Pennsylvania Townhalls

Ask them anything!
#578
23:25 Hi, my name's Ryan, I work in the hospital in Pottsville and I'm here to tell you why the Affordable Care Act is important to me. Eighteen years ago I was working at a golf course, I was out playing golf one day, and I got a numbness, a twitch in my back, that ended up turning into numbness in my arm. That was eighteen years ago, and what happened is I got very numb, and I went to the doctor and got an X-ray. The X-ray came back that I had lung cancer.

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I was diagnosed in September of 1999 one day before my birthday. I was 40 years old. Now anyone who has had cancer knows that that is a very scary word. You go completely numb, you don't know how to act, you don't know what to say. You don't know what to tell your family, what do you say to your family, how do you tell your mother that you have lung cancer?

Your chance of survival for a male with lung cancer is not very good, I did it eighteen years. (applause) I was lucky because it was caught early, and I had good insurance at the time. My expenses just for the surgery, after the diagnosis I had surgery, was $100,000 dollars for my hospital stay. There is no way I could afford that today.

Five years later I was diagnosed cancer-free. (applause) I got a couple of different jobs, insurance changed, and that became scary at the time because each time you change jobs I did not know if I was going to be covered because of pre-existing conditions. Which is a very, very important thing for anyone who has cancer or any major illness. You also worry about the burden on your family if you do get sick again. How's your family going to help you, these are all things you worry about.

But Obamacare changed that for me, in 2010 (applause) the Affordable Care Act made it illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. This gave me the peace of mind knowing that with a previously existing condition that I could be covered, and I did not have to worry. Also, that ACA eliminated the cap which is very important, because when your cap is a million dollars, like I said $100,000, it's gone in no time. That money doesn't go far. And anybody who is sick knows that a doctor's appointment could be $600, not to mention a CAT scan, MRI and follow-ups.

Now all politicians like Senator Toomey talk about repeal and replace. But the truth is the repeal process has already started. Donald Trump's very first executive order gave the Federal Agencies the ability to cover, delay, weigh the divisions of ACA that say it's too costly to insure. Even if they don't repeal the ACA, I already feel like I'm not covered. This is not good for a cancer survivor, for whom peace of mind is everything.

It's scary to think that health insurance companies can go back to the way they were. They would rather pay fines than get people covered. Insurance executives look at how they can make more money. How many more houses do they need? How many more cars do they need? We need them to be a health capital and make sure their patients are covered (applause).

Senator Toomey and Donald Trump, make sure that the good parts of Obamacare stay where they are, just like Trump often promised during his campaign. Leave the key elements, like the protection for pre-existing conditions in place. This will give cancer survivors like myself a positive attitude and peace of mind that will make all the difference in the world. And I want to thank everyone for listening (applause).

This from a transcription of the 2/21/2017 Allentown constituent town hall held by Pennsylvania voters. The Senator was invited but did not attend. The text has been lightly edited for clarity. Please e-mail pa.votervoices@gmail.com with any corrections.

The video can be viewed here.

Topic SearchWords: AskedToomey, 2017, AffordableCareAct, ACARepeal, PreExistingConditions
District Keywords: Pennsylvania Representative to United States Senate Class 1, PatToomey

To contact Senator Toomey:
Office website: http://toomey.senate.gov
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Twitter: @SenToomey