My father was enrolled in the Affordable Care Act, and he died last year.
You may think that this doesn’t bode particularly well for the program, which now faces its own imminent demise in Congress. My father, however, was a true believer in the law, and rightly and repeatedly told people how it had saved his life.
In 2009 my father received a major organ transplant and, despite trying his hardest to go back to work, was eventually forced by his health to quit. As a post-transplant individual with a host of complications and a mountain of monthly prescriptions, he would have been completely uninsurable before Obamacare. He would have been left completely out in the cold with no income, no insurance and no hope. As for Medicaid, it took him nearly two years after quitting work and a handful of expensive lawyers to finally get approved for disability. Pre-Obamacare, he would have been left in the lurch, solely accountable for 100 percent of his health care costs.
Luckily, in the interim, he found an ACA navigator who helped him enroll and find an affordable plan. Dad was able to continue getting his prescriptions and seeing his doctors without amassing possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. His stress was greatly reduced, and he was able to use his savings to continue paying his mortgage despite being unable to work. When his lifetime savings and his very home were at risk of being lost to medical expenses, the Affordable Care Act provided my sick father with immeasurable relief and, indeed, affordable care. My father did die last year. But some years ago, Obamacare came to his rescue in a most dire time of need.
I know that has not been everyone’s experience and that in many ways Obamacare has failed. But it is not a total failure, and it is not a disaster. It blessed everyone who knew my father with possibly five extra years of the company of a joyful and faithful friend. It blessed me with five extra years to be with my dad. It is with his memory in mind that I write this, so that my fellow Tennesseans who hate Obamacare so fiercely might understand that it is not perfect, but it has greatly helped people. Continue reading