Affordable Care Act

The Changing Face of Healthcare Under Trump

Zoë Tersche
Mar 14, 2017

As the American Health Care Act (ACHA), President Trump’s repeal and replace plan for the Affordable Care Act, makes its way through Congress, I can’t help but worry about what the future holds for millions of Americans like me who have benefited from the ACA.

The current plan will phase out the expansion of Medicaid, which millions of seniors and low-income Americans rely on for health insurance. Depending on your income, it may also cap tax credits, among other things.

I have Specific Antibody Deficiency, which leaves me susceptible to frequently contracting illnesses such as bronchitis, so I understand the importance of Medicaid coverage first hand. My mother, who raised me as a single parent, didn’t have health insurance. Under Medicaid, I was able to make it through college with necessary access to doctors and medication.

Every day Americans of all ages, across class and geography, are as worried about how new healthcare changes could be the difference between a long healthy life and a short, illness-riddled one. They find community at Change.org, through starting petitions and raising their voices.

Harold Jacobs, of Boca Raton, Florida, started a petition to remind politicians not to “play politics with people’s health and lives.” He wrote, “We are each a human being, not a number. You know us, we are your family member, your neighbor, your Uber driver, your friend, your classmate from years ago, your acquaintance today…”

Judith Maggio, a registered nurse in Pittsburgh, PA who signed Harold’s petition wrote that she hears and sees “heartbreaking stories all the time, people with terminal illnesses worrying about money and insurance when they should be exerting any energy they have into their health. I’m disgusted with this whole health insurance issue. Innocent people suffering while senators and congressmen have Cadillac health benefits. They should all be ashamed!”

Daniel Jimenez, of Portland, Oregon, felt the same way. Last week, he started a petition that now has over 340,000 signatures and counting — one of the fastest-growing petitions on Change.org — calling for Congress and their families to have the same changes to their healthcare as everyday citizens. In Daniel’s case, his father was diagnosed with cancer several years ago. He died because he didn’t have access to affordable health care. His father had a job, but as will be the case under the AHCA, his employer was not required to provide health insurance.

“Without coverage, he avoided going to the doctor until it was too late,” Jimenez says. “As Congress and President Trump try to pass a new healthcare law, I’m reminded of my father and whether he would have made it if he had early access to cost-effective health care.”

Senators across party lines are already criticizing the AHCA for blind spots that overlook people like myself, Daniel’s father and Harold’s wife. We need to let them know how this legislation affects our lives, and hold them accountable for the changes that will take place.

There’s no question that the passing of AHCA will have a major impact on Americans of nearly all income brackets. But we know that those affected most will be lower and middle class residents. This legislation will determine whether people within in those income brackets can afford insurance at all.

Start a petition today to ensure that your lawmakers are representing your best interests when it comes to the health of you and your loved ones, in addition to those you may not know who are at risk, just like I was.