I was aghast to read that [on January 3rd, 2017] the Senate Budget Committee Chair Michael Enzi (R-WY) introduced a budget resolution that would enable Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) without a replacement in sight. Please don’t allow a repeal of the ACA without a replacement because I and millions of other U.S. citizens depend on the ACA for our health care, some of our lives depend on it.
I have hypothyroidism. I was first diagnosed in 2005 and will have to take medication for the rest of my life. Because the thyroid interacts with other hormonal systems, as I entered perimenopause a couple years ago, my hypothyroidism became less easily managed. I ended up with heart palpitations. They were benign but required the evaluation of a cardiologist. I need to see my doctor often because the right level of hormone replacement changes with my changing body. Thanks to her assistance, I now remain functioning. And thanks to the ACA, I can afford to see her.
What would happen if I lost my health insurance? Although seemingly minor, hypothyroidism impacts almost everything in my body. The right dosage of the replacement hormone is crucial. When I was undermedicated, I slept 10 hours and had two hour-long naps per day – and still could barely function. When I was overmedicated, I couldn’t sleep because of heart palpitations and anxiety – both of which made me suicidal. Not being able to see a doctor and have medical tests regularly, which is what would happen if I lost health insurance, would return me to these non-functioning states. Only after getting on ACA was I able to afford the care I really needed and I am slowly returning to a level of functioning that allows me to participate actively in this society.
And my story isn’t even the most dramatic one. Some people take medication that is so expensive and yet so necessary for their very survival, they might literally die if ACA is repealed, especially without replacement. I know at least one person for whom this would be the case.
Therefore, I urge you to prevent the repeal of ACA at least until a viable replacement has been put in place.