Dear Senator Collins, (U.S. Senator Susan Collins)
I am writing to you to express my current fears about the happenings in Washington about the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act. This is a very scary time for me. I want to first tell you a bit about myself. I am 24 years old and have multiple chronic illnesses including Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Gastroparesis and Dysautonomia. These conditions affect my everyday life- they dictate what I can and cannot eat, what my blood pressure is, and I am always in pain. I do not know what it is like to be without pain. But that is not the only thing I want you to know about me. I am also a person who loves life. I am a registered nurse who works part time to try and helps others. I am a college student trying to finish another degree. I am active in my church and enjoy working with kids. I have lived in Maine for my whole life, and I think it is the best state out there. I am not defined by my illnesses, but I am scared for the life I currently have.
I am scared because I have great health insurance and am able to get the treatments I need. This is due to the affordable care act. I have been able to stay on my parent’s insurance and am not excluded for ‘preexisting conditions’ that are out of my control. I no longer have to worry that an insurance company would arbitrarily stop paying for my treatments at some point in my life because of lifetime caps.
As most things in healthcare, the medications and treatments that I need to function and stay alive are not cheap. In 2016 my insurance company paid over $194,000 for doctors visits, surgeries, procedures, specialists and more. Of that almost $69,000 was for prescription drugs. There is no way that I could have paid this on my own. Because of the provisions from the ACA, I do not have to worry that when I go to the pharmacy my medications will cost me my paycheck. Because of the ACA, I do not have to worry or hesitate if I need medical care. I can go and see my primary care provider, or have the procedure done. Because of the ACA I have been able to work and be functional. Because of the ACA I have been able to have a life.
I urge you to vote to keep the ACA in place. Senator Collins, you are a key player in this. Last week you made it known that you could go both ways, please vote to keep the ACA in place. Yes, it may need some work- but how does taking away all the current work help to solve the problems? Come up with a new plan first. Don’t take my life away.
*This letter was also sent with modifications to Senator Angus S. King, Jr. and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree with appreciation for their current stance on the issue. I urge all to please contact their representatives to ask them to save the affordable care act. This is not just politics, this is lives.