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For Isaac, Obamacare means opportunity

Isaac is a typical five-year-old. He has a basket full of action figures, he’s into "Cars" and "Monsters, Inc.," and he loves to dance to “The Fox (What Does The Fox Say)” with his sister and brother.

But Isaac is also probably pretty different from most of the kids you know.

He’s only been talking for about a year, and his voice is raspy and quiet. He loves his gymnastics class—but for a long time, his parents didn’t know if he’d ever be able to do a somersault (he can). Isaac sleeps in a "Cars" bed with brightly colored sheets—but it’s in the living room, surrounded by stacks of oxygen tanks.

You see, Isaac was born with a gap in his esophagus. He’s already had 21 major surgeries. He has a permanent tracheotomy and eats through a GI tube. He spent 13 of his first 15 months in the intensive care unit, and several months in a medically induced deep sleep. There’s only one surgeon in the country who can save Isaac’s life, and he’s halfway across the country.

When Isaac was one year old, a representative from an insurance company called his mom, Kim, and told her that Isaac was getting close to his lifetime limit. At just one year old, he had used a "lifetime" of care. Kim remembers putting this to the back of her mind, thinking, “There’s no way they would take away a kid’s insurance.”

But a few weeks later, Isaac’s medical supplies stopped arriving in the mail. A phone call confirmed that Isaac’s insurance company had dropped him.

Thankfully, Kim was able to get Isaac new insurance through her employer. A month later, the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. And for Kim and Isaac, the new law meant freedom.

Before Obamacare, Isaac's pre-existing conditions could have disqualified him from future coverage. Isaac and his family would have had a difficult— if not impossible—time finding insurance that would cover him. And his parents estimate that if lifetime limits were still legal today, Isaac would have already reached his a second time.

So, for Isaac and his family, the Affordable Care Act is life-changing.

Before Obamacare, Kim—who carries the family’s insurance through her job as a special education teacher—worried that she would never be able to change jobs. She remembers thinking, “Now I have to work here for the rest of my life. I have no options.”

Before Obamacare, Isaac’s medical condition could have limited his life options too. Once he grew old enough to come off of his parents' insurance, Isaac would have had to choose from a limited number of jobs—careers where his insurance was always employer-sponsored and where he couldn’t be denied coverage because of his medical history. Parents Kim and Greg had been consumed with worry, “What will he do when he’s on his own if we can’t even insure him now?”

Now Isaac has the freedom to follow his own path, to give back to the world and make it a better place. His choices aren’t limited by an insurance company.

Isaac was in the intensive care unit when President Obama was sworn into office in 2009. Kim, Greg, and Isaac watched together from his hospital room. Kim looked at the new President and told her son, “He just paved the way for you.” She tells him all the time that he can grow up to be president someday.

No one knows how Isaac will contribute to our world in the future. But thanks to the Affordable Care Act, his health insurance won’t be the thing holding him back.
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