Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many Americans experienced “job lock” and couldn’t pursue new employment for fear of losing access to health care. For Americans with Type I diabetes, such as Quinn Nystrom, access to life-sustaining medication was tied to employment and delayed their dream of being self-employed.
After efforts to repeal the ACA failed, I finally had the courage to quit my day job, get insurance through the ACA, and start my business. The ACA afforded me the ability to turn my American dream into reality. Affordable health care is not a red or blue issue; for many, it’s a life-or-death issue.
At age 13, Quinn Nystrom was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. Before she could even enter the workforce, her diagnosis allowed health insurance companies to deny her access to affordable health care. As insulin prices tripled over a decade, health care became an absolute necessity for Americans like Quinn. As a result, she became tied to her job simply for access to the one thing she needed to stay alive.
Quinn Nystrom, pictured in December 2019, testifies about insulin affordability at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Photo credit: Quinn Nystrom)
Quinn long dreamed of leaving her job to pursue self-employment as an advocate for insulin affordability. Fortunately, when the ACA was signed into law, its protections for people with preexisting conditions meant that Quinn could finally leave her job and pursue her dream of starting a business. After efforts by congressional Republicans to repeal the law failed, Quinn enrolled in the ACA, launched her company, traveled the country to speak about the importance of insulin affordability, and even ran for Congress. Today, she is using her voice and her platform to continue pushing to make insulin more affordable and accessible. None of it would have been possible without the protections of the ACA.
The ACA continues to provide health insurance to 16.3 million recipients, but the preexisting condition provision protects every American. Access to reliable and affordable health insurance gives Americans the assurance to pursue their dreams knowing that health care will always be within their reach.
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