James K, Washington: My son has no insurance. He is 28 and last year became type 1 diabetic. I'm grateful the hospital took care of him, and he is getting his insulin. However, the medical bills are not going away. Grateful the hospitals didn't turn him away, as he was hours from passing. Three years ago I lost a brother to colon cancer, as he didn't have insurance and waited until it was too late to cure his colon cancer....He's in heaven now. Everyone deserves health care. I see this as a human rights concern. Just doesn't seem right that health care is so expensive, and if we have no coverage than you may be out of luck completely, as that depends on what state one lives in. However, at least this is progress.
Dr. William Hahn, Rhode Island: Recently, I cared for a patient in her 40's dying from valvular heart failure because no surgeon would fix her prolapsed mitral valve without insurance. By the point she got herself admitted, it was too late.
Fannie Jones, Florida: I am a soon to be 60 years old African American female. I have been on blood pressure meds since the age of 19 (107 lbs) and high cholesterol meds since the age of 32 (117 lbs). My maternal grandfather and my mother died of heart disease complications. In 2007 I had my first surgery; again in 2009. I take 20 meds each day. In my adult life I have always had employer group medical insurance. During 10 of the 12 last years of my mom's life, she didn't have medical insurance and her health failed. My baby sister died of a massive heart attack on her 48th birthday. The difference between me and my mom and sister is access to health care! My grandchildren and younger relatives will have the ACA thank God! We have been burdened with bad genes; healthy life style choices and access to health care are essential!
Dr. Luella Lewis, New York: My colleagues and I have seen way to many patients arrive at an emergency room across the country at the 11th hour because they couldn't afford health insurance, their medications, or preventive visits with a physician. Whether you are considering an individual life, the health of a community, or the life of an underfunded institution - or justice, we need health reform to move forward to better our lives and the future of this country. *
These are just some of the overwhelming number of stories we receive on a regular basis. People are dying prematurely—one American every 20 minutes-- because they don’t have health insurance and lack access to the high-quality, affordable health care we all deserve.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
With the Affordable Care Act’s Patient’s Bill of Rights ending the worst insurance practices (like denying people coverage due to “pre-existing conditions”), its tax credits to small businesses, subsidies to everyday Americans to help them afford their private insurance plans, and allowing young adults to stay on their parent’s insurance until they’re 26, we’re making progress.
Because just one life is too many.
*These and all of the stories we share have been collected by doctors and medical students from all across the country while working to bust some Affordable Care Act myths in their communities.
Find out more: