Let's face it. At some point, we all get sick. And, sometimes lightning strikes and we, or our families, get sicker than we ever even wanted to imagine. Most people plan for healthy lives, try to eat healthy, and regularly pay insurance premiums. So it's not until lightning strikes that people truly understand in the core of their beings what it means that the Affordable Care Act (also known as health care reform) gave consumers new protections against insurance company abuses, like dropping people from coverage when they get sick and need it most, and like excluding from coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
These new changes, brought forward by the passage of the Affordable Care Act one year ago today, have already been saving lives.
"I paid for health care my entire life either through an employer or with an individual plan, and at the age 31, I gave birth to my first child. I was not overweight, didn't drink or smoke and did everything my doctor said to do while pregnant. Our daughter was born with a rare and life threatening form of epilepsy to do a sporadic gene mutation. In her two years, she has had over a thousand seizures and she stops breathing every single time. She is now 2 years old and when she spends time in the PICU (twice a year for two weeks at a time so far) we come home with a minimum of a $250,000 bill from the hospital, which our insurance pays most of us, fights us on some of it, and flat out denies some of it. If lifetime limits were not lifted, Violet's insurance would run out by the time she is 4 years old and her pre-existing condition would prevent her from being insured by another carrier, whose lifetime limit would run out in another few years. Unless a cure is found, our daughter will be admitted to the hospital throughout her lifetime and a lifetime limit on insurance would limit her lifetime on earth." -- Julie, mother of Violet
In other words, without the Affordable Care Act, Violet's life would be at risk.
You can see Violet, as well as hear her parents, Julie and Matt, speak about their experiences as a family in this moving video.
Violet's story is just one of the thousands of stories that illustrates how Health Care Reform is already helping people that have flooded into MomsRising since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (also known as health care reform) one year ago today. On this U.S. map, you can click on states and see stories from people across the country who are sharing how health care reform is already helping them. And, right now MomsRising is hosting a blog carnival with many diverse voices sharing how health care reform is helping them.
Few people know that although health care reform isn't yet fully implemented, people are already being helped. Children's lives are being saved. Stories of success rarely make the news, while stories of strife are the norm.
While there already are many success stories, many other families are still waiting to benefit from the full implementation of the law that is staged to go into effect by 2014. In fact, critical provisions that will make health care more affordable, like subsidies to buy health coverage for families of four making up to about $88,000 per year, have yet to go into effect (This is scheduled for 2014). And the end of pre-existing condition exclusions for adults will also go into effect in 2014.
Help is happening. And more help is on the way.
Moms, dads, and others are telling us that the Affordable Care Act is saving lives and giving them peace of mind because they know that they won't face lifetime caps on care or exclusion for pre-existing conditions.
Moms like Emily in New York, who told us about how the Affordable Care Act will ensure that she can get the medicine and treatment her son needs to control his asthma. Like Tracy in Colorado, who described how her family shouted with joy when the Affordable Care Act passed because they knew that their son would not be denied coverage to treat his cancer. Like Barbara in Georgia, who wrote that the state's new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan will ensure that her adult daughter can continue to receive treatment for her Type 1 diabetes.
Those are the personal stories we hear. These are the hard cold facts: Without the Affordable Care Act, as many as 129 million people could be denied care because of pre-existing conditions. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that the savings from health reform will more than offset the cost of expanding coverage and reduce the federal deficit by more than $200 billion over the next ten years. CBO also found that repealing health reform will increase the deficit by as much as $1 trillion over the next two decades.
In addition to helping small businesses thrive with tax credits for providing health care coverage, the Affordable Care Act can also help grow jobs. Studies show that repealing health reform would prevent 250,000 to 400,000 jobs from being created annually over the next decade.
Conversely, without health care reform, small businesses are expected to pay nearly $2.4 trillion dollars over the next 10 years in health-care costs for their workers. With health-care reform, small businesses are expected to save as much as $855 billion, a reduction of 36 percent, money that can be reinvested to grow the economy over the next 10 years, as estimated by Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist Jonathan Gruber.
In short, experts are finding that health reform law will not only grow jobs and help small businesses; but will also save lives, cut the deficit, give people more freedoms, more choices for care, and help businesses as it's fully implemented over time.
The Affordable Care Act not only is improving and safeguarding families' health; clearly, the costs of repealing the Affordable Care Act are far too high for our nation's families and businesses. Too many businesses, like the one owned by Nan in Illinois, are counting on the change health reform brings to help in the face of long-time sky rocketing health care costs.
That's right. As has been splashed all over the news, opponents are rallying to defund, block, and repeal the Affordable Care Act even before we've even had a chance to start fully implementing it.
Yet for too many people, like Violet, repealing health care reform could be a death sentence.
Today, we celebrate the passage of the Affordable Care Act a year ago, and we applaud the continued implementation for all of our families and businesses.