President Barack Obama received a hug from a sobbing woman while working the rope after a campaign event in Sandusky, Ohio, on Thursday. Stephanie Miller, whose 37-year-old sister, Kelly Hines, died of colon cancer four years ago, got a chance to personally thank the president for passing the Affordable Care Act that the Supreme Court upheld last week.
Miller said her sister was uninsured when she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Hines, a single mother working to support two young sons, applied for Medicaid but was told she did not meet the program’s financial requirements. Hines soon began a new job where she was given employer-sponsored health care coverage, but as a new employee she needed to be present in the workplace, which ultimately interfered with her cancer treatment.
Hines would have been covered if Obamacare were fully implemented when she got sick. Instead, the woman was left without insurance and couldn’t get the health care she needed. Following a 15-month struggle, Hines succumbed to the disease — leaving behind her sons, 10 and 15, at the time.
Without the Affordable Care Act, up to 129 million Americans who have some type of pre-existing health condition, like heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis or cancer, would be at risk of losing health insurance when they need it most, or be denied coverage altogether. Under the full range of policies in the Affordable Care Act to be enacted by 2014, Americans living with pre-existing conditions are free from discrimination and can get the health coverage they need, and families are free from the worry of having their insurance cancelled or capped when a family member gets sick, or going broke because of the medical costs of an accident or disease. If Republicans get their way however, and repeal the law, then once again millions of Americans will be left worrying about whether coverage will be there when they need it.
There are so many Americans out there without healthcare who are struggling and fighting to live one more day. Our president took charge after a ruthless battle with the GOP to ensure that no one else dies in this country because they lack healthcare. The president won this round and I hope that the American people are smart enough to vote for Obama -a true leader who relates to the issues faced by real people in America today.
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