hit our insurance cap in no time, meaning we would be forced to pay for every doctor’s bill, medication, and specialist out of pocket. There is no doubt we would have gone bankrupt trying to figure out how to treat our condition. I was sometimes seeing three specialists a week and paying an out-of-pocket copay that was eating away at my savings. We couldn’t afford every visit, and I had to choose between doctor’s appointments for myself and for my daughters – it was a nightmare.
On top of the doctor’s appointments, the treatment I rely on, part of the reason I’m able to be writing this letter today, could cost up to $16,000 a week. I rely on this treatment weekly, while my daughters need it monthly. Between the three of us, this critical treatment would cost us over $1 million dollars for just one year.
But then the ACA passed and gave us a second chance at life. Going to the doctor was no longer a question because I knew we could afford it – receiving simple things like medicine was no longer a question because I knew we could afford it.
Twelve years later, I still celebrate the ACA every day. It seems like common sense: I deserve affordable health care just as much as my peers. Unfortunately, Sen. Ron Johnson doesn’t see it that way. Just this month, Johnson reaffirmed his pledge to repeal the ACA, saying that if the Republican Party regains control of the government they should make repealing the ACA a priority.
You don’t have to read in between the lines here – when Johnson said that he wants to repeal the ACA, what he’s saying is that he wants to rip away my health care and my daughters’ health care. He’s saying he doesn’t care how much costs would rise. He’s saying that he doesn’t care whether I can afford treatments or doctor visits. He’s saying I don’t deserve that second chance at life. Johnson, how dare you attack my health care?
We’ve watched for too long as Johnson has prioritized his self-serving agenda of trying to take away our health care, all while doing nothing to lower costs. He doesn’t care that his actions make us live in fear every day that we will lose our care, go bankrupt, and who knows what else. He doesn’t care that if he is successful he will raise health care costs for families like mine all across the country. Johnson doesn’t care about my family, and after everything he’s done and everything he’s trying to do, how could anyone believe that he cares about theirs?
Johnson isn’t part of the problem, he is the problem. I know I’ll be casting my ballot against him this November – he’s lost the right to represent my family and our state. And I’m not alone.