People are worried. The American Health Care Act was passed Thursday, opening up the possibility that 24 million Americans will lose their health insurance if the bill were to pass through the Senate and then receive the president's signature. As Paul Ryan and the majority of the Republican members of the House toasted each other with light beers, many Americans were sharing their stories about how the legislation could be devastating for themselves and their families.
The fact that the health care plan repeals the Affordable Care Act and the protections it implemented weighed heavily on the majority of people's minds. Repealing the ACA means that insurance companies can now make coverage more expensive for people who have pre-existing conditions. Those conditions include issues like arthritis, eating disorders, pregnancy, a former stroke, mental illness, and diabetes. Even things like acne, asthma, heartburn, migraines, and seizures could lead to higher premiums.
Taking to Twitter to express frustration, disappointment, and outright fear, Americans shared how the AHCA will change — or end — their lives. From cancer diagnoses to a congenital heart defect, from organ transplants to mental health, a whole lot of people are scared about what the future might mean.
1. Two Emergency Surgeries At 21
Katie McBride wrote that she was born without her colon properly attached. Two surgeries when she was 21 fixed it, but that doesn't mean everything's over.
2. Dad Is On Kidney Dialysis
Aliza W wrote that her dad is on kidney dialysis and cannot work. She continued tweeting, requesting others call their representatives and expressing hope that it won't pass the Senate. As for a kidney donation, "I've been trying to convince my dad to let me donate to him," she wrote. "No way he'll let me ... he wouldn't want to put me in this position."
3. Born With Congenital Glaucoma
Tucker Moore wrote a (hilarious and moving) tweet thread explaining his life with congenital glaucoma. After saying his mother found him as a baby in his crib with "some poltergeist shniz," he was diagnosed. "Over the course of 17 years, I had three invasive surgeries on each eye. I wore a patch, I took eye drops twice daily for awhile. Once I even had to get a two inch needle full of steroids injected into my tear duct."
His family was able to take care of him, but, he says, "if I were born today to a poorer family, I would have most certainly gone blind as an infant."
4. He's Uninsurable If They Make More Money
Mary Saville shared photos of her child, who she says had a heart transplant two years ago. She wrote that she scrambled for an anti-rejection drug last month because of a lapse in coverage. "Drug maker, hospital helped. Otherwise, 1 drug $2k/month. Takes 10/day."
5. Dropped Out Of College
MinnePuffin wrote that they had a pre-existing condition and faced insurmountable obstacles trying to find coverage.
6. High Risk For Developing Cancer
One Twitter user said they have cervical dysplasia, a pre-cancerous stage when there is abnormal cell growth on the cervix. They're at high risk for developing cancer, and questioned, "what you folks are telling me is I'm not allowed to get insurance to afford treatment because this is pre-existing? I'm sorry, but I'm angry. I already had to come to terms that I may not be able to have kids, but I'll be damned if I let this fester!"
7. Women Won't Report
Issues such as domestic violence and sexual assault are considered pre-existing conditions that the health care plan wouldn't cover. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three women and one in four men "is a victim of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner during their lifetimes."
8. "I'll Just Deteriorate"
Another person wrote that they're looking at a $5,500 hike per year. "I am going to spend the next few years dying more quickly, thanks to the AHCA and GOP. I have to start picking which treatments to forego."
9. A C-Section So A Son Could Be Born
Jeff Kloepfer wrote about his wife, who had to have a C-section in order to have a safe birth.
10. Last Surgery Cost $100,000
Responding to Kamala Harris' call for people's stories about pre-existing conditions, Karen Shih wrote that she has a congenital heart disease that led to an $100,000 surgery she was, luckily, covered for.
11. Voting Against A Family
Leslie Siphers shared multiple photos of her father. "My father has always worked hard in NC. He didn't ask for cancer. But he's fighting, and you should fight for him," she tweeted to her representative.
12. Obamacare Paid For A Pacemaker
Robin Shank said Obamacare wasn't just helpful, it was life-saving. Shank has a pacemaker, which helps control your heartbeat, and says the bill could bankrupt them.
13. Two Boys With Autism
Alexis Rivera wasn't the first person to say they were brought to tears over the AHCA passage because her nephews are on the autism spectrum. "I want to live in a country where my nephews Rufus and Walter don't have to be constantly paying medical bills from lack of insurance... just because they were born with a treatable condition."
14. A Goddaughter With Cancer
Jamil Smith spoke as much as he was able about his goddaughter, who died of cancer just this week at only 8 years old.
15. Born Without Carotid Arteries
Jan Walsh shared a photo of her grandson, who was born without carotid arteries, a very rare disease in which the blood vessels that bring blood to the brain are missing or not developed. His mom and dad didn't smoke or drink, she wrote, pointing a finger at the politicians who say people who live good lives and don't get sick deserve better health care.
16. A Boy With Autism And One Who Needs A Heart Transplant
Lynn Morgan Rosser, who describes herself in her Twitter bio as an "autism mom," expressed her devastation over the AHCA, but also her dedication to remembering how her representatives voted and how she'll vote accordingly.
17. Dialysis Every Night
Mikki Kendall wrote about her father, who is on dialysis and loses his employer health care soon. "Under ACA it was going to be okay. Not great, but okay. My state expanded Medicaid years ago. Now...I can't stop crying. I have to stop crying because that won't help. Okay, so we've called & emailed & written letters. Now what can we do?"
She pointed to an important thing people can do: "Please email, call, show up at the doors of the reps that voted for
#AHCA. Shame them for this & then vote them out."
18. A Risky Pregnancy
Andrew Bollmer explained his wife's risky pregnancy, thanks to a genetic condition she was born with. Although both his wife and son, who is now 7, made it through OK, due to the condition, he says, "It is likely that both my wife and son may need several major surgeries that will be difficult to afford even with Obamacare protections. The #AHCA will make it next to impossible."
19. Facing Mental Health Issues
Ms. Mak bravely wrote about her mental health issues. When someone snarked to her that she should stop reading "mainstream" news and that would help, she wrote, "It's a chemical imbalance in my brain that I can manage quite fine when I have access [to] appropriate treatment. [Just] like diabetes."
20. "I Went Into Respiratory Failure"
Darlene Taylor said Obamacare saved her life when she went into respiratory failure last year. She also won for best comment of the night when she told a representative that he will be repealed and replaced.
21. "People Like Me Will Die"
Asher Hurey posted a photo of himself at a protest against the AHCA holding a sign that says, "I have a pre-existing condition. People like me will lose coverage and some of us will die because of #TrumpCare."
22. Terrified Over The AHCA
One Twitter user wrote about their pre-existing conditions, including cerebral palsy, neuralgia, fibromyalgia, migraines, chronic pain, and anxiety. Plus, they wrote that they are a rape survivor, which could be considered a pre-existing condition under the AHCA. "I feel so enraged & helpless," they wrote.
23. Dad Is A Polio Survivor
Rina Shah Bharara said she is a lifelong Republican but still stands against the AHCA, as her dad survived polio thanks to health care coverage.
24. $500,000 Each Year
A shared Facebook post from a mother whose child has hemophilia detailed the excruciating costs of caring for her son.
25. Sacrificing An Education?
Christopher Munn wrote a heartbreaking tweet wondering how he will choose between treating his heart condition or going to college.
26. Prescriptions For $700 A Month
Dan Jones wrote that he has prescriptions that, without health care, just wouldn't be affordable.
27. Cervical Issues That Could Lead To Cancer
Jennifer Pearson is facing the terrifying prospect of not knowing if her cervical issues will turn into cancer. In 2017, 4,210 women are expected to die from cervical cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
28. 4 Years Old And Autistic
Aimee Saathoff's photo of her son, who has autism, was her plea against the AHCA. "This is Ashton," she wrote in a different tweet to Rep. Tom Graves. "He is 4 years old and lives in YOUR district. He is autistic. This is the face that your yes vote would harm."
29. A Wife With MS
This Twitter user also pointed to the Republicans who seem to think only "bad" people get sick. "Thanks for voting to kill my wife who has MS, Repubs. I dare you to tell her to her face she isn't virtuous because she's sick."
30. Lupus Feels Like...
Zoe, whose profile was bright purple for Lupus Awareness Month, highlighted how much she needs health care for her condition.
31. Dad Needs Another Surgery
One Twitter user wrote about their daughter, who had spinal meningitis, and how Obamacare saved her.
32. Worrying About Organ Transplants
ARPKD means "autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease," which is a rare genetic kidney disorder. Eighty-five percent of people born with it make it to their 10th birthday, thanks to prenatal sonogram technology that allows doctors to diagnose the condition before birth, according to the Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation. Of course, that would require affordable health care both before and after birth.
33. Savannah's Premiums
A "Save Savannah" account sent a tweet to a representative asking for a "no" on the AHCA. Savannah has heterotaxy syndrome, a birth defect that affects the heart and other organs. She has eight heart defects. After two open heart surgeries, eight caths, and a pacemaker, "she's still alive."
Former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander shared his story as he asked others to share theirs.
35. Nothing Covered By AHCA
Janette Kirchner listed her conditions — all of which, she says, aren't covered by the AHCA. "Is power, racism, misogyny & greed worth killing American citizens? I view the AHCA as an act of war against my family and myself."
36. "Hopefully, I Die Soon"
In a Twitter thread, Jenni Elyse said she's glad she's having her surgeries now, because if she had waited, they might have cost her almost eight times as much. "We're all going to die from pre-existing conditions, being pregnant, sexually assaulted, RXs, and/or mental illness that will no longer be covered thanks to the #AHCA being passed. Or, we could all just die from being destitute from our astronomical medical costs."
37. "I & Millions More Will Die"
Kymberly Johnson wrote about her systemic lupus that she needs treatment for to live.
38. Daughter Has Incurable Cancer
Another person wrote about their daughter, stating that she will die if the AHCA becomes law because she has incurable cancer and cannot afford health insurance.
39. "Cancer. Surgery. 6 Months Of Chemo."
Michelle, while both working and taking care of four children, fought colon cancer with surgery and chemotherapy, thanks to Obamacare.
40. Didn't Ask For This
Amy Schwabenlender tweeted that her thyroid cancer and autoimmune disease would ruin her life if she didn't have health care to help her live her life.
41. Treatment When Surgery Failed
Caroline said her congenital vascular disorder wasn't able to be effectively treated by surgery, but prescription estrogen did the trick. "#Trumpcare is not a health care bill. It's a $1 trillion tax cut for the wealthiest Americans. Call 866-426-2631 & tell your rep: #voteNO!"
42. Paid For My Brain Surgery
Responding to Caroline's tweet, Kathryn Cramer said that when she lost her husband, she lost her insurance as well because the COBRA continuation would have cost her more than $2,000 per month. Obamacare paid for her brain surgery.
43. Meds Cost $1,000
"[D]oes anyone know if this bill passes when it takes effect?" a user called Lauren wrote. " [D]o [I] have a week or year until [I] die?"
44. Infection, Operations
Melanie's story started when she got a staph infection through a cut on her back when she was 43. The infection spread and required two operations (and a lot of money). Then she experienced kidney failure from the antibiotics that were treating the infection. It could have cost $200,000 but instead cost $5,000 with Obamacare. Now, she has a preexisting condition.
"Under AHCA, what would that have cost? What will my premiums be b/c of pre-existing condition? I’m low-end! What about cancer survivors?" she wrote.
45. Won't Know If The Cancer Is Back
A Twitter user wrote that they would die because they "won't be able to afford 140k premiums." Having experienced cancer, anxiety, and chronic hip pain, Rev. Magdalen wrote that they won't be able to check in to ensure they are still in remission if the AHCA is implemented. "Spoiler: I'm one of the not-insured here. No way I could afford small-group high risk special coverage like the old COBRA plans."
46. Dad Has Lymphoma
Elice Rojas-Cruz wrote about their father's lymphoma and how the AHCA would take away his health care.
47. "A Death Sentence"
Amy Lynn Smith said the AHCA would be a death sentence for her because of her diabetes. "Hey, @repdavetrott, will you pay for my insulin now?" she tweeted to her representative. "I won't be able to afford it but you can with your billions plus a new tax break."
"I'm horrified by the inhumanity of everyone who voted for the #AHCA," Smith wrote. "You have no idea who it hurts & how it will impact our country. Shame."