NORWALK — Renee Bea of Darien has watched her 7-year-old daughter struggle with migraines. Bea said she’s grateful for the protections in the federal Affordable Care Act for people with pre-existing conditions, but is concerned that recent efforts to reduce or invalidate the law could jeopardize those.
“It just floors me that at seven, she has a pre-existing condition,” she said on Thursday in Norwalk. “She might be denied insurance in the future.”
Bea was one of more than 30 people in attendance at a “Share Your Story” roundtable organized by U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut. Murphy launched the campaign in May to rally support for the Affordable Care Act to allow residents to share their health care stories, particularly what would happen if the Affordable Care Act was repealed. Murphy emphasized the particular need to raise support for the law because in 2018, the Texas Attorney General and 17 others sued the federal government over the Affordable Care Act and a federal judge ruled that the law was unconstitutional. The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in this lawsuit in July.
Murphy said if the ruling is upheld, the results would be disastrous for the state.
“To Connecticut, that is a humanitarian disaster,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn, who was also in attendance, said that there have been considerable gains made in coverage and protection through the Affordable Care Act.
“Were the Texas case to succeed, (the lawsuit) puts us back in that world,” he said.
Joan Coprio, of Stamford, said she was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin's lymphoma and had to do multiple cycles of six day inpatient chemotherapy.
“If I did not have insurance, it would have been unaffordable,” she said.
Coprio said while she had gotten insurance through her employer, it was nice to know that health insurance plans were available through the Affordable Care Act in case she had lost her job during that time period.
Alyssa MacKenzie of New Canaan said she was thankful and privileged to be covered on her father’s insurance because of her complications with lupus. She estimated that some of her medications can cost up to $30,000 a month.
“It wouldn’t just be me,” she said, stating that other members of her family also have the autoimmune disease and could be affected by changes to the Affordable Care Act.
Suzanne Curto, director of behavioral health at Norwalk Community Health Center, where the event was held, said that their patients would be extremely affected by changes to the act, since many are covered through the expanded Medicaid program.
“We are servicing clients who are most in need,” she said. “Imagine dealing with multiple medical issues and poverty and homelessness.”
Both Murphy and Himes said they would take the stories shared with them back to Washington, D.C., to work to preserve and enhance the Affordable Care Act.
“We continue to work really hard on means to make the Affordable Care Act better,” Murphy said.