Jeff Jeans Speaks Out

Jeff Jeans Speaks Out


Social Justice and Equality in America.

As a Republican, I vehemently opposed Obamacare. Then it saved my life.

I was a lifelong Republican and worked on the campaigns of Reagan and Bush. My grandparents were even invited to Ronald Reagan’s inauguration. When it became law, I vehemently opposed Obamacare, as I recently shared during my question to Paul Ryan during a televised CNN Town Hall.

But then Obamacare saved my life.

I took a new job and moved my family across the country—but due to a glitch, my employer was unable to offer health care coverage. I lost my voice and ignored it for quite some time, thinking it was an allergy in our new climate. My voice never returned and I was having difficulty breathing, so my wife made an appointment with the doctor. I was diagnosed with stage III, borderline stage IV vocal cord cancer, and I had no health insurance. We offered cash upfront to pay for my treatments, but were denied over and over again. We had always assumed that if you had money that you could get treatment. We were wrong—six weeks away from being dead wrong!

Yes, an insurance card is that important. It means the difference between living or dying … that little card.

Although I had cancer, Obamacare gave me access to an insurance card, and I began receiving life-saving treatments the day my insurance plan took effect. The law made it easy to understand what was covered, and my financial responsibility was very plain. I would be dead if it wasn’t for Obamacare, the same law I had so loathed.

Now it is my time to give back and work on behalf of the legislation that saved my life, helping others to avoid the same pitfalls I had fallen prey to. Health care should not change with every new administration, and we should be able to rely on steady, affordable care with guaranteed patient protections.

Access to timely treatment, affordable medication, and regular doctor visits are essential for every American. I’m not just referring to those affected by serious health conditions, who are relying on marketplace plans for the coverage. If the law is repealed, states will lose millions of dollars in federal funding—all while trying to figure out how to keep more than 32 million Americans from losing their health care coverage.

Did you know that emergency rooms don’t have to treat you and are only required to stabilize you? Did you know that before Obamacare, you could be dropped from your insurance, or even denied treatment because your illness cost too much to treat?

Before Obamacare, there were lifetime and annual limits on your care—once you reached those limits, your coverage ceased. Did you know before Obamacare, insurance companies could pay what they negotiated with your provider, and you were financially responsible for anything above that?

Before Obamacare, when you applied for a job and required to take a physical, you could be denied employment because your pre-existing condition could be an extra cost to your potential employer. Leaving people with pre-existing conditions in a position where they are unemployable is unacceptable.

Obamacare allows people to take responsibility for themselves, purchasing insurance and paying for their own care. Repealing it with no adequate and immediate replacement will destabilize the health care market and leave millions of my fellow cancers survivors at risk in the future. Americans deserve reliable access to health care. Any disruption will be devastating and deadly. Constant worry about having affordable care is an added stress that no patient needs.

Repealing Obamacare also has implications for small business owners and entrepreneurs, the backbone of our economy. Before Obamacare was passed, more than half of America’s 46 million uninsured were small business owners, employees, and their dependents. We need to assure the millions of small business owners they will be able to count on continued health care coverage.

After my experience gaining health care through the Affordable Care Act, I began a Facebook page called “Obamacare Saved My Life.” It has given me the opportunity to meet thousands of others reliant on Obamacare for coverage—and they are terrified about the future of health care. My wife and I share that same anxiety, even though I’ve been cured of cancer and am one of the lucky ones.

It would only take one incident of cancer, one heart attack, one stroke, one bad car wreck, or a bad fall to join the ranks of those labeled as “pre-existing.” It only takes one test to show that you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure to be thrown into that group with us.

Americans now know what better health care is, and we should all demand it—for the well-being of our citizens and our economy—for America. Anything less is simply not an option.

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Social Justice and Equality in America

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