Access to adequate and affordable health care is something no one should have to worry about. Individuals with genetic diseases live in fear that they won’t be able to access life-saving medicines due to cost. My 17-year-old brother, Jacob, lives with one of those genetic diseases: cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening condition that causes unusually thick, sticky mucus to line the lungs, making it hard to breathe.
Living with cystic fibrosis takes thousands of dollars’ worth of medications to live as normal a life as possible. Health care acts as a financial safety net for the things that individuals wish would not happen but do in fact happen to all of us at some point in our life. Santa Clarita has more than 15 individuals battling cystic fibrosis and has raised over $66,000 this year to find a cure − this community is poised to make a different in the trajectory of the disease.
Recent policy proposals pose the threat of allowing insurance companies to deny patients the care they need. Without the Affordable Care Act, individuals living with pre-existing conditions would not be able to survive the financial cost of their disease. Lawmakers have the ability to allow Jacob to thrive as he lives with cystic fibrosis.
However, they also have the chance to make detrimental decisions that could end up costing Jacob his life. Without these medications, Jacob, along with countless others, would not be able to survive due to high medical costs. Local and national policymakers must support proposals to protect affordable health care plans. We are stronger together and cannot leave those who have more obstacles in their lives behind.