January 21, 2017: Teresa Chandler - Hudson, WI

Dear Representative Duffy and Senator Johnson,

Congress has had years to come up with improvements and adjustments to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and has done absolutely nothing to that end. Now you stand poised to repeal it without any replacement.

Several people I love dearly are only alive today because of the insurance coverage they had thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

One of those beloved people is Bill D, who complained bitterly about the ACA and the cost of  insurance until he needed it. Six months before he became eligible for Medicare, the ACA saved his life. It saved him from losing his home and his life savings. The costs of his illness—financial, physical and emotional—are astronomical. If Bill had had access to affordable care earlier he likely could have avoided it altogether.

Bill wasn't feeling great and, having been unable to afford health insurance for years, his inclination had been to just wait and see if whatever it was would get better on its own. He grumbled about the ACA and having to buy insurance, but since he had it, he went to the doctor. A few tests later he was admitted to the hospital. His condition was so severe that they confined him to bed for the several days it took to prep him for triple bypass surgery. He is still recovering but, thanks to the ACA, he is at home. Unlike so many Americans before the ACA, he has not been crushed by medical debt, gone bankrupt, or lost his home. 

It is no surprise that Bill and others like him are now some of the fiercest supporters of the program. I, too, have benefitted enormously from the Affordable Care Act. Before the ACA, I had to pay almost half of my income into a high-risk insurance plan because I had a preexisting condition and therefore couldn't get insurance.

Please. Do not just tear everything down. As I sit here looking out my window at the glorious snow-covered Wisconsin hills, I am at a loss to understand your reasoning. Repealing the ACA is akin to you bringing in wrecking balls and bulldozers to level my house and barn because you deem it not top-of-the-line energy efficient, leaving my family standing unprotected in the sub-zero cold while you go sit in your warm offices and debate how to build a better, more energy efficient house that I will have to pay for.

Teresa Chandler - Hudson, WI (7th district)

Art by Nomi Kane