WASHINGTON -- Ahead of nationwide rallies to save the Affordable Care Act on February 25, Our Revolution on Wednesday released a video featuring Julienne Gene Edwards, a Maryland native who was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer at 26. Julienne and her family say, if not for the Affordable Care Act's 26-and-under protections, they're unsure how they would have paid to save her life.
“The surgery that saved my life cost approximately a quarter of a million dollars to perform,” Julienne says. “I was able to be covered by my parent’s insurance, thanks to the provisions in the ACA. Were it not for them, not only would I not be covered for that surgery, I would not be covered for the chemotherapy that followed.”
Julienne is just one of millions of Americans who rely on the ACA for life-saving treatment. If Republicans are successful in repealing the ACA, 30 million people could be thrown off of health care, Medicaid will see massive cuts, and prescription drug costs will go up for seniors. Meanwhile, the top 2 percent will receive $346 billion in tax breaks.
“Julienne's story should serve as a reminder that when Republicans callously talk about repealing the ACA, they're actually talking about putting people's lives at risk,” said Executive Director Shannon Jackson. “Each one of those 30 million are human beings, not a set of numbers or talking points. But, since they like to reduce this to numbers, here's one: without coverage, the pills Julienne took for chemotherapy treatment would cost $6,000 a bottle. We just don't believe that Americans should have to choose between live-saving medicine and putting food on the table or keeping a roof over their heads. The American people deserve dignity, and we are prepared to fight for it at all costs.”
Julienne's story highlights the fact that access to and affordability of care not only affects the individual, but their family as well.
“We weren’t supposed to get married until a year and a little more away, but facing the prospect of chemotherapy, we decided that we were going to face this treatment together," says Alan, Julienne's husband.
"So, five weeks after her surgery, and a few days before she began chemotherapy, we got married. It was very difficult. But, because of the Affordable Care Act, the one thing we weren’t focused on or worried about was insurance or the costs -- or whether her treatment and the things she needed to save her life were going to be covered.”
Our Revolution is partnering with PCCC, PDA, Healthcare Now, DFA, OFA, NNU, American Family Voices, WFP, Bold Alliance, Alliance for Retired Americans, and MoveOn to educate and mobilize supporters of the ACA. So far over 100 rallies to save the ACA and move towards a Medicare for All system have been scheduled across the country on Saturday, February 25.
“It’s difficult to contemplate that somebody that this happens to, in a year from now, or two years from now, or five years from now, they may not have the same opportunity that the Affordable Care Act gave us," Alan says. "It shouldn’t be a football that gets played with.”
For more information on the February 25 rallies or to find a rally taking place in your area, click here.
To watch Julienne's story, click here.