Washington, D.C. — As the Trump administration continues to threaten the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and protections for Americans with preexisting conditions, the Center for American Progress Action Fund is releasing a new video as part of a social media campaign to hold President Donald Trump accountable for his broken campaign promises and educate Americans on what’s at stake. The campaign will tell the stories of Americans such as Jeff Jeans of Arizona, a former Republican and a throat cancer survivor who fears that the GOP’s attempts to weaken or repeal the ACA and protections for people with preexisting conditions will put his life at risk.
Jeans was diagnosed with stage 3–4 throat cancer and given six weeks to live. Finding private insurance was nearly impossible given his new preexisting condition, but unbeknownst to him, his wife applied for the ACA, which as a Republican, Jeans had opposed. As he explains in the video, it was the ACA that ultimately saved his life.
“When my wife first suggested Obamacare—the Affordable Care Act—I said I don’t want to waste our time on that. Unbeknownst to me, she applied for preexisting condition. I woke up after getting my temporary tracheotomy. She told me that Obamacare had just saved my life,” he says.
Jeans left the Republican Party despite his conservative Midwest upbringing because he now believes that sabotage of the ACA does harm to people with preexisting conditions.
“I understand the mindset of people that want to take away the Affordable Care Act because I was that person. I grew up conservative from the heart of the Midwest. I was one of those conservatives who hated government. If I hadn’t been stricken with cancer, I would still be anti-government to this day,” he says.
After dozens of failed attempts to repeal or replace the ACA with an alternative health care plan, the Trump administration is now supporting a frivolous partisan lawsuit in 20 states that aims to invalidate protections for preexisting conditions. This is a stark departure from President Trump’s promise to keep protections for preexisting conditions in place. During an interview with Bloomberg News, President Trump said, “We are protecting preexisting conditions. And it’ll be every … bit as good on preexisting conditions as Obamacare.”
The Department of Health and Human Services has also taken steps to remove information regarding consumer rights, statistics on the ACA’s impact, and enrollment information from HealthCare.gov, leaving consumers vulnerable to junk insurance policies and unaffordable costs.
Ending protections for people with preexisting conditions would have devastating impacts on Jeans, 2,763,200 Arizonans, and more than 133 million Americans across the country who are unable to afford the treatment that they need. Jeans says he now lives under constant fear that the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress will succeed in repealing the ACA.
“There’s so many things the Affordable Care Act does to protect us. I’m constantly worrying about having our health care ripped away from us. I can’t sleep. I have night sweats,” he says.
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