Some battles hit closer to home than others. For Stephanie, a mother of three from Canton, Georgia, the health care debate could not be more real.
“I was 23 years old when I had my son with Down syndrome, and my husband was self-employed,” she said. “This was 16 years ago, and back at that time, insurers were able to tell us that they wouldn’t cover my son at any price. It didn’t matter what we were able to do on our end, they wouldn’t cover him.”
But when the Affordable Care Act was passed, her family was able to purchase health care that included her son for the first time.
While taking care of her son, Stephanie had another personal battle to fight—she learned she needed a biopsy for a cancer screening. At that time, she found herself in yet another position where she wasn’t able to get the procedure paid for through insurance, much less afford the treatment she would need if she did end up having cancer. It’s a situation that many Americans faced before health care was available to them.
“It was scary because I [had] three little kids at home…one child who has special needs… I need to be sure to help him live the best life that he can possibly live, and I can’t do that if I’m not healthy and I’m not there to take care of him,” Stephanie said.
Now, because of her health insurance plan, Stephanie doesn’t have to live in fear of a looming diagnosis today, nor does her son have to go without the therapy and services he needs. “He’s studying to be a photographer, he’s had traveling exhibits through Russia to show what people with Down syndrome can do…and he can do those things because [of his] health care,” she said.
At this point, it’s hard to imagine how families like Stephanie’s could cope if they lost their coverage.
Stephanie has a message for the leaders making decisions about our health care. “If I could talk to my elected officials, I would tell them to…talk to families like mine. And to work together to develop a solution with each other.”
You can call your senator to share why your health care matters and demand a plan for the future here.