Arizona and Ohio Speak Up to Defend Health Care

Sarah Chaisson-Warner

223,300 in Arizona. 360,000 in Ohio. That’s how many people will lose their Medicaid coverage if the GOP forces through the health care repeal they’re currently drafting behind closed doors in the Senate. Arizona and Ohio voters overwhelmingly oppose the repeal, as they do in every state

Photo credit: Ted Eytan, Flickr / CC

Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain of Arizona, and Rob Portman of Ohio have the power  with their three votes to protect health care for more than half a million of their constituents.  Or, they can vote to kick them off, and cause inestimable suffering to their constituents and to millions more like them all across the country.

These three senators – Flake, McCain and Portman – could block passage of the most disastrous health care bill this country has ever seen.

Here are the stories of a few of the voters in Arizona and Ohio who stand to lose everything if these three choose to stand with billionaires and corporations instead of with the people who elected them.

Senators, are you listening?

My husband was the controller for a multi-billion dollar international company financing high and commercial and residential properties. He worked from spreadsheets on three computer screens and assured that multi-million dollar jobs were managed to the last nail and board.

One day he looked at his computer screens and was not sure what he was looking at. Not long after that, he was laid off for making too many mistakes. At age fifty-nine my husband was diagnosed with dementia. He is also a cancer survivor, has COPD, diabetes, and a fib, all pre-existing conditions. He is now sixty-four, has been on SSDI for three years, and has Medicare. I am also 64, with COPD (pre-existing condition) and I continue to work for our primary health insurance.

When my husband was laid off our retirement dreams came crashing down. We lost our house and used the bulk of my 401(k) to purchase a small condo. We get by.

The proposed health care bill – with its age rating, exclusions for pre-existing conditions and further premium increases for our health conditions – will leave us with the choice of being homeless or going without our maintenance medications, diagnostics, and preventive care, such as screening colonoscopies and prostate exams, and mammograms, leaving us at high risk for death.

I would like to think that my elected officials do not want my husband and I to suffer and die, but if you vote for this bill these are the choices we look forward to.

  • – Ann, Arizona

The ACA saved my spouse’s life. She had breast cancer and didn’t even know it. Before the ACA was passed we hadn’t had insurance for a very long time because we couldn’t afford it. I was in poor health as well and had a bucketload of conditions, the ACA saved us both.

Without the ACA, it is likely that my spouse would be dead by now and I wouldn’t be far behind her. As of this year, we both qualified for and signed up for Medicare. Although we struggle to make the Medicare Supplement payments each month, we are grateful that we have it. We remember the years before the ACA, {and Medicare}, when there was no help for us at all. Growing old and trying to survive despite poor health is no way to live. We both worked and contributed to society our whole lives. We never amassed much money, let alone a safety net. We are grateful to still be alive and to have each other. There are so many people, both old and young, that our country has forgotten. These programs are lifesaver. It is sad and morally unconscionable to take them from the millions of Americans who need them.

  • – Gail, Arizona

I have Type 1 Diabetes, which means I need insulin, test strips, syringes, and a whole host of other medical supplies to survive. My employer does not provide insurance. I would not be able to afford these medical supplies and necessary doctors visits if I was not covered under the Affordable Care Act.

  • – Erin, Ohio

It wasn’t until preventative care became readily available, encouraged, that I found out about a serious condition. Preventative care access saved my life!

  • – Jonna, Ohio

I am so grateful for the ACA which has provided coverage for my husband, who is a veteran, and has a preexisting congenital heart condition. Because of the ACA, he has been able to receive life saving medical treatment from the world renowned Cleveland Clinic. Healthcare is a human right. Please save the ACA for those like my husband!

Without the ACA, our health insurance coverage would be unaffordable due to my husband’s preexisting conditions. Prior to the ACA, we paid almost $40,000 per year for health insurance. After ACA, our insurance was less than half that amount for just about the same coverage.

  • – Debra, Ohio

I can think of at least six people in my extended family that have benefited from the ACA, Medicare of Medicaid and would be in very difficult positions if they were unavailable.

First and foremost, there is my husband. He is 59 years old and has suffered from a chronic seizure disorder since he was thirty-six. Doctors are mystified by its origin and only the drug, Lamictal, can control his grand mal seizures. This medicine alone would cost us nearly $24,000 if we had no health coverage. He is also a Colon Cancer survivor. So, with two pre-existing conditions and his age, we would be completely unable to afford insurance (assuming we could even find a carrier) and his physical and mental health, not to mention that of my family members would be at risk.

Thanks to the ACA, I can insure my son who is now 24 until he is 26. While he is employed, he does not earn enough to purchase insurance on his own, especially as subsidies become unavailable. I also have a 21 year old daughter who will have the same opportunity under the ACA. She is a college student and plans to continue her studies for a PhD, so she does not have the income to afford health insurance on her own.

My sister is 54 years old and under-employed. Thanks to the ACA, she was able to obtain health insurance, including dental, for the first time in her adult life.

My niece was able to obtain health insurance for her three children at a rate that she could actually afford thanks to the ACA. She is a manager at a restaurant and has no access to health care through her employer.

My brother in law is 60 years old and was afflicted by non-cancerous parasympathetic tumors that attached to his lung and spine, causing him to be disabled. He was able to obtain rehabilitative therapy and have most of his medical costs covered due to Medicaid.

The combined impact of the ACA and Medicaid expansion in Ohio has truly been a godsend for my family!

  • – Kim, Ohio

I am 58 years old and by natural extension have pre-existing conditions. I have asthma, etc. My son is an adult who is wheelchair bound since birth and very dependent on Medicaid. I would not be able to afford health care under the new bill and went bankrupt trying to pay premiums before the ACA went into effect.

  • – Jennifer, Ohio

I am a 51 year old man who was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at age 10. I checked my blood sugars and took insulin daily for 17 years when my vision left me. Adjusting to being b lind, not more than three months later, my kidneys stopped functioning and i went on dialysis. 7 months later i received a kidney-pancreas transplant which functioned well for 16 years before dialyzing again. This for another 3 years , after which i received another kidney transplant; did not receive a pancreas this time, and hence, i am a diabetic again. Given my history, Trump Care would just as soon sit me on a curb to be taken out with the trash as to give me any assistance.

  • – Calvin, Ohio

My 91 year old grandmother is able to stay in her home with assistance from the provisions under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Medicaid. My own health care costs under the Affordable Care Act have been reduced by $300 a month, with an increase in services!

  • – Lisa, Ohio

I have diabetes and was able to get on the Medicaid expansion because of my pre-existing condition and because I don’t make enough money. It truly saved my life because my prescription prices were so high for my insulin I need to live.

  • – Nate, Ohio

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