Washington, D.C. — As the Trump administration continues to threaten the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—including lifetime caps and protections for Americans with preexisting conditions—in the federal courts, the Center for American Progress Action Fund is releasing a new video in a social media campaign to educate Americans on what’s at stake. The campaign will tell stories of Americans such as Felicia Perez of Reno, Nevada, who lives with an autoimmune disease that causes tumors to wrap around her optic nerve and brain. In the past four years, Perez has had three tumors and fears that she will no longer be able to afford her treatment given the administration’s hostility toward the ACA. As she explains in the video, the attempts to repeal the ACA and protections for preexisting conditions puts her life at risk at a time when things started to turn around.
“Two weeks ago, I just finished my 35th infusion of Rituximab. I just this year have been getting test results that I can now see some distance between me and death, and then I watched the news,” she says.
Last week, after dozens of failed attempts by the Trump administration to repeal the ACA, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit heard oral arguments in the case of Texas V. Azar, a 20-state lawsuit backed by the Trump administration seeking to render the entire ACA unconstitutional. Caught in the balance of the court fight are people such as Perez and 20 million other Americans who would lose health care coverage, as well as more than 130 million who would lose preexisting conditions protections nationwide if these efforts are successful.
The Trump administration’s attacks to the ACA are a stark departure from President Donald Trump’s promise to keep protections for preexisting conditions—a broken promise that, according to Perez, makes her feel uncertain about her future.
“It’s really hard to have hope when people are talking about things they are going to do, but their actions are in deep contradiction with those things. … [M]y life is in the hands of people who I do not know, who do not know me, who are essentially telling me that I don’t matter, that my life doesn’t matter, that my health doesn’t matter, that my day-to-day quality of life doesn’t matter, and that’s really hard,” she says.
According to Perez, the ACA has helped her manage the cost of her medication, which per infusion is $20,000, while, in Canada, the cost for the treatment is $15. Perez says it’s important for her and others to tell how the ACA has helped them receive the care they need, because the issue affects people on both sides of the isle.
“[T]here are more people in the United States impacted by this than we ever see. How else will maybe my representatives hear my story? If they’re not coming to me, I have to come to them in any and every way possible,” she says.
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